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

Happy Spring, friends! (I’m going to keep typing that until you get sick of reading it. Sorry, not sorry. I hope you’re as excited as I am about the start of this new season.) Today is a super fun day on IBC because I’ve teamed up with five blogging friends for a #SpringDessertHop! Each of us is sharing a festive dessert recipe that’s perfect for spring and Easter. After you’re finished reading about my dessert, be sure to check out all of the dessert recipes linked up at the bottom of this post. You won’t want to miss these beautiful and delicious ideas.

For my spring dessert idea, I couldn’t settle on one treat. So, I decided to combine six sweets into one to create these colorful and fun Easter Dessert Kabobs!

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

I’ve put together all of your Easter favorites in one incredible dessert. There are Peeps bunnies and chicks, carrot cake truffles, Rice Krispies Treats, peanut butter eggs, and homemade coconut cupcakes! And, because I couldn’t resist, I assembled all of this sweetness in the order of the rainbow. What more could you ask for in a dessert, right?

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

As you can see, this collection of desserts mixes a few store-bought favorites with homemade goodies. You may have already seen my posts for the Carrot Cake Truffles and The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes. I wanted to get those recipes on IBC so you were ready to go. Once you whip them up, the rest of the treats come together pretty quickly.

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

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

Of course, you can assemble these Easter Dessert Kabobs with any items you’d like. I love the addition of a few homemade desserts, but if time is tight, just purchase your favorite Easter confections at the grocery store.

I also wanted to create a rainbow of colors in these kabobs so that meant giving a few of the treats a colorful update.

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

To create the Easter Egg Hunt Rice Krispies Treats, I purchased pre-made Rice Krispies Treat Squares and cut them in half. I then dipped the tops into melted green candy melts. Before the candy set, I added three jelly beans and sprinkled some green wafer shred sprinkles on top. (I bought the green wafer shred sprinkles at Walmart, but I also saw them at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts.)

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

Easter Dessert Kabobs - Egg Hunt Rice Krispies - easter dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

For the blue in my rainbow, I melted blue candy melts and poured them into a piping bag. I then drizzled the melted candy on mini peanut butter eggs in a crosshatch pattern. For a little sparkle, I sprinkled them with blue sugar crystals.

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

Peanut butter eggs are a favorite of mine, so I thought this was a fun way to dress them up.

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

The Peeps marshmallow bunnies and chicks (which are available in a variety of colors) were ready to go out of the box. My only recommendation: Cut them apart with a sharp knife. Pulling them apart can cause them to rip or become misshapen.

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

With all of my individual desserts prepared, I simply added them, one by one onto a wood skewer. (You can find the wood skewers I used HERE.) Everything goes onto the skewers pretty easily. Just take your time with the chocolate covered treats to prevent cracking.

 

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

And that’s it. Your Easter Dessert Kabobs are ready to enjoy and impress your guests.

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

These do take some time to prepare and assemble, but I think the end result speaks for itself. To save time, you could prepare a few of the items (peanut butter eggs, cupcakes, and carrot cake truffles) a day or two in advance.

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

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

I’ve included a recipe below to guide you through a few of the steps and to provide you with a grocery list if needed. You’ll have to do a bit of math depending on how many kabobs you make, but I hope the recipe assists you in the process.

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

Easter Dessert Kabobs

Makes as many as you would like

Here's what you will need:

Egg Hunt Rice Krispies Treats:
Rice Krispies Treats
Green candy melts
Green wafer shred sprinkles
Jelly beans

Blue Crosshatched Peanut Butter Eggs:
Mini peanut butter eggs
Blue candy melts
Blue sugar crystals

Peeps pink marshmallow bunnies
Peeps yellow marshmallow chicks
Carrot cake truffles (recipe here)
Mini coconut cupcakes (recipe here)
Wood skewers

To make the Egg Hunt Rice Krispies Treats:
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the green candy melts by microwaving them at 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted. If using store-bought Rice Krispies Treats, cut them in half. Dip the top half of the treat into the melted candy melts. Shake off any access. Top with three jelly beans then immediately sprinkle with green wafer shred sprinkles.

To make the Blue Crosshatched Peanut Butter Eggs:
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the blue candy melts by microwaving them at 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted. Add the melted blue candy melts to a piping bag. Cut a small tip off the bag and drizzle the melted candy on the mini peanut butter eggs in a crosshatch pattern. Immediately sprinkle with blue sugar crystals.

Carrot Cake Truffles: Find the full recipe here.
The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes: Find the full recipe here.

With all of your individual desserts ready or prepared, position them in color order onto a wood skewer.

Print

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

I hope you enjoy eating and making these fun dessert kabobs as much I did. I was thrilled with how they turned out.

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

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

Now you can enjoy all of the flavors of Easter that you love in one dessert.

Also, if you’re looking for an Easter cocktail, then you’re going to love my Cottontail Martini.

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

It’s a delicious and festive take on a classic coconut martini complete with marshmallow tail! You can get the recipe HERE.

For even more spring and Easter dessert inspiration, be sure to visit all of the links below to see what five of my fellow blogger have created as part of our #SpringDessertHop. You are going to love the beautiful and delicious ideas created by these talented ladies.

Bunny Butt Cake – Julie Blanner
The Very Best Carrot Cake – Freutcake
Carrot Scone with Cream Cheese Glaze – The Effortless Chic
Pastel S’mores Pizza – Paper & Stitch

Happy Spring, friends! (I’m going to keep typing that until you get sick of reading it. Sorry, not sorry. I hope you’re as excited as I am about the start of this new season.) Today is a super fun day on IBC because I’ve teamed up with five blogging friends for a #SpringDessertHop! Each of […]




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The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

Of all the cupcakes in the world, coconut ones are easily my favorite. No question about it. And as you might guess, whenever the craving for one strikes, I turn to my go-to recipe. In this case, it’s The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes.

The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

During the past few weeks, I have been whipping up a lot of things with coconut. I made Macaroon Nests, a Cottontail (Coconut) Martini, and now these cupcakes. It’s coconut heaven at my house. I’m not complaining.

The recipe for these cupcakes comes from Ina Garten. I’ve made a few tweaks to her recipe (no offense, Ina), but all of the credit goes to her. She featured these on her show way back in the day, and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since.

The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

The recipe below is just for the cupcakes themselves. You’re going to need some cream cheese frosting (obviously) to go with them. Homemade is best, so be sure to grab My Favorite Cream Cheese frosting recipe here.

The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

Let’s get baking!

The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes

Makes about two dozen cupcakes

Here's what you will need:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

1 recipe of My Favorite Cheese Frosting (recipe here)

Begin by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high for about 5 minutes or until it's light and fluffy. Then, with the mixer on low, add one egg at a time. Scrape down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extract and mix well.

In three alternating additions, mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined; then fold in half (7 ounces) of the coconut.

Fill each cupcake liner to the top with batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the tops are just starting to brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes; then remove them to a baking rack to cool completely.

In the meantime, prepare your cream cheese frosting. (Recipe can be found here.)

When the cupcakes have cooled, frost them with a spatula or piping bag. Sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Print

The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

If you like coconut, it truly doesn’t get much better than this.

The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes dessert recipe | Inspired by Charm

While these cupcakes are delicious in the spring and summer, I could think of an excuse to make them anytime of the year. I’m sure you could, too. Enjoy!

These Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes were prepared as part of my Easter Dessert Kabobs. Instead of making traditional size cupcakes, I made mini ones to use on my kabobs.

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

These creative and colorful kabobs are a fun way to serve dessert for spring or Easter. You can learn how I made them by clicking HERE.

Of all the cupcakes in the world, coconut ones are easily my favorite. No question about it. And as you might guess, whenever the craving for one strikes, I turn to my go-to recipe. In this case, it’s The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes. During the past few weeks, I have been whipping up a lot of […]




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Beginnings of a Craft Closet | Inspired by Charm

Okay, before we talk about another closet here on IBC, I need to warn you: This post does not contain a lot of pretty pictures. But, as they say, it gets worse before it gets better. So we will start with the bad and the ugly and work our way to the good! OK?

As you probably know, I have big barn doors near my front entry. However, you might not know that there is a disaster behind those doors.

Beginnings of a Craft Closet | Inspired by Charm

What? Yes. But before I tackle it, let me share the backstory of this closet.

The space that is now covered by the doors was once a standard closet with a single door. When the previous owners were making renovations to turn the house into a bed and breakfast, they widened the opening so that this little nook could function as a reception area. Given that it’s near the front door, it worked well.

Beginnings of a Craft Closet | Inspired by Charm

When I bought the B&B, I also did some work, and this area became part of a gift shop. If you’re a long-time IBC reader, you might recognize the chevron wall peeking through the shelf. Back in 2012, I shared a post on how to paint a chevron wall. (You’re welcome to take a peek at that post here, but please don’t judge me too harshly since it was five years ago, and at the time, that space was a gift shop, not my home.)

An aside: Much to my surprise, that little post was featured in a few places, including The Huffington Post. And that exposure proved to be a big break for me. I guess you could say that IBC is here today because of that chevron wall and that little post.

Once I closed the shop and the B&B, I needed a way to cover the nook to make the house look and feel like a home. My solution was to install the barn doors (details on those here). I also threw in some shelving units, and it’s been kind of a cluttered mess since then.

This year, In an effort to boost my spirits and improve my outlook on life, I’m working to clear the clutter and get more organized. For me, “mess = stress,”, so this disaster has to go.

Beginnings of a Craft Closet | Inspired by Charm

Following my recent mini shoe closet makeover, I thought a prefab shelving system would work perfectly in this space as well. A couple weeks ago when I was researching closet storage online, I noticed that The Container Store was having a sale on their Elfa system. This was the brand I used in my closet upstairs.

I was sold.

I took measurements, worked with one of their Elfa experts online, and designed something to fit this space. The whole system ended up costing just over $600.

Beginnings of a Craft Closet | Inspired by Charm

Once I received notification that the system had shipped, I prepped and painted the space. I removed everything from the closet, including the existing shelves, which I donated. I decided to paint the closet Frosty White from Sherwin Williams because it’s a lighter variation of my entryway and living room paint color. Goodbye chevron! Gone, but never forgotten.

Beginnings of a Craft Closet | Inspired by Charm

With the painting finished, I installed the closet system. While the install was simple and straightforward, it did take a few hours. Some of that time was spent removing the packaging and stickers that identified everything.

However, it was well worth it. My closet is complete! Isn’t she lovely?

Beginnings of a Craft Closet | Inspired by Charm

I couldn’t be happier with my first steps toward an organized, clean, and pretty closet. Even though the style of the shelves won’t win any design awards, organization and function were a top priority here, and that’s exactly what I got.

Beginnings of a Craft Closet | Inspired by Charm

Beginnings of a Craft Closet | Inspired by Charm

The next step is going to be the hard part. I have to put things back into the closet in an organized and functional way. While I already have quite a few plastic storage containers and totes, I’m hoping to pick up a few baskets and organizational tools to add just a touch of style to this space.

Beginnings of a Craft Closet | Inspired by Charm

Ultimately, the closet will hold craft supplies and work-related items, such as my camera and gear, printer, ribbons, paper, photo shoot props, and current project supplies. My plan is to start organizing things this week. I’ll be sure to let you see the results when everything is in place.

Beginnings of a Craft Closet | Inspired by Charm

For those of you who are new to Inspired by Charm, I hope it was fun to learn a bit more about the blog. For those who’ve been with IBC for a while now, I hope you enjoyed the walk down memory lane. Thanks to all of you for giving me an opportunity to come clean about my closet disaster!

Okay, before we talk about another closet here on IBC, I need to warn you: This post does not contain a lot of pretty pictures. But, as they say, it gets worse before it gets better. So we will start with the bad and the ugly and work our way to the good! OK? As […]




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Join the conversation.






Carrot Cake Truffles - easy spring or easter dessert recipe idea - carrot cake pops | Inspired by Charm

Happy First Day of Spring! (It’s so exciting to say that.) Yesterday I had another busy day in the kitchen, baking and creating and doing everything I could to ignore the snow outside. Tomorrow on IBC, I’m joining a few of my blogger friends to share a round-up of homemade Easter- and spring-inspired desserts. My dessert required me to make a few things in advance, so I have two additional recipes to share with you. (It will all make more sense tomorrow.) Let’s kick things off with these Carrot Cake Truffles!

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

Sidenote: I realize I’ve been a bit dessert crazy lately. For those of you who are looking for design and DIY, please bear with me. There are lots on the horizon, including exciting new projects. (That’s a hint!) Also, later this week I’ll be sharing two spring mantel decor ideas. Sound good? (To be honest, all of this dessert making isn’t helping with my diet, so I do need to switch gears.)

Okay, back to Carrot Cake Truffles. In essence, these are cake pops, but without the stick. That’s why I’m calling them truffles.

Carrot Cake Truffles - easy spring or easter dessert recipe idea - carrot cake pops | Inspired by Charm

If you’ve never made cake pops, they are easy. All you need is cake, frosting, and candy melts/chocolate.

For this recipe, I baked a carrot cake from a box mix and made a batch of my cream cheese frosting. (You can find that recipe here.) Because I needed the frosting for a few other recipes, I made a full batch. However, you can make only a half or quarter recipe since you will only need about a cup of frosting for the truffles.

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

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

The cake gets crumbled and the frosting gets mixed in. Add just enough frosting so that you can roll the mixture into a ball. If you use too much, it will be overly sticky.

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

After that, the balls get dipped into melted candy and chocolate. (I did a mix of white candy melts and white chocolate for these.) I found this dipping tool at the craft store, but a fork will work equally well.

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

To decorate the truffles, I melted orange candy melts. (I actually used a combination of orange and yellow to get this color.) I added the candy melts to a piping bag, cut a small slit in the tip and drizzled it randomly over the top. Before the candy set, I topped each truffle with one of these cute candy sugar carrots. (I found mine at Walmart, but I’ve also seen them at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts.)

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

Tip: If you struggle filling piping bags, put the bag into a tall glass (tip down), then fill. It’s so much easier. Promise.

Carrot Cake Truffles - easy spring or easter dessert recipe idea - carrot cake pops | Inspired by Charm

Carrot Cake Truffles - easy spring or easter dessert recipe idea - carrot cake pops | Inspired by Charm

And that’s it! Adorable Carrot Cake Truffles in no time! They make an exceptionally cute, delicious, and fun treat for Easter or spring. They also look adorable in this bunny egg holder I picked up at HomeGoods. Don’t you think?

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

Carrot Cake Truffles

Makes about 40 truffles

Here's what you will need:
1 prepared carrot cake (13x9" pan, no frosting)
1 cup cream cheese frosting (recipe here)
1 bag (12 ounces) pure white candy melts
1 bar (4 ounces) white chocolate baking bar, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable shorting (Crisco)
1 cup orange candy melts (I used a combination of orange and yellow.)
Carrot sugar candies, optional

In a large bowl, crumble the carrot cake with your hands. Using a spatula, stir in about 3/4 cup of the cream cheese frosting. Add more as needed. The mixture should stay together when rolled into a ball, but not be overly sticky.

Roll the cake mixture into 1-inch balls. Set the cake balls on a plate and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, add the white candy melts, white chocolate, and vegetable shortening. Microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring after each until melted.

Dip the cooled cake balls into the melted white chocolate mixture and coat completely. Set on wax paper and allow chocolate to set completely.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the orange candy melts by microwaving them at 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted.

Add the melted orange candy melts to a piping bag or plastic baggie. (Use caution if using a plastic bag. If your melted candy is too warm, it can cause the bag to break.) Cut a small tip off one corner of the bag and drizzle the melted candy onto the coated cake balls. Top with a carrot sugar candy, if desired.

Once the candy coating is completely set, pack and store the truffles in an air-tight container.

Print

Carrot Cake Truffles - easy spring or easter dessert recipe idea - carrot cake pops | Inspired by Charm

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

Obviously, you can make these truffles in any cake flavor you’d like. However, I thought carrot cake was most appropriate for the season.

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

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

These Carrot Cake Truffles were prepared as part of my Easter Dessert Kabobs. I was inspired to create a rainbow-effect for these kabobs. Carrot cake made the perfect addition for the orange.

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

These creative and colorful kabobs are a fun way to serve dessert for spring or Easter. You can learn how I made them by clicking HERE.

Happy First Day of Spring! (It’s so exciting to say that.) Yesterday I had another busy day in the kitchen, baking and creating and doing everything I could to ignore the snow outside. Tomorrow on IBC, I’m joining a few of my blogger friends to share a round-up of homemade Easter- and spring-inspired desserts. My […]




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Over the past several weeks, I’ve been adding touches of spring to my home. I’ve updated my living room and created an Easter tablescape. Today, I want to share my spring bar cart, plus a new martini recipe.

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

If you’re spring-ifying your own home, then you’re in luck because over a dozen home decor bloggers have gotten together to post a bouquet full of spring decor. It’s like a mini-spring tour with lots of ideas for your home. If you’re currently on the tour and visiting from Lizbeth at Home and Fabulous, welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. Lizbeth and I both write for the HomeGoods Design Happy blog, so I’m honored to be following her and her beautiful designs on this tour.

I decided to update my bar cart for spring for a few reasons. First, it has been majorly neglected since the holidays. In fact, it still had touches of black and gold (my dining room holiday decor theme) and even a few leftover pine tree drink stirrers. Secondly, last week I was craving a martini and decided to whip one up with supplies I had on hand. To my surprise, it was rather delicious, so I also wanted to share that with you.

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Finally, I purchased some new spring and Easter accessories for my Easter tablescape a few weeks ago, and I wanted to show you another way you might use them. In an attempt to lessen the clutter in my home, I’m always looking for ways to repurpose things. If you struggle with “too much stuff,” hopefully, this will help you think about different ways you can use items you already have.

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

To get started, I cleared off my bar cart. (In case you’re wondering, this is the Oak Park Bar Cart from Grandin Road. I’ve been bonkers about it since I bought it.)

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

When styling a bar cart, I like to begin by adding something that gives a little height. A cake stand, group of books, or stack of plates work well. On a recent visit to HomeGoods, I found these trays with big copper handles. When I saw them, my thought was to create a truly wow-worthy cheese plate (which I still hope to do), but I also love how they function on my cart.

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Another thing I like to do when dressing a bar cart is to use trays and boards to corral items. I used one on each level of my cart: a marble cutting board on the top, my copper handled tray in the middle, and a wood box on the bottom. This keeps things from looking cluttered, and it helps me organize like items.

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Next, I added the bottles of alcohol. I recommend using the top of your cart for go-to liquors. Put less-frequently used liquors and seasonal favorites on the lower shelves. (Also, if you’re like me, pull in a few things that match your color scheme.)

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

At this point, tuck in glassware and functional items, such as a cocktail shaker, spoons, and jiggers for measuring of cocktails. To shake things up a bit, I decided to use my egg cups (also from HomeGoods) as jiggers for this spring bar cart. In addition to being cute and well-suited to the season, they give a consistent measurement for cocktail making. The bunny straws are from the Dollar Spot at Target.

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

You can also incorporate any garnishes you may need to create your cocktail. I needed thyme, strawberries, and lemon wedges. While these are certainly practical items, I made them look beautiful as well. I appreciate when things can serve double duty.

Ideas and tips for styling your bar cart for spring - Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

With all of the necessities in place, you can fill in with your seasonal and decorative items. Since it’s spring, I thought flowers were a must. I used small white vases in different styles for a cohesive and unique look. Inspired by my copper additions, I stuck with blooms in shades of pink and orange.

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

My copper bunnies (another HomeGoods find) worked wonderfully to bring in seasonal style and a little bling. I even added a small jar of Starburst strawberry jelly beans. They are my kryptonite this time of year, so having them available for quick snacking is a bonus for me. (Don’t tell Jenny.)

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

And with that, my bar cart was ready to “spring” into action! (Pun intended.)

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Oh, I should also mention my plate wall. Lately, I’ve been switching out one or two plates to suit the season. For spring, I fell in love with the quirkiness of these calligrapher monogram canapé plates from Anthroplogie. While they offer so many cute letter designs, the “G” for gem and “Y” for yodel stood out to me. And they worked with my color scheme.

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

To hang my plates, I used these flatiron disc hangers. They aren’t foolproof. (Occasionally, I have come home to find a plate shattered on the floor.) However, I find they do work well most of the time, and I love that you can’t tell how the plates are hung.

And finally, about that cocktail. To kick off spring, I decided to whip up a Strawberry Thyme Martini.

Strawberry Thyme Martini - spring cocktail martini recipe ideas | Inspired by Charm

Strawberries aren’t yet in season in my area, but I love how the fruitness of the berry and the subtle pepper and lemon flavor of thyme work so well together. It’s a perfect pairing for this fresh new season. I think you’re going to love it. You can find that martini recipe here.

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

Spring Bar Cart | Inspired by Charm

I hope you enjoyed this look at my spring bar cart and picked up a few tips for styling your own. If you are continuing on the tour (or just looking for more spring decor inspiration), Oscar of Oscar Bravo Home is up next with his Spring Bedroom Makeover! His style is on point, so I’m sure you’ll be delighted with his design.

For more spring home decor ideas be sure to visit every stop on the tour:

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been adding touches of spring to my home. I’ve updated my living room and created an Easter tablescape. Today, I want to share my spring bar cart, plus a new martini recipe. If you’re spring-ifying your own home, then you’re in luck because over a dozen home decor bloggers […]




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Strawberry Thyme Martini - spring cocktail martini recipe ideas | Inspired by Charm

It’s a fun day here on IBC. I’m getting a head start on the first day of spring (which is this coming Monday) by celebrating with a cocktail and spring-inspired bar cart.

Strawberry Thyme Martini - spring cocktail martini recipe ideas | Inspired by Charm

Despite the foot of snow outside, things in my home are feeling fresh and welcoming thanks to colorful touches of the new season. I recently added a splash of color and function to my bar cart (You can check that out here.) To toast the new season, I thought a new cocktail was also in order.

Strawberry Thyme Martini - spring cocktail martini recipe ideas | Inspired by Charm

Last week I was deep into a Netflix binge of the new-to-me comedy Schitt’s Creek. (Which, by the way, I adore. It took me a few episodes, but halfway through the first season, I was hooked. It’s definitely a bit odd, but there are moments of kindness and heart that totally won me over. I definitely recommend it.) Anyway, I was watching a scene in which David and Stevie were drinking a martini, and immediately, I had a craving for one. (Does that ever happen to anyone else?)

So I made one. Using what I had on hand, I threw together this Strawberry Thyme Martini and totally loved it. The combination of fresh berry with a hint of thyme gave me my martini fix and had me yearning for a warm spring day.

Strawberry Thyme Martini - spring cocktail martini recipe ideas | Inspired by Charm

To make this cocktail, all you need is strawberry vodka, regular vodka, St. Germaine (elderflower liqueur), a wedge of lemon, a whole strawberry, and fresh thyme. (I’m using both strawberry vodka and regular vodka because I found that just the strawberry vodka made the martini too sweet for my taste.)

Strawberry Thyme Martini - spring cocktail martini recipe ideas | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Thyme Martini - spring cocktail martini recipe ideas | Inspired by Charm

As with most martinis, everything gets added to a cocktail shaker full of ice to combine and chill. I decided to use my festive eggs cups as bar decor and jiggers for making my martini. How cute is that, right? They worked perfectly! I also think they could function beautifully as shot glasses.

Strawberry Thyme Martini - spring cocktail martini recipe ideas | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Thyme Martini - spring cocktail martini recipe ideas | Inspired by Charm

I think you’ll find this to be a light and refreshing sipper. Perfect for spring! Let’s shake one up.

Strawberry Thyme Martini - spring cocktail martini recipe ideas | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Thyme Martini

Makes one cocktail

Here's what you will need:
2 ounces strawberry vodka (I used Three Olives Strawberry Vodka.)
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce St. Germain
Lemon wedge
Sprig fresh thyme, plus one to garnish

Begin by muddling the strawberry in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, then fill with ice. Add the strawberry vodka, regular vodka, St. Germain, one sprig of fresh thyme, juice from a lemon wedge, and the wedge to the cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously.

Strain into a martini glass. Add the remaining sprig of fresh thyme for garnish.

Print

Aren’t martinis simple to make? I think that’s one of the reasons I love them so much. This one is pretty, too. Shake one up and let me know what you think.

Strawberry Thyme Martini - spring cocktail martini recipe ideas | Inspired by Charm

I hope you like this recipe. If you missed my tips for creating a spring bar cart, you can find them here.

Here’s to a blissful spring! Cheers!

It’s a fun day here on IBC. I’m getting a head start on the first day of spring (which is this coming Monday) by celebrating with a cocktail and spring-inspired bar cart. Despite the foot of snow outside, things in my home are feeling fresh and welcoming thanks to colorful touches of the new season. […]




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Why I'm on Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm
Thank you Jenny Craig for sponsoring this post. Tried other ideas? It’s time for Jenny Craig.

Yep. I’m on Jenny Craig, and I’m pretty excited about it. Let me explain.

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about my general state of being (which hasn’t been great), how I’ve been considering a change in location, and ways I’m going about improving my happiness. One of the things that was really bothering me was the fact that I had gained a few pounds over the past year.

Since January began I had been doing my best to lose weight, and no matter what I did, the scale wouldn’t budge. As luck would have it (It’s “The Secret” at work.), the folks from Jenny Craig reached out to me (not in response to my post) and asked if I’d like to try their program.

Why I'm on Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

While their email certainly piqued my interest, I honestly didn’t know much about Jenny Craig or how the program worked. So, I visited their website and did my own research via Google. When it comes to dieting, I tend to do best on programs that have some sort of regimen. What I loved about the idea behind Jenny Craig is that I barely needed to make any decisions. This is a huge plus for me. Being self-employed, I make about a million decisions each day. (That’s an exaggeration, but it feels like it some days.) So when it comes to deciding what to eat, I usually choose what’s easiest. As you’d expect, easy isn’t always best.

The thought of having a menu made for me every day is what really won me over – no points, no tracking. Plus, it was finally a reason to take off these extra pounds that have been causing unnecessary stress and anxiety. 2017 is my year to find the happiness that I’ve been seeking. This opportunity was a great step toward that. I was in!

Before I talk about the program (I’m sure many of you are curious.), I should tell you that I’ve been on it for exactly three weeks, and I’ve lost 8 pounds.* As you can imagine, I’m super excited about my progress and so thankful that Jenny Craig is working. (*Members following the Jenny Craig program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week. I received promotional consideration.)

Why I'm on Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

Now, a bit about the program. I’m using the Jenny Craig Anywhere program since I don’t live near a center. This means that my food is shipped to me (every two weeks), and I chat with a consultant every week. My consultant, Kim, has been wonderful. The phone calls only last about 15 minutes, but after talking with her I always feel more motivated and inspired. We discuss the meals, healthy eating tips, any challenges I’m having with it, and my goals for the week ahead. It’s like a 15-minute food therapy session.

Why I'm on Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

About the food: The majority of what’s in the meals is shipped to me. I’m responsible for adding things like fresh greens, vegetables, fresh fruit, and dairy (usually Greek yogurt).

Why I'm on Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

After being on the program for three weeks, I’ve been greatly impressed with the quality and flavor of the foods. There are more than 100 menu items created by 40 professional chefs. Of course, I don’t love everything, but as a quasi-foodie, I’ve been surprisingly and genuinely pleased. Most of the items are frozen and require a few minutes in the microwave to warm them up. The program is flexible to accommodate allergies and personal preferences. I’m not a huge fan of fish, so those items were swapped out for something different.

Why I'm on Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

I’m on the 1500 calorie program. Each week I’m given a menu plan, listing what to eat (of course, substitutions are allowed if there is something I don’t want). There’s also a list of Fresh & Free Additions, which consist primarily of fruits, vegetables, and seasonings. You can consume these in moderate amounts if you’re feeling hungry throughout the day. However, I must say, I haven’t been hungry once since starting the program. To keep your metabolism moving and grooving, the menu is broken up into six “meals.” For me, it’s been more than enough food.

Why I'm on Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

In addition to eating the prescribed meals, I’ve also been much more active. Exercise isn’t required to lose weight on the Jenny Craig program, but for me, it was important to get moving. Over the course of the past three weeks, I’ve jogged, walked, or used the elliptical machine for a total of over 65 miles! Another goal of mine is to start incorporating some weightlifting in the next week or two.

Why I'm on Jenny Craig | Inspired by Charm

I’m excited about the program and feel fortunate that Jenny Craig came into my life. (Their delicious cinnamon rolls help too.) It’s been a huge help to me. This week, I’ve also been doing more research into “that move” that I talked about. More on that soon. While I still have my days, 2017 is looking more promising!

Thanks for joining me on this self-improvement journey. I’ll pop back in with another update soon.

 

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 ideas? It’s time for Jenny Craig. Yep. I’m on Jenny Craig, and I’m pretty excited about it. Let me explain. Several weeks ago I wrote a post about my general state of being (which hasn’t been great), how I’ve been considering a change in location, and ways I’m […]




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Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm
This post is sponsored by Carnival Cruise Line.

One of the things I like to do when traveling is pick up a few goodies from the places I visit. However, since I’ve started to travel more for work and leisure, I’ve become more conscious of the things I bring home. As a follow-up to a previous post about decorating with travel souvenirs, today I’d like to offer a few suggestions about what to purchase and how to use those treasures in your home.

This past January my mom and I sailed on the Carnival Vista to the Southern Caribbean. When cruising, you not only get to experience a fun and beautiful ship, but you also have a chance to stop at beautiful locations to experience and see even more. These stops are typically referred to as Ports of Call. (Check out my post here for advice on Ports of Call.) At these ports, you get to take in the landscape, learn about the country, go on excursions, and shop.

As you might expect, shopping is a popular activity. Of course, there are the usual typical tourist shops, full of souvenirs and knickknacks. While I will occasionally buy a t-shirt from one of those places, I usually look elsewhere for items that are unique, handmade, or indigenous to the area. Let me explain.

1. Pottery
You can often find hand-crafted pottery – bowls, vases, platters, etc. What I love about getting things like this is that they are useful when you return home. A small bowl can be a place for loose change or your keys. A platter might be used to serve a dish inspired by your trip. A vase can hold seasonal flowers.

Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm

On this recent cruise to the Southern Caribbean, I was so excited to find this tulipiere (tulip holder) at one of the shops in Curaçao. I knew it would get plenty of use at my house, and it already has. I love its sleek lines and modern style.

2. Wood
I also recommend purchasing carved items. Again, that handmade aspect is the draw for me. I picked up these wood bowls on a previous cruise with a very specific purpose in mind. (In the coming weeks, I’ll be teaching you a little craft with them.)

Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm

I also loved this unique sculpture made of painted driftwood and little stones. I picked it up in St. Thomas when cruising last year.

Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm

And remember, if you’re wondering if something is locally made or from the area, don’t be afraid to ask the seller.

3. Art and Postcards
One of my favorite things to buy is art. Walking through my house, I can probably rattle off most of the places I’ve been just by looking at the art that’s on display. You might remember seeing these art prints in a post earlier this year. They’re from St. Thomas as well. And the “My Heart is at the Beach” sign came from last year’s trip to Hawaii.

Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm

Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm

Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm

When I was in Curaçaco on my latest cruise, I also found this tealight holder. A local artist created it out of cement. Can you believe that? I love the odd shape, unique painted design, and colors. I thought it’d be a fun conversation piece on a side table.

Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm

Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm

The other great thing about art is that most of the time it’s flat and lightweight, so fitting it into your suitcase or carry-on luggage isn’t a problem.

4. Photographs
While this may seem like an obvious travel souvenir, I think it’s often forgotten once we get home and unpack. The stream of photos get uploaded onto our computers or quickly buried on our cell phones. However, travel photos can make great home decor, and I have proof!

Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm

Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm

My living room features a wall I’ve named my “Wanderlust Gallery Wall.” I purchased nine inexpensive frames and filled them with photos from my travels. And even though I do have experience with some “nicer” cameras, a few of these photos were taken with my cell phone. If I can do it, so can you.

Tip, tricks, and Ideas for Decorating with Travel Souvenirs | Inspired by Charm

You might also remember that I shared easy ways to craft your own artwork using travel photos. You can check out those tutorials here. So if you have no room left in your luggage or are tight on cash toward the end of your trip, be sure to take interesting photos and have fun with them when you return home.

I hope you found these ideas helpful. I’m sure I’ll have more to share, but we’ll save those for Part 3.

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. One of the things I like to do when traveling is pick up a few goodies from the places I visit. However, since I’ve started to travel more for work and leisure, I’ve become more conscious of the things I bring home. As a follow-up to a […]




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

On my dad’s side of the family when I was growing up, there were four standard desserts: pumpkin roll, strawberry gelatin salad, ice cream salad, and Texas sheet cake. Of course, we enjoyed other desserts, depending on the season, but those four were our go-to’s because everyone seemed to love them.

I thought it was time to give one of these classic desserts a try, but with a new twist. Instead of making the traditional Texas sheet cake (which was chocolate), I decided to give Peanut Butter Sheet Cake a go.

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

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

Although I do love chocolate, when it comes to dessert, it’s not necessarily my first choice. (Though, let’s be honest, I’d never turn it down.) So, trying this variation was right up my alley. What I love about this sheet cake is that no mixer is required. You only need a big bowl, sauce pan, and cookie sheet. That means less time cleaning up the mess and more time for eating the cake!


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

Both the cake batter and the frosting start with ingredients that come to a boil on the stove. I don’t have in-depth knowledge of the science of baking, but based on experience, I assume the boiling results in a rich, super moist cake. If you’ve never had a sheet cake, you really need to make a traditional one, too. It’s good stuff.

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake - Classic Texas Sheet Cake get's a flavor update with this peanut butter variation. | Inspired by Charm

Once your cake is baked and still slightly warm, that’s when you pour on the frosting. I actually like my frosting just a tad thicker, so it stands up on the cake, but you can make it however you prefer.

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake - Classic Texas Sheet Cake get's a flavor update with this peanut butter variation. | Inspired by Charm

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

I had some peanut butter eggs left over from my Easter tablescape, so I decided to put them to good use on this cake. Each piece got topped with an egg. Perfection!

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

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

Now that, my friends, is a mighty fine cake. if I do say so myself.

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake - Classic Texas Sheet Cake get's a flavor update with this peanut butter variation. | Inspired by Charm

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

serves 24

Here's what you will need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup water
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
6 tablespoons milk
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar
Peanut butter eggs to garnish, optional

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10x15x1-inch cookie sheet (jelly roll pan) with baking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the butter, water, and peanut butter. Bring to a boil. When it begins to boil, immediately remove it from the heat and pour it over the flour mixture. Start to combine, then add the milk, vanilla, and eggs. Mix with a spatula or spoon until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until just slightly warm.

For the frosting, add the butter, peanut butter, milk, and a pinch of salt to a sauce pan. When this mixture begins to boil, remove it from heat. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix to combine. (If needed, add more milk, one teaspoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.) Pour the warm frosting over the cooled cake and spread evenly with a spatula. Allow the frosting to cool before serving. Garnish with peanut butter eggs, if desired.

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

In my opinion, simple, classic desserts like this never go out of style. Garnished with a mini peanut butter eggs, this rich cake is such a delicious treat. Plus, it reminds me of my family. A double win!

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

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

What were some of your family’s favorite desserts when you were growing up?

On my dad’s side of the family when I was growing up, there were four standard desserts: pumpkin roll, strawberry gelatin salad, ice cream salad, and Texas sheet cake. Of course, we enjoyed other desserts, depending on the season, but those four were our go-to’s because everyone seemed to love them. I thought it was […]




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Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake - spring and summer dessert cake recipe with strawberries and lime. | Inspired by Charm

Apparently, spring brings out the baker in me. I’m not sure what’s happening, but during the past couple of weeks I’ve been baking up a storm. Other than resisting the urge to eat everything I bake, It’s been absolutely fun and completely cathartic.

A few years ago I tried my hand at a naked cake (that is, a cake without frosting on the sides), and since then, I’ve been wanting to make another. So that’s what I did! Voila, my Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake.

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake for spring and summer entertaining. Delicious homemade strawberry cake. | Inspired by Charm

To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with naked cakes. While I like the idea of a no-fuss, rustic, homey-looking cake, there’s also the perfectionist part of me that struggles with “messiness.” (It’s been known to make my eye twitch.)

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake - spring and summer dessert cake recipe with strawberries and lime. | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake for spring and summer entertaining. Delicious homemade strawberry cake. | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake - spring and summer dessert cake recipe with strawberries and lime. | Inspired by Charm

However, the freedom-loving side of me won out this time around, and I’m so pleased with this pretty but “messy” deliciousness.

As you might expect with a Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake, there’s a lot bright, fresh flavor packed into the layers of this beauty.

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake for spring and summer entertaining. Delicious homemade strawberry cake. | Inspired by Charm

For the cake, I went homemade. This allowed me to include pureed strawberries, lime zest, and lime juice. Cake flour and a bit of buttermilk keep the cake light and airy.

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake for spring and summer entertaining. Delicious homemade strawberry cake. | Inspired by Charm

Once the cake came out of the oven, I wanted to lock in the moisture and add even more flavor, so I drizzled all three layers with homemade lime simple syrup.

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake - spring and summer dessert cake recipe with strawberries and lime. | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake - spring and summer dessert cake recipe with strawberries and lime. | Inspired by Charm

To bring the whole cake together, there’s a strawberry cream cheese frosting made with more of that strawberry puree, lime zest, and lime juice. If you’re looking for a cake with flavor, this is it! My favorite part is that if you look closely enough. you can see the specks of lime and strawberry in both the cake and the icing. I just love that.

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake - spring and summer dessert cake recipe with strawberries and lime. | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake - spring and summer dessert cake recipe with strawberries and lime. | Inspired by Charm

Now, if you’re not into the look of a naked cake, I understand. There should be plenty of frosting in the recipe below for you to just go ahead and frost the whole thing. Have it your way, my friends.

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake - spring and summer dessert cake recipe with strawberries and lime. | Inspired by Charm

To complete the cake, top it off with whole strawberries and slices of lime. In my opinion, that is one beautiful cake. Whether spring or summer, I think you’re going to love baking, sharing, and eating this cake as much as I did.

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake - spring and summer dessert cake recipe with strawberries and lime. | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake

Serves 12 - 15

Here's what you will need:
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lime zest
Whole strawberries and sliced limes to garnish

Lime Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lime zest
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
16 ounces (2 blocks) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons strawberry puree
1/4 cup strawberries, diced

Begin by preheating your over to 350 degrees F. Then, grease three 8-inch cake pans with baking spray. Line with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Add the chopped strawberries to a blender or food processor and puree for 10-15 seconds. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the strawberry puree with the buttermilk. (Keep the remaining puree for the frosting.)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This will take 3 to 5 minutes. Then, add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lime zest.

Reduce speed to low and beat in the flour mixture and strawberry/buttermilk mixture alternately, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Do this until the flour is just incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.

Bake the cakes for 20 to 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

While the cakes bake, prepare your lime simple syrup. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium heat. Stir constantly for 5-7 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Stir in lime zest and lime juice. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

After you remove the cakes from the oven, let them cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then evenly top each cake with 4 tablespoons of lime simple syrup. Let the cakes cool completely.

As your cakes cool, prepare the strawberry cream cheese frosting. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter 3 to 5 minutes until fluffy. Gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar, one cup at a time. Beat until smooth. Then beat in the lime zest, lime juice, strawberry puree, and diced strawberries until combined. Put the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip.

Once the cakes have cooled, place a layer on a cake plate and evenly top with frosting. Then, add another layer and top with frosting. Add the final layer of cake to the top. Using an offset spatula, work around the cake to create an even layer of frosting and cake. Allow some of the cake to show through the frosting to achieve the naked cake look. Add more frosting and repeat as necessary.

Top the cake with six large dollops of frosting. Chill for 3-4 hours until the frosting is set. Before serving, garnish with whole strawberries and sliced limes.

Print

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake for spring and summer entertaining. Delicious homemade strawberry cake. | Inspired by Charm

Ta da! Beautiful, right?

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake for spring and summer entertaining. Delicious homemade strawberry cake. | Inspired by Charm

Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake for spring and summer entertaining. Delicious homemade strawberry cake. | Inspired by Charm

Now, I know this seems like a lot of steps, but I promise they are easy, and the whole thing comes together pretty quickly. I hope you give this recipe a try.

What are your thoughts on naked cakes? Love them or hate them?

Apparently, spring brings out the baker in me. I’m not sure what’s happening, but during the past couple of weeks I’ve been baking up a storm. Other than resisting the urge to eat everything I bake, It’s been absolutely fun and completely cathartic. A few years ago I tried my hand at a naked cake […]




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

Earlier this week, I shared a post filled with Easter entertaining ideas, including sweet treats, Easter baskets, and a themed tablescape. Since there were so many things happening in that post, I wanted to circle back and talk a bit more about the table.

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

About a month ago I took a trip to HomeGoods and Target. (As you know by now, these stores are about 1.5 hours from me, so it was indeed a trip.) I was on the hunt for all things spring and Easter. Even though I was a bit early, I lucked out. In fact, I was so excited by my finds that I shared them on Instagram Stories. (By the way, a lot of you seemed to enjoy that, so I’ll try to do it more often.)

As you may have noticed, my tablescapes always have an eclectic flair. I think this happens for a couple reasons. First, my personal style encompasses all sorts of things. Secondly, when it comes to setting tables, I’m all about using whatever is available. Thankfully, I have the opportunity to work with HomeGoods, which makes looking for new and unique things almost a requirement. However, I totally get that not everyone can do that, so shopping my home is fun, too. Eclectic is good!

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

Okay, back to the Easter table. The color story for this was inspired by these polka dot eggs cups and these gold and pink floral plates. They were the first thing I found (at HomeGoods) so I ran with them.

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

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

Shortly after I got them, I learned I was also going to have a large supply of chocolate to work with, How perfect for sprinkling around an Easter table. Thankfully, the colors worked, too.

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

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

With all that in mind, I started gathering things that fit the pastels scheme, and I decided the pale pink would play the main role. I think this creamer and sugar bowl set was one of my next finds along with the cake stands. The blue allowed me to bring in a few other blue elements which really popped. Given all the pink, I think the blue also helped to keep things looking like spring rather than Valentine’s Day.

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

I almost jumped for joy when I came across these “Happy Easter” dishtowels. As I mentioned in my previous post, I like using dishtowels for napkins. (It’s something I learned from Ina Garten.) I just seem to find better patterns, styles, and colors. The towels also wash up great and often don’t require ironing.

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

Another thing I found at HomeGoods was the runner. I love its texture. Plus, it’s a neutral so it can work with anything. The polka dot oversized egg, pink cake plate, and mini copper-topped canister were from HomeGoods as well.

And for those wondering, I got my black wishbone dining chairs here.

 

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

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

You’ve seen my metallic bunnies – most recently in my Cottontail Martini post. I cannot get enough of them. They make me happy. A few of them tucked here and there added to the Easter theme.

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

I also grabbed a few goodies at Target. The white pitcher, striped plates, and chick salt and pepper shakers are from their new collection of dishes and serving pieces that I adore.

http://inspiredbycharm.com/2017/03/cottontail-martini.html

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

The gold and white bunny straws also came from Target (I found them in the Dollar Spot at the front of the store.) I briefly thought about DIYing some, but for only $3, into my cart these ready-made ones went. It was probably cheaper that way, and I’m sure it saved an hour or more of my time. Win!

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

The tray is something I put on the table after Christmas. However, it ended up working great. Not only did it tie in the wood of the table, but it made the center area of the table more functional. (I believe I picked that up at Target too.)

At mealtime, the tray can be lifted off to make room for food. At the end of lunch or dinner, it can be returned loaded with desserts. It’s little touches like this that make entertaining feel special.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

You’ll also notice that I often use these little faceted vases. I got them from DwellStudio a few years ago and absolutely love them. Because they are small, they don’t require a lot of flowers. Even better, when you fill them, the small opening almost arranges the flowers for you. You really can’t go wrong. I use them in other areas of my home for the same reason.

The flatware, glasses, and dinner plates were things I already had. I typically use a white dinner plate and don’t fuss too much with glassware. Something clear and classic will always work.

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

To finish things off, I added a bunch of flowers that I picked up at the grocery store and arranged myself. It doesn’t get easier than that.

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

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

I think that’s about it. I’m not sure how much all of this helps, but hopefully, you’re feeling inspired to style you own table for spring or Easter.

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

And just a reminder: If you’re ever struggling with knowing where to begin, deciding on your color scheme is likely to help. Also picking a fun theme (bunnies, for example) can make things seem a bit easier and less intimidating.

Whatever you do, have fun with it. Happy entertaining, my friends!

Earlier this week, I shared a post filled with Easter entertaining ideas, including sweet treats, Easter baskets, and a themed tablescape. Since there were so many things happening in that post, I wanted to circle back and talk a bit more about the table. About a month ago I took a trip to HomeGoods and […]




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Tips for Cruising and visiting the Ports of Call | Inspired by Charm
This post is sponsored by Carnival Cruise Line.

Back in January, I set sail again with Carnival Cruise Line. My mom and I boarded Carnival’s new ship, Carnival Vista, for an eight-day vacation through the Southern Caribbean. As you might guess, we made lots of fabulous memories – just what we needed to help us trudge through these last few weeks of winter.

Tips for Cruising and visiting the Ports of Call | Inspired by Charm

While there are many reasons to love cruising, one of mine is the chance to visit the different ports of call. Typically, a multi-day cruise is made up of days at sea (The ship is just sailing over the vast ocean.) and port days (The ship stops for an extended time at a beautiful, tropical location.) With stops lasting anywhere from 6 to 10 hours, people have the opportunity to get off the boat and spend time relaxing on the beach, hitting up the local shops, or jetting off an adventurous excursion. It’s the passenger’s choice.

I’ve been on quite a few cruises at this point, so today I thought I’d share a few tips for getting the most out of your port of call experience. Whether you’re planning to book a cruise or already have one scheduled, I hope you’ll find these suggestions helpful.

Tips for Cruising and visiting the Ports of Call | Tips for Cruising and getting the most out of the Ports of Call

1. Plan Ahead
The internet offers a wealth of information on every port of call. Do some research to figure out what the options are when you dock. Is there a beautiful beach nearby? A cool excursion you want to take? A must-see attraction? Planning ahead is the best way to get the most out of your visit.

Tips for Cruising and visiting the Ports of Call | Inspired by Charm

 Eagle Beach, Aruba

On my most recent cruise, I knew I wanted to go to Eagle Beach in Aruba. I had heard and read marvelous things about it, so it was a must for me. Before sailing I research its location, figuring out how to get there (cab, public transportation, bicycle) and noting a few things nearby. Be sure to find out how much time you have at the port and plan accordingly. It’s very important to know your ship’s timetable to ensure you’re back on board before the ship leaves the dock.

2. Book an Excursion
If you’re not thrilled about planning your port of call experience yourself or are just not sure what to do at each destination, then you’re in luck. For every destination, Carnival has a selection of the best excursions so you can relax and focus on having fun.

Tips for Cruising and visiting the Ports of Call | Inspired by Charm

 La Romana, Dominican Republic

There are excursions for everyone. You can swim with the dolphins, explore ancient ruins, hop on a catamaran to go snorkeling, tour the local city, or just relax at a beach.

Tips for Cruising and visiting the Ports of Call | Inspired by Charm

Once you book your cruise, check out the excursions available for each of your destinations to see what strikes your fancy. On our recent cruise, Mom and I felt adventurous and decided to zip line in La Romana in the Dominican Republic. I was so proud of my mom who managed 12 different zip lines through the jungle that varied in length and speed. I think she’s now a zip lining pro!

3. Try Something New
What I love about the hundreds of excursions that Carnival offers is that there is bound to be a lot of things I’ve never done before. For my Mom and me, zip lining was a new experience. Yours could be deep sea fishing, driving an ATV through the jungle, or even learning how to make salsa while salsa dancing. (Yes, that is an actual excursion, and it’s one that I greatly enjoyed.)

Tips for Cruising and visiting the Ports of Call | Inspired by Charm

 Grank Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands

If it’s within your physical abilities, try something new and different. You never know what might become your next favorite thing. You’re on vacation after all, so why not!?

4. Experience the Beach
Thanks to cruising I’ve seen some incredibly beautiful beaches. In fact, when we stopped in Aruba and Grand Turk on this most recent cruise, I saw the bluest and clearest waters I’ve ever seen.

Tips for Cruising and visiting the Ports of Call | Inspired by Charm

 Eagle Beach, Aruba

If your perfect vacation is simply lounging on the beach, then that’s what you should do at each destination. Again, do your research and find the best and closest beach or book a beach excursion with Carnival. Be sure to note things such as public restrooms and places to grab a snack or rent beach chairs. Knowing this in advance will give you more time to enjoy those crystal clear blue waters.

5. Shop
As you might imagine, when a cruise ship with a couple thousand guests pulls into a port almost daily, there’s going to be some shopping. I don’t spend too much time shopping, but I do like to bring back a few souvenirs. (You can check out my post for decorating with travel souvenirs here.)

Tips for Cruising and visiting the Ports of Call | Inspired by Charm

 Wilemstad, Curaçao

When possible, I like to find local shops that sell items that are handmade or indigenous to the area. Naturally, there are many tourist shops, and while those have their appeal, I prefer unique items.

Also, if shopping is high on your list, you should know that Carnival will have sessions to guide you through recommended shops prior to each port of call. Plus, they offer shopping guides, tips for finding the best deals, and even a few coupons. You can shop until you drop!

Tips for Cruising and visiting the Ports of Call | Inspired by Charm

 Miami, Florida

Bonus Tip: With all of this being said, it’s YOUR vacation, so do what works best for you. I will admit that there were days when I decided to stay on board and skip a port of call. (Usually, it was because I had already been there.) If your vacation goal is to relax, don’t feel guilty about parking yourself on a lounge chair with a cocktail and your favorite book. The choice is yours, and you have oodles of options for making the cruise the vacation you want and need. That’s one of the many things I love about cruising.

I hope you found these tips useful if you’re planning to set sail anytime soon. As always, safe travels and happy cruising!

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. Back in January, I set sail again with Carnival Cruise Line. My mom and I boarded Carnival’s new ship, Carnival Vista, for an eight-day vacation through the Southern Caribbean. As you might guess, we made lots of fabulous memories – just what we needed to help us […]




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

Yesterday I was so excited to share my Easter tablescape with you. That post also included a few entertaining ideas and sweet treats. As promised, today I’m back with all the details, plus the recipe, for making those fun, colorful, and surprising cupcakes.

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

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

When I first saw the Vanilla Cupcake M&Ms, I immediately began to brainstorm how I might use them on my table or in a recipe. As I got to thinking, Amanda of I am Baker came to mind. Not only is she the “Queen of Cake”, but she is also the “President of Surprise-Inside Cakes.” She even wrote the book on it. (It’s called Surprise-Inside Cakes!)

So that’s when my plan came together. I’d bake classic yellow cupcakes, hollow out the centers, fill them with the M&Ms, and top things off with sprinkles. Done!

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

If you want to join in the fun, first you’ll need to bake cupcakes. I’m sharing a recipe below, but feel free to use a box mix or your favorite recipe.

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

Once your cupcakes are cooled, use a knife to cut a circle in the top of each cupcake. Carefully, pop that piece out and set it safely aside because you’ll need it later. To create a little space inside each cupcake, use a spoon to remove some of the cake. (It’s OK to sample what you remove. You deserve it.)

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

Now tuck in 5 or 6 M&Ms in each cupcake and replace the reserved piece of cake in the top.

Finally, pipe on the frosting (I used a classic buttercream that was tinted light pink) and decorate it with sprinkles. The surprise is now set!

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

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

Sidenote: Mixing a variety of sprinkles to create one mega sprinkle is now a trend. I gave it a try and must say I’m kind of digging it!

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

In my opinion, cupcakes are an excellent dessert for almost any occasion. People seem to like them, and they are easy to whip up, especially if you use a box mix. (Please don’t use a store-bought frosting, however. Homemade is a trillion times better.)

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

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

Filling cupcakes with M&Ms just makes the whole experience that much better. What do you think?

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

Surprise-Inside Spring Cupcakes

Makes about 24 cupcakes

Here's what you will need:
3 3/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 bag Vanilla Cupcake M&Ms

Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons milk
Pink food coloring
Sprinkles for decoration

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans (24 cupcakes total) with paper liners and set them set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed until light and fluffy (5-6 minutes).

Add the eggs to your sugar mixture, one at a time, and blend well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

With the eggs incorporated, add the dry ingredients. Alternate with your milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Divide the batter into the prepared cupcake pans, filling each cupcake liner about three-quarters full.

Bake for 16-20 minutes or until the cupcake springs back when pressed in the center. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

While your cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until it becomes pale and fluffy.

Adjust the mixer to low speed and add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until it is incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium and add the vanilla extract, salt, 2 tablespoons of milk, and food coloring. Add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired constancy.

Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large open-star tip.

To add the M&Ms to the cupcakes: Use a small paring knife to cut a circle in the top of each cupcake. Gently remove the section of cut cupcake and reserve.

Using a teaspoon, create a small cavity in the cupcake. Fill with 5 or 6 M&Ms. Then replace the reserved cake circle to seal in the M&Ms. Pipe each cupcake with buttercream frosting and top with sprinkles.

Print

So fun, right?

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

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

As fabulous as cupcakes are on their own, these few extra steps will allow you to create something special and unique for your guests to enjoy.

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

(Just in case you’re looking for the recipe for the Peanut Butter Cookies for Spring, you can find it here.)

Happy Easter and Happy Baking!

Yesterday I was so excited to share my Easter tablescape with you. That post also included a few entertaining ideas and sweet treats. As promised, today I’m back with all the details, plus the recipe, for making those fun, colorful, and surprising cupcakes. When I first saw the Vanilla Cupcake M&Ms, I immediately began to […]




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Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips
This post is sponsored by M&Ms and Dove. As always all opinions are my own.

With Spring on its way, Easter is also quickly approaching. I don’t know about you, but holidays always tend to sneak up on me. That’s why I’m getting a head start this year, and I’m sharing it with you. This past weekend I styled a colorful Easter tablescape and whipped up “bunny baskets” in the spirit of the season. Let me show you what I created!

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

To help me on this decorating adventure, I’ve team up with Mars Chocolate. They’re the people who make M&Ms, Dove Chocolate, and many of your favorite treats, such as Twix, Snickers, and Milky Way. This year Mars has created two candies available only at Target. I’ll tell you more about them shortly.

Let’s start with the table!

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

As with any table setting, I like to start with a color story. For Easter, I opted for pastels with a stronger focus on pinks and metallics. (Me? Metallics? Shocking, I know.) Not having much in the way of Easter decor, I also picked up lots of bunnies and other accessories that fit my theme.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

I knew that I wanted to use chocolate as part of my display. This large Dove Chocolate bunny was just begging to be the focal point of each of my place settings. And with my bunnies theme running throughout the table, they were the perfect addition.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

 

I paired each of them with an adorable egg cup filled with some chocolate. (There is no such thing as too much chocolate.)

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Speaking of place settings, among the things I picked up, were these white and metallic tea towels that functioned as napkins. If you’re ever struggling to find the perfect napkin, check out the tea towels. I prefer the larger size of the tea towels, and they always seem to be available in fun patterns and textures.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

To add more color to the table, I filled these adorable copper-topped jars with Dove Milk Chocolate Eggs. They are great for a delicious silky smooth pre-meal treat or fun favors for guests to take home.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

I brought the entire table together with a few vases of flowers. I found all of these blooms at a grocery store and assembled the arrangements myself. The two low-profile arrangements are designed to remain on the table during the meal. The larger arrangement will be removed right before dinner is served.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

In the center of the table, I used a tray to add texture and corral decorative items. What I love about a tray is that when it’s time to eat, it (and everything that’s on it) can be quickly and easily removed, making room for food and encouraging conversation.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Once dinner is finished, you can return the tray to the table, but this time have it filled with desserts. It’s magic!

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Of course, you knew a tablescape wouldn’t be complete without food (dessert, to be specific), right? A few weeks ago I showed you how to make these Soft Peanut Butter Cookies. (You can get the recipe here.) To dress them up for spring, I mixed pastel M&Ms into the batter. I also added a few more M&Ms on the top of the cookies after they came out of the oven so that the colors could really shine.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

The combination of peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favorites, especially this time of year, so these cookies are a winner.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

I was also inspired to create another dessert thanks to these Vanilla Cupcake M&Ms. (These are one of the new Mars candies for sale only at Target.) While they are delicious on their own, I thought it would be fun to incorporate them into actual cupcakes, so that’s what I did.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

I’m calling these Surprise-Inside Spring Cupcakes! You can get the recipe here.

Once they were baked (and cooled), I created a hole in the center of each and filled it with Vanilla Cupcake M&Ms. Topped with a mound of frosting and sprinkles, your guests will not know what’s inside until they go in for a bite.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Vanilla Cupcake M&Ms come spilling out for a delicious and unique Easter surprise! You can read more about them and get the recipe here.

I’ve made plenty of cupcakes and cookies so that each guest could have one if they’d like, and take a few home to share with family and friends.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Now, as if all that goodness wasn’t enough, I had some more chocolate that wanted to join the party, so I put together these quick Easter baskets.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Here are my tips for creating a beautiful Easter basket:

1. Select a Unique Basket – Start with a special basket or container. Think of the basket as something that the recipient can reuse and not just throw into a closet. The cuter the basket, the more likely it is to be used. I chose these baskets because of their modern touches, including a thread wrapped handle and pom poms. (Who needs a bow on a basket that is this cute?) I also went for a non-traditional option and used a decorative box as a basket. Remember, any container that you can pack with chocolate and treats will work for an Easter basket.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

2. Fill in the Bottom – To create a basket that looks full, use tissue paper or packing material to first fill up the bottom of the basket. Then top the fill with grass and add goodies. Having all of your treats resting high up in the basket creates the illusion of a bountiful basket. Plus, it just looks prettier. Once your treats are tucked in place, add a bit more grass here and there to complete the look.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

3. Decide on a Color Scheme – If you’re looking to create something a bit more chic, have a color scheme in mind. I created two baskets, one with a cool theme of blues and greens and one with warmer colors – pinks and oranges. Having a color scheme will leave your basket looking beautiful and intentional. My colors schemes were inspired by the fun colors of the M&Ms containers.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

4. Remember the Recipient – When giving any gift, you want to keep the recipient in mind. My intent with these two baskets was to create something for grown-ups. (Adults like receiving baskets full of chocolate, too.) That’s why I tucked in things such as a dishtowel and appetizer plates. While everyone loves chocolates for Easter, it’s nice to have a functional and lasting gift as well.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

4. Load it with Chocolate – Because it’s Easter, you’ll want to have lots of chocolate spilling out of your baskets. When shopping for treats, get a variety of shapes and sizes. This will make your basket more visually interesting. I also like to get smaller items to fill in the gaps. These Dove Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs worked perfectly for this. (This is the other new Mars product that’s available only at Target for a limited time, and boy is it delicious!)

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

5. Skip the Cellophane – If possible, don’t wrap your basket in cellophane. While I’ve used it in the past, I find it to be a bit excessive, wasteful, and distracting from all of the beauty that’s inside. If you will be transporting the baskets and are afraid the contents will move around or fall out, then cellophane is a smart solution. Otherwise, save yourself a few bucks and leave it at the store.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

And that’s it, my friends. The table is set, the flowers are arranged, the dessert is served, and the baskets are ready. I think we’re prepared for Easter! I hope you enjoyed my Easter celebration and are feeling a bit more inspired to host your own.

Easter Entertaining Ideas | Spring Tablescape and Easter Basket Tips

Remember to stock up on delicious Mars Chocolates by visiting Target. Use the Cartwheel app to save  on select Mars chocolate purchases. (That way you can buy more! It will be our little secret.)

http://inspiredbycharm.com/2017/02/soft-peanut-butter-cookies-for-spring.html

Happy Easter!

This post is sponsored by M&Ms and Dove. As always all opinions are my own. With Spring on its way, Easter is also quickly approaching. I don’t know about you, but holidays always tend to sneak up on me. That’s why I’m getting a head start this year, and I’m sharing it with you. This past […]




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

Okay, full disclosure. For the past couple weeks, I have been oddly obsessed with Easter. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m so looking forward to spring or that I recently purchased some really cute bunny home accessories. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. Who knows.

Whatever the reason, I have put this latest obsession to good use and whipped up a variety of beautiful spring ideas to share with you. Today, let’s continue the fun with this Cottontail Martini.

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

If you haven’t already guessed, this martini was inspired by Peter Cottontail, the rabbit that went hoppin’ down the bunny trail. (The word “cocktail” made me think of the song.) This cocktail has a delightful coconut flavor and an adorable marshmallow tail.

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

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

I opted to use coconut in this martini because of its white color and the fact that it reminds me of springtime.

The cocktail base is two liquors: whipped vodka and coconut rum. Yes, whipped vodka is a flavored vodka, and it’s actually pretty tasty. (I use the Pinnacle brand.) Along with the liquors, you’ll need half and half, cream of coconut. (I recommend this brand.), and pineapple juice. I know you might be tempted to skip the pineapple juice, but don’t. The tropical fruitiness that it brings to this martini is a must.

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

For garnish, start by rimming the glass with coconut. To help the coconut stick, give it a quick chop before using it. I also prefer to use honey as the “glue.” That seems to work best.

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

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

For the pièce de résistance, cut a small slit in a marshmallow and hang it on the edge of the glass.

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

Voila! Adorable and delicious.

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

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

Coconut is one of my favorite Easter flavors, so this Cottontail Martini is a clear winner in my book. That, plus the marshmallow “tail,” will make this the perfect martini for all of your spring celebrations.

Let’s shake one up.

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

Cottontail Martini

Makes 1 martini

Here's what you will need:
1.5 ounces whipped vodka (or vanilla vodka)
1.5 ounces coconut rum
2 ounces half and half
1/2 ounce cream of coconut
Splash of pineapple juice
Honey, chopped sweetened coconut, and marshmallow to garnish

Begin with two shallow dishes. To one, add a teaspoon of honey. To the other, add the sweetened coconut. (I recommend giving the coconut a rough chop before using.) Rim the edge of the martini glass first in the honey and then in the coconut. Set aside.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the whipped vodka, coconut rum, half and half, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice. Shake vigorously; then strain into your prepared martini glass.

Using a knife, make a small slit in a marshmallow. Slip the marshmallow on the side of the martini glass.

Sip and enjoy!

Print

I certainly hope you find this martini to be delicious, fun, and festive.


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

Bottoms up!

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

Okay, full disclosure. For the past couple weeks, I have been oddly obsessed with Easter. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m so looking forward to spring or that I recently purchased some really cute bunny home accessories. Maybe it’s a combination of the two. Who knows. Whatever the reason, I have put this latest […]




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Coconut Macaroon Nests a classic dessert recipe for celebrating spring and Easter | Inspired by Charm

I have loved sweetened coconut for as long as I can remember. When I was a boy, if I had a craving for something sweet, I would sometimes go into my Mom’s baking cabinet and sneak a pinch of coconut from the bag. Into my mouth, that coconut would go.  (This might be one of the reasons I was a chubby little kid. Ha! Oh well.)

To this day, I cannot pass on a coconut dessert. (Coconut cupcakes and coconut cream pie are two of my faves.) I also love me some toasted coconut macaroons. They are quite easy to bake, which makes them even more appealing. That’s why today I thought we’d whip up some Coconut Macaroon Nests. With thoughts of spring and Easter in the air, it only seems fitting.

Looking for more Easter and spring dessert ideas? Check out my recipes for Easter Dessert Kabobs, Carrot Cake Truffles, Strawberry Limeade Naked Cake, Peanut Butter Sheet Cake, and The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes!

Coconut Macaroon Nests a classic dessert recipe for celebrating spring and Easter | Inspired by Charm

I realize that these aren’t anything out of the ordinary, but sometimes basic is best. These little coconut nests have become a classic spring dessert for obvious reasons. They are a cinch to make, they taste delicious, and they look adorable.

To make them, coconut is mixed with egg whites and a touch of extra sweetness. Tucked and pressed into mini muffin pans to resemble mini nests, they are quickly baked until perfectly browned.

Coconut Macaroon Nests a classic dessert recipe for celebrating spring and Easter | Inspired by Charm

Coconut Macaroon Nests a classic dessert recipe for celebrating spring and Easter | Inspired by Charm

Once they’ve cooled, you add a touch of melted white chocolate to each nest as “glue” and then tuck in a few candy eggs for color and crunch.

Coconut Macaroon Nests a classic dessert recipe for celebrating spring and Easter | Inspired by Charm

You can use any type of candy egg you prefer: candy coated chocolate eggs, jelly beans, Jordan almonds, or malted-milk eggs, to name a few options. I filled some of my nests with jelly beans and some with malted-milk eggs. After all, variety is the spice of life!

Coconut Macaroon Nests a classic dessert recipe for celebrating spring and Easter | Inspired by Charm

Coconut Macaroon Nests a classic dessert recipe for celebrating spring and Easter | Inspired by Charm

And that’s it, my friends. I told you this dessert is simple. These nests are a classic, tasty, and fun treat for spring that your guests are sure to love.

Coconut Macaroon Nests a classic dessert recipe for celebrating spring and Easter | Inspired by Charm

Coconut Macaroon Nests

Makes about 30

Here's what you will need:
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (14 ounces) sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
70-90 mini candy eggs

Begin by preheating your oven to 300 degrees F. Coat the cups in a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set the pan aside.

In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs whites, salt, and sugar to combine. Then, with a fork, mix in the coconut.

Drop 2 tablespoons of the coconut mixture into each prepared mini muffin cup.

Lightly press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of each cup. (Use your thumb or a wine cork.) Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until lightly golden on top. (Loosely place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pan if the coconut starts to brown too quickly.)

Let the nests cool in the tins on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then run a spatula around the edges of the muffin cups to loosen the nests. Carefully lift out the nests and allow them to cool completely.

With the melted chocolate in a piping bag (or plastic baggie with a corner cut off), pipe a small amount of chocolate into each nest. Add 2 or 3 candy eggs and press them gently to secure.

Pack and store in an air-tight container.

Print

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

Coconut Macaroon Nests a classic dessert recipe for celebrating spring and Easter | Inspired by Charm

Coconut Macaroon Nests a classic dessert recipe for celebrating spring and Easter | Inspired by Charm

If you’ve never tried making Coconut Macaroon Nests for spring or Easter, I definitely recommend giving them a try. They’ll make a beautiful and tasty addition to your seasonal entertaining.

Enjoy!

If you like these Coconut Macaron Nests, then I think you’ll love my Easter Dessert Kabobs. Aren’t they adorable?

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

These creative and colorful kabobs are a fun way to serve dessert for spring or Easter. You can learn how I made them by clicking HERE.

I have loved sweetened coconut for as long as I can remember. When I was a boy, if I had a craving for something sweet, I would sometimes go into my Mom’s baking cabinet and sneak a pinch of coconut from the bag. Into my mouth, that coconut would go.  (This might be one of […]




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The Best Camera and accessories for Blogging - A Blogger's Guide to Camera Gear
This post contains affiliate links.

Every once in a while, a fellow blogger or an IBC reader will ask me what type of camera I use. Although I’m not a professional photographer or an expert on photography, I thought I’d use today’s post to answer that question and share some of the other photography gear that is essential to my work. Welcome to A Blogger’s Guide to Camera Gear.

The Best Camera and accessories for Blogging - A Blogger's Guide to Camera Gear

Now, before we get into the actual gear, I have a few notes and disclaimers.

First, I’ve been taking photos for IBC for nine years. When I started, I was just using a point-and-shoot camera. Since then I have upgraded my equipment at least four times. I’m not going to talk about every camera I’ve owned, but I will let you know about my two most recent ones.

Secondly, even if you go out and purchase all of the products listed below, it’s unlikely that your photos will look like mine. That doesn’t mean that your photos will be bad (or that mine are great). It’s just that photography is a creative endeavor. Yes, good gear and technology help, but the true art of photography lies within each individual. If you are new to photography or new to blogging, invest in the lower-end gear at first and work your way up to better gear over time. Depending on where you live (There might be online sources, too.), I recommend renting camera equipment to test things out before you buy.

Also, after shooting in my house these many years, I’ve discovered which locations, times of day, angles, etc. work best for me. I’ve taken thousands of pictures that have never been published on IBC. They are long gone in a digital trash can far far away. As with most things on the web, you only see what I think is the best, or in some cases, good enough.

Finally, as I said above, I am not an expert. This guide is intended simply as way to share information with those who’ve asked. Even though I have years of experience under my belt, I’m sure that a professional would cringe at some of my practices. For example, I take a ton of pictures. To put together a post with 15 images, I shoot 150-200 photos. If it’s a house tour with 50 images, the number of photos can be around 600. My guess is that most photographers take far fewer. Even though this process can sometimes be tedious, it seems to work for me, so I don’t mind. Either way, do your research before making an major purchases. This is just the gear I use and love.

Okay. Now we’re ready to talk camera gear!

 

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

I’m currently using the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. I purchased this camera this past November. Despite its cost, it was an impulse buy. I was getting ready to work on a big collaboration and “needed” a new camera. But things turned out well, and I couldn’t be happier about this purchase. This camera is kind of “top-dog” for bloggers who use Canon.

The Best Camera and accessories for Blogging - A Blogger's Guide to Camera Gear

It’s reliable, strong, and sturdy. It also has a touchscreen and Wi-Fi capabilities. The reason that this camera is an upgrade (and priced higher than most) is because it’s full frame. That means you’re able to capture a wider area in your image. This enables you to get better image quality, especially in low-light situations.

Prior to this purchase, I used the Canon EOS 70D*. I loved this camera and still do. To me, its best feature is a touchscreen that can be flipped around and viewed when you’re facing the camera. If you are looking to create video or you do self-photography, you’ll want this feature. My current camera doesn’t have it, and I miss it.

*Canon just released the Canon EOS 77D. It’s an upgrade on the Canon EOS 70D. This latest model has some great technology features that make me totally jealous.

 

Lenses: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, Canon EF 100mm f/1:2.8 Macro, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4

For the past year, I’ve been sticking to the following three lenses 98% of the time. Please note: when you’re looking to purchase a camera lens, do your homework and ensure that it fits your particular camera. When I upgrade to my full frame camera, I do have a few lenses that I can no longer use.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L – This lens is my most recent purchase. I use it for full-room shots at home, and I take it with me when I travel. It’s versatility and flexibility makes it great for traveling. It is a bit large, which is a bummer, but I don’t mind. I find the quality of the images, whether close up or at a distance, to be excellent.

The Best Camera and accessories for Blogging - A Blogger's Guide to Camera Gear

Canon EF 100mm f/1:2.8 Macro – You’ll notice that I like to do a lot of close-ups and detail shots. I’m not sure why, but these are my favorite photos to take, and this is my favorite lens to use when taking them. Because of that, this is probably my most cherished lens. This lens is also the one that I’ve had the longest so I’m super comfortable in using it and knowing how it works.

*If you have a full frame camera and are looking to purchase this macro lens, I recommend this one HERE. I purchased my lens before I had my full frame, so I chose the one that fit my camera. 

The Best Camera and accessories for Blogging - A Blogger's Guide to Camera Gear

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 – This is the lens I find myself using the most. It’s great for anything from photos of my home to food photography. What I especially like about this lens is that the focal length (f-stop) can be adjusted so that it’s very low. This puts what you’re taking a picture of in focus and blurs out everything in the background. I used this lens to get this shot of my coffee cup. My only complaint about this lens is that you can only get so close to an object before the lens will no longer focus on it, thus not allowing you to take a picture. (That’s when I grab my macro lens.)

The Best Camera and accessories for Blogging - A Blogger's Guide to Camera Gear

 

Tripod: Manfrotto MT055 XPro3 Tripod + Manfrotto Light Grip Joystick Head

In my opinion, a quality tripod is essential for crisp and beautiful photos. For the past several years, I’ve been using the Manfrotto MT055 XPro3 Tripod with the Manfrotto Light Grip Joystick Head. (Yes, you need both pieces.)

The Best Camera and accessories for Blogging - A Blogger's Guide to Camera Gear
When I first started using a tripod, I found it to be frustrating and time consuming. Now, it’s rare for me not to use one. The only time I don’t use one is when I’m traveling.

 

Editing: Photoshop Lightroom

The only edits I make to my photos are to adjust lighting, shadows, and clarity. To be honest, I have no idea how to use Photoshop, which is both a blessing and a curse. Photoshop Lightroom, on the other hand, is a fabulous tool that allows you to adjust your photos to make them pop. I find it helpful for brightening images, adding or removing warmth from photos, and, in general, making things look crisper.

The Best Camera and accessories for Blogging - A Blogger's Guide to Camera Gear

I rely solely on natural light for my photography. (Meaning, I use no photography lights, just the sunlight.) Therefore, when conditions aren’t ideal or I’m trying to snap a shot as the sun is going down, Lightroom is essential for helping me fix darkness or shadows in those images. Lightroom is also what I use to add the Inspired by Charm watermark to my photos.

 

Text Overlay: iStudio
Finally, you’ll notice that some of my images have a text overlay. To do this, I use iStudio. (I believe this is only available to Mac users.)

The Best Camera and accessories for Blogging - A Blogger's Guide to Camera Gear

A lot of people use Photoshop for this, but I don’t have that knowledge (yet), so I stick to what I know. While it’s not ideal (It has its quirks.), iStudio works for me. I’ve been using it for over six years now, so I’m comfortable with it and aware of its limitations.

And that’s it. I think that covers everything. As you can imagine, there are a variety of settings and modes to play with on the camera to achieve “the perfect picture.” I’m not going to get into all of those settings here or when and why I use them. If you’re new to photography, you can find some videos on YouTube and tutorials across the internet that will teach you how to use your new camera, lens, or editing software. I’ve spent many a night watching videos and reading tutorials to increase my skills.

I hope you found this “behind-the-scenes” post helpful and interesting. If you’d like more posts like this, let me know in the comments. I’m not exactly sure what those posts would entail, so leave some suggestions as well. Thanks!

This post contains affiliate links. Every once in a while, a fellow blogger or an IBC reader will ask me what type of camera I use. Although I’m not a professional photographer or an expert on photography, I thought I’d use today’s post to answer that question and share some of the other photography gear […]




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A playlist of songs to inspire your morning! Tuesday Tunes 22 - Good Morning | Inspired by Charm

Yesterday I talked a little about changing my morning routine to be a bit more joyful and useful. (And shared a delish recipe for Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake.) Part of that new routine involves turning on music that is mellow, uplifting, and inspiring. Naturally, this made me want to create a new Tuesday Tunes playlist to share with all of you.

In the morning, I tend to like something that’s slow and soft, but not boring. I need a little rhythm to get me going but not so much that I feel rushed or panicked. Since I work from home, I have the luxury of taking time with my morning routine, so I figured I might as well relish in it. Even if you don’t have that luxury, I hope you have a moment of calm each day (or at least on the weekend) when you might enjoy this playlist as well.

A playlist of songs to inspire your morning! Tuesday Tunes 22 - Good Morning | Inspired by Charm

(Cat mug can be found here.)

As you may have predicted, there are lots of folk-inspired tunes and colorful acoustic covers. All of my favorites to start the day or take a break from it. So, why not grab a cup of coffee and join me.

 

 

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

A playlist of songs to inspire your morning! Tuesday Tunes 22 - Good Morning | Inspired by Charm

Be sure to subscribe to my profile for access to all of my favorite tunes along with sneak listens of upcoming playlists. Have a song I should hear? Let me know in the comments below.

Also, I wanted to mention that I created a mix of tunes called IBC’s Current Playlist. This collection of songs is what I’m currently listening to and loving. It’s my go-to. It is (and probably always will be) an eclectic mix that evolves over time. If you’re so inclined, you can follow along or listen to that playlist here.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

 

TUESDAY TUNES LIBRARY

Yesterday I talked a little about changing my morning routine to be a bit more joyful and useful. (And shared a delish recipe for Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake.) Part of that new routine involves turning on music that is mellow, uplifting, and inspiring. Naturally, this made me want to create a new Tuesday Tunes playlist […]




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Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been trying to switch up my routine. Normally, I crawl out of bed, brew a pot of coffee, and log on the computer to sort through email and check social media. I’m finding that going online within fifteen minutes of getting out of bed is probably not the best way to start the day.

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

Last week I decided to instead flip through my favorite magazines as I enjoy my first cup of the day. Magazines are one of the places I find inspiration, so I thought this might be a more productive and less stressful use of time.

I’m delighted to report that this change has greatly improved my mornings. Not only that, but it has inspired dozens of ideas and put a little pep back in my step.

This past Saturday I was so inspired that I decided to have a baking day. It was cold and rainy so staying indoors with my tunes playing and the oven warming my kitchen was fine with me. I actually managed to whip up three recipes and a cocktail. (What I’m going to do with all this food is another matter.) To kick off my baking, I decided to tackle something for St. Patrick’s Day. This Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake was the result.

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

With a touch of green, the pistachios give a nod to the holiday. Plus, I can’t get enough lemon in the springtime. The combination is perfection.

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

I made this cake with the help of my latest kitchen toy. Have you seen the new KitchenAid Black Tie Limited Edition Mixer? I was thrilled to get my hands on one. With all black finishes and premium materials, it’s one sexy machine.

KitchenAid Black Tie Limited Edition Artisan Stand Mixer

KitchenAid Black Tie Limited Edition Artisan Stand Mixer

I started by creaming the sugar and butter. To give the cake lots of pistachio flavor, I finely ground two cups of pistachios in my food processor and then added them to the batter. (I reserved a few tablespoons of whole pistachios to use as garnish.)

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

After the ground pistachios were incorporated, the eggs, lemon zest, and flour went in. I also added a splash of rum for depth of flavor. After pouring the batter into the prepared pan, I baked the cake for an hour. My house was filled with the sweet smell of success! (You can find the bundt pan that I used HERE.)

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

Once the cake had cooled slightly, I added a lemon glaze to the entire cake to lock in the moisture. To garnish, I drizzled the cake with lemon icing and sprinkled it with the greenest pistachios I could find.

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

Even though it’s not covered in rainbows or filled with Lucky Charms, I think this Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake is a grand way to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. (And don’t worry, if you’re reading this after March 17, you really don’t need a holiday to whip up this sweet treat.)

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake

Here's what you will need:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shelled, roasted pistachios
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/4 cup light rum
3 tablespoons pistachios, roughly chopped, for garnish

Lemon Glaze:
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Lemon Icing:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the shelled pistachios until finely ground. (They should stick together when pinched.)

Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the ground pistachios, lemon zest, and vanilla. Beat until incorporated. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture and rum alternately, ending with the flour until just incorporated. Add the batter to the prepared pan, leveling out the top with the spatula.

Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes; then invert the cake onto the rack to cool completely.

In the meantime, prepare your lemon glaze. In a small saucepan simmer sugar, lemon juice, and salt over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. This will take 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then brush the glaze evenly on the cake.

Finally, prepare the lemon icing by whisking together confectioner's sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Add more lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over this icing over the Bundt cake and sprinkle it with chopped pistachios.

Print

Recipe adapted from Country Living Magazine.

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

With that, your pistachio-filled and lemony-drizzled bundt cake is complete!

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake dessert recipe for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, or Easter.

Doesn’t it look incredibly delicious? Trust me, it is. It’s dense, but still light thanks to all of that lemon zest and lemon juice. This is one cake I’d be proud to serve at any bunch, be it on St. Patty’s Day or another special occasion.

If my newfound morning routine continues, I’ll have lots more creative ideas and recipes to share. Stay tuned!

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been trying to switch up my routine. Normally, I crawl out of bed, brew a pot of coffee, and log on the computer to sort through email and check social media. I’m finding that going online within fifteen minutes of getting out of bed is probably not the best […]




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Tips for updating your living room for Spring! - Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

I just realized that we never actually talked about the new rug I got for my living room a few months ago.

Tips for updating your living room for Spring! - Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

You might remember seeing the rug in my Holiday Home Tour. That was a stealth move on my part given the fact that so many of you here (and on social media) LOVED my rug with the graphic triangle pattern. I’m sure it came as a surprise that I had a different rug.

Please don’t get me wrong. I also loved that rug. However, I was growing a bit tired of it. More importantly, though, it limited my color options in decorating my living room. As you may have noticed, I went with a more traditional red and green look for the holidays and that would have been rather challenging with the previous rug.

Tips for updating your living room for Spring! - Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

When choosing a new rug, I wanted something neutral with a subtle pattern and texture. I ended up selecting this Windom Handmade Diamond Trellis Rug from RugsUSA. I love the funky texture (It feels fabulous underfoot.) and the pattern repeated the diamond shapes in the windows next to my fireplace. My favorite thing about the new rug, however, is that it’s neutral, and it opens the floodgates to my color creativity.

Tips for updating your living room for Spring! - Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

With it, I was able to achieve a more homey and traditional look for the holidays (which made me jolly), and now I’m having fun with it for spring.

Tips for updating your living room for Spring! - Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

For some time, I stuck with teals and blues for this space. And while I like that look, I was ready for something different.

Tips for updating your living room for Spring! - Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

A couple weeks ago I took a trip to HomeGoods and Target. (New items sourced below. Check SHOP IBC for link to larger pieces and furniture.) I had so much fun selecting new hues for this space.

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

Surprisingly (as you can see), I ended up with pinks, corals, and blues. While this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, I think it’s perfect for spring. Plus, it was a pleasure to try something new.

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

It also gave me an excuse to bring in new plants and pick up some flowers. This little guy is called a Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides.) It’s my understanding that this is somewhat hard to find. (I paid way too much for it on some random website.) But this guy has grown so much since I bought him, and apparently, he’s hard to kill. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

My initial plan for spring was to get greens and black into this room, but I had a hard time finding what I wanted. So maybe that’s something I can try this summer. We shall see!

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

Thanks for reading this living room rug update. Even if you still love the other rug, my hope is that you can appreciate and understand why I made the change.

Sebastian doesn’t seem to mind.

Spring Living Room Refresh | Inspired by Charm

Sources:
HomeGoods: marble bunny / mantel vases / pillows / coasters
Target: colored vases / mantel artwork / wood birds
Land of Nod: “hello” pillow – no longer available

I just realized that we never actually talked about the new rug I got for my living room a few months ago. You might remember seeing the rug in my Holiday Home Tour. That was a stealth move on my part given the fact that so many of you here (and on social media) LOVED […]




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Before I get into today’s post, I want to extend a huge thank you to all of you. Last week I got more personal than usual here on IBC with my Sun-Dried Tomatoes post. The number of comments, messages, and emails I received in response to that post was beyond anything I ever expected. Before hitting “publish,” I had every intention of responding to all of the messages I received, but I was totally overwhelmed as they poured in. So while it’s impossible for me to reply to each of you (I hope you understand.), I do want you to know how much I appreciated your ideas, insights, and words of wisdom. Even if you offered no advice, just knowing that you cared enough to read my thoughts meant so much to me. My deepest thanks to all of you!

For those who may be wondering, I think I might have a plan (thanks in large part to all of your input)! What I’m thinking of doing seems like the perfect solution to all of my issues. It will give me the larger city life I crave, while still allowing me to keep my home in St. Marys. Plus, the ability to purchase my grandparents’ home will still be an option and things should work with my kitties, too. And, as a added bonus, it will open up new ideas to share here on IBC.

I’m still mulling things over and trying to figure out some of the logistics, but I will certainly pop back in and share more when the time is right.

Again, thank you all so much. Having a place like this to share is awesome in itself, but having a community that responds with so much love and support is beyond incredible.

Developing a Mantra | Inspired by Charm

As I mentioned in that post, I’ve consulted a professional in an attempt to get my head where it needs to be. While I’ve talked to my doctor in the past and have used medication to help, I never felt “good” about that. To me, it always felt like a temporary fix rather than a real solution.

So, I did a little research and found a therapist nearby who teaches Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Based on what I’ve read about it, this approach seemed like something that might work for me. I’ve only had a couple of appointments, so if you want more information on this type of therapy, feel free to do an online search. Also, I don’t pretend to be an expert on this (clearly I’m not); I’m just sharing my journey. Everyone has his/her own path to happiness, so there is no judgment if yours is different from mine.

Anyway, on my last appointment, I was given the homework of reciting a “thought to practice,” also known as a mantra. (For those who might not know, a mantra is a thought that one repeats silently during meditation.)

There is a deeper explanation, but in essence, the brain starts to believe what it is told over and over again. My issue is that for years, I’ve basically been telling my brain that I’m not good enough. (The “not good enough” encompasses a bunch of things.) And because of my job and social media, this message has gotten more intense in recent years.

After a deeper discussion, I was given the following thought to repeat to myself: “I am a fallible human being, and I make mistakes just like everyone else. Therefore, I’m worthy of love and respect just like everyone else.”

This thought is to be repeated 30 times a day for 30 days. The idea is that the more you say and think it, the more your brain starts to believe it.

This mantra can be repeated at any point throughout the day, but it has more of an impact when you incorporate as many senses as possible. For example, you could repeat it while on a walk, say it to yourself every time you look in a mirror, or opt to say it instead of snacking on that donut that only momentarily makes you feel better.

I’m sure this sounds like a bunch of bunk to some folks. However, it makes sense to me, and it’s totally worth a shot. At this point, I’ve got nothing to lose. Unlike in the past, I’m giving this all my effort in hopes of improving myself and adding a bit more happiness to my life.

The interesting thing about all of this is that it’s really not a new concept. Being a self-help book junkie, I’ve read about the benefits of this practice time and time again. In fact, Alison of The Alison Show, sort of touched on it in her recent podcast (Episode 8.) She has been using a similar concept (while also including gratitude) in her exercise and weight-loss journey. It’s totally working for her. (I haven’t listened to all of her episodes, but I do recommend that one if you have time for a quick listen.)

After using my assigned mantra for a few days, I decided to tweak it a bit. What I was given didn’t really roll off the tongue for me. So, I’ve changed it to: “I am a fallible human being worthy of love and respect. And I love myself.” It’s a bit shorter and easier for me to say while still communicating the same message to my brain. Because of this, I now find myself saying this mantra even more.

Not everyone struggles with the feeling of not being enough, so each person’s mantra will be different. If you want to give this a go, take some time to reflect on what’s a struggle for you and then create a mantra to suit. Googling “motivation mantras” might provide a jumping-off point.

Whether this will work for me is still to be determined, but I intend to give it a try. I’ll pop back in around 30 days and let you know what shakes out and maybe offer some more insight. Here’s hoping!

Do you use a mantra in your daily life? Or have you done so in the past? What effects have you seen?

 

*I’ll probably be sharing more personal posts here on IBC on Saturday and Sunday. (Yes, Behind the Charm is going away. It didn’t really “work,” so nothing’s lost.) If you’re just here for yummy recipes, creative DIYs, interior inspiration, and tips for entertaining, then just join me Monday through Friday. However, if you’d like a more personal look at my life, then join me on the weekend as well. Thanks!

Before I get into today’s post, I want to extend a huge thank you to all of you. Last week I got more personal than usual here on IBC with my Sun-Dried Tomatoes post. The number of comments, messages, and emails I received in response to that post was beyond anything I ever expected. Before […]




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This post is sponsored by Glad Products Company. As always all opinions are my own.

I realize that mid-February is a bit early to be talking about Spring, but right now I’m thinking “The sooner it comes, the better!” This weekend I plan to start working on a few projects to help you decorate for and celebrate Easter and springtime. Naturally, there will be food (specifically, dessert) involved, so I’m kicking things off today with these Soft Peanut Butter Cookies for Spring.

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

As you know from past recipes, the pairing of peanut butter and chocolate is a favorite of mine. The flavor combination instantly reminds me of Easter. (I think it’s those ubiquitous chocolate peanut butter eggs.) Today, I’m putting the two together in a classic peanut butter cookie recipe which features candy coated chocolate and is sure to please. (The resulting cookies also look adorable for dressing up any spring celebration.)

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

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

I decided to get these cookies baked before assembling the rest of my spring celebration since I tend to be a messy baker. While my photos might make everything look “perfect,” after an hour in the kitchen, I have a bit of a mess all over the place. I’m always looking for ways to limit the mess, so I find that discarding trash and cleaning-as-I-go help a lot. Thankfully, the smart folks at Glad developed their new Glad ForceFlex Kitchen Pro trash bags with OdorShield™ and LeakGuard™ technology. They are their biggest and strongest kitchen bag yet, featuring double bag protection. Plus, the bags are made with Febreze freshness so they help to control odor, too. A win, win, win for those of us who love to bake and cook!

Glad Kitchen Pro Trash Bags | Inspired by Charm

Glad Kitchen Pro Trash Bags | Inspired by Charm

While a messy kitchen doesn’t bother me too much when I’m in the midst of things (It’s all part of the process.), I do get kind of anxious when dealing with things that can create germs or odor, such as raw meats or eggs. The worst part is when your bag gets a hole in it or rips when you lift it out of the trash can and everything comes spilling out. Not fun. So, when it comes to trash bags, I don’t mess around. Seriously. If it has stretchable strength, leak protection, and odor control. Count me in. That’s why I’m a fan of these Glad Kitchen Pro trash bags. This new bag is 53% more bag, for 53% more fun! Using them is a small step that makes such a huge difference. Bring on the party!

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

Okay, with waste disposal taken care of, let’s bake!

Begin by creaming together your butter and sugars. Then, add the peanut butter and eggs, one at a time. You can bring out your stand mixer for this, but I find that a hand mixer works nicely.

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

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

Now mix in your dry ingredients. I do this with a spatula so that I don’t overmix the dough. Just before the dough is mixed, toss in the candy coated chocolates. I think the pastel colors of the candy are so lovely with the creamy dough color.

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

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

You’ll want to save about 1/2 cup of your candy. I like to add a few pieces to the top of each of the cookies right after they come out of the oven. This is a great little cheat / tip to ensure that your cookies look picture-perfect when it’s time to celebrate!

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

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

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

And that’s it! Your cookies are ready, and that peanut butter chocolatey goodness has a one-way ticket to your tummy. Yum!

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

Soft Peanut Butter Cookies for Spring

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Here's what you will need:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (12 ounce) bag candy coated chocolate candies

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and peanut butter. Once well combined, add one egg at a time, mixing well. Then, mix in the vanilla.

Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture with a spatula. When almost combined, mix in the candy coated chocolates, reserving 1/2 cup to garnish.

Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Place each ball on an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten the balls with your fingers. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies just start to brown. (The longer you bake them, the less soft they will be.)

Remove from the oven and top each cookie with a few pieces of the extra chocolate candy. Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack. Once cool, pack and store them in an airtight container.

Print

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and are looking forward to Spring as much as I am.

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

Also, if like me, you make a bit of a mess in the kitchen, you can find more information about the new Glad ForceFlex Kitchen Pro trash bags by visiting Glad.com. To purchase, visit Target.com here (They are currently on sale!)

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

More springtime treats are on the horizon here on IBC. Stay tuned!

This post is sponsored by Glad Products Company. As always all opinions are my own. I realize that mid-February is a bit early to be talking about Spring, but right now I’m thinking “The sooner it comes, the better!” This weekend I plan to start working on a few projects to help you decorate for and […]




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This post is sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement.

Today I’m sharing my new DIY Custom Shoe Storage. However, before we get to that, a little background information is required.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

I love my house. However, given that it’s 100 years old and was once a Bed and Breakfast, it comes with “unique” features. One of those is a super awkward space between my bedroom and my closet.

When this house was built, these rooms were not connected. This space used to be a closet that could be accessed only from what is now my bedroom. When the house was converted to a B&B, the closet space for these rooms was turned into a bathroom and this space was opened up to create a “suite” of sorts to allow for families or multiple individuals to stay in one room. Hope that makes sense.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

Now that my house is back to being a single-family home, that place is a super awkward space with too many doors, weird carpet (because there is no hardwood floor underneath it), and unfinished molding.

What makes this space even stranger is that behind this wall are pipes and electrical wires that my dad and I ran up from the basement to supply the attic with additional electricity and water. (If you’re an original IBC reader, you might remember that project from years ago.) Consequently, this wall isn’t sealed in because I always wanted to have access to the wiring and pipes should I ever decide to continue remodeling the attic. Because of this, this area has just been a mess, eyesore, and completely wasted space.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

As I’ve mentioned a few times (most recently here), I don’t intend to make this my forever home. With that in mind, I came to a few realizations. First, redoing the attic probably won’t happen, so it’s time to seal up that wall. If the next owner wants to reopen it, it won’t be a problem. Secondly, I always thought about removing the doors and molding and just opening up this space into a mini-hallway of sorts. However, that’s a big project and not really something I want to invest time or money in. Given all of that, I decided to make this space work as is while also tackling another problem: shoe storage.

It’s not that I have lots of shoes lying around, but I find that when things have a place, organizing my home is much easier. Having a dedicated space to store my shoes would make putting them away a simple task.

To tackle this project, I teamed up with my friends at Lowe’s Home Improvement. I knew they would have a system to help. After taking some measurements, I ventured to my local Lowe’s.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

When I saw the Rubbermaid FastTrack system in store, I knew it was the perfect solution. (I should also mention I originally thought about doing a DIY built-in shelving system, but with the existing moldings, some weird angles, and not wanting to make accessing that wall a complete nightmare, a built-in didn’t make sense.) Also, if you’ll recall, I used a similar system in my clothes closet, so I thought this would tie in nicely.

Based on the measurements I’d taken, I gathered all of the pieces I’d need. The Rubbermaid FastTrack system offers a variety of shelves, brackets, drawers, and accessories to make the system work for whatever space you’re organizing – even an awkward closet like mine. The shelves come in 8-feet sections. Since I knew I needed 2-feet sections, I asked an associate for help. He kindly cut the sections to the length I needed.

While at Lowe’s, I also picked up a couple pieces of molding and painting supplies.

Once I got home, I tackled a bit of prep work before installing the closet system.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

The first thing I did was to add crown molding. I had some pieces left from my bedroom/closet makeover that worked perfectly. (The crown molding also happens to be from Lowe’s. You can find that here.) The molding gave the space a finished look by covering up spots where the access wall didn’t line up well. I also added two pieces of cove molding to seal the sides of the wall. Again, while I have no need to access the pipes and wires behind it, this method will make it easier for someone who does.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

Once the molding was in place, everything got a quick coat of paint. I used the same colors I used in my bedroom. (Also, I should mention that heart hanging down on a cord is for a pull-chain light. It’s just an exposed lightbulb. That’s getting replaced later this week.)

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

When the paint was dry, I was ready to install the system. This took only 15 minutes. The system is held in place with this rail across the top. I attached that to the wall with anchor screws. With that up, two parallel bars are added for attaching the shelves.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

With the bars in place, I added brackets. While I used the same shelves, I used two different sets of brackets. One set was designed to create a flat shelf, the other set created an angled shelf for shoes.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

With the brackets spaced out accordingly, I added in the shelves and my DIY Custom Shoe Storage system was complete and ready for my shoes.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

I picked up two large baskets from Lowe’s as well to store things like flip flops and out-of-season shoes. The baskets fit perfectly at the top and bottom of the system.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

Then, I just filled the shelves with my shoes and a few other accessories, and my project was complete.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

Wasted, ugly, awkward space no more! It’s now functional, pretty, and organized. Finally!

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

I think I’m going to add one more angled shelf, but I didn’t purchase enough brackets. I have a few more shoes I need to squeeze in, so this will give me enough storage with room to grow.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

However, in the meantime, I’m totally loving this little area with room for my cologne and decorative touches. This goes to show that organization and storage can be pretty, too.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

And that’s what I love about a system like this. It’s versatile, and it grows with you as your needs change (or your shoe collection expands.)

DIY Custom Shoe Storage - how to organize your shoes in an unused space.

DIY Custom Shoe Storage | Inspired by Charm

This weird space has stared at me for years. so I’m thrilled to cross it off my list. I had always assumed this would be a nightmare project, but it was much easier than I anticipated. Who knew organizing could be so easy and rewarding!?

What do you think of my weird space turned DIY Custom Shoe Storage?

 

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement. As always all opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement. Today I’m sharing my new DIY Custom Shoe Storage. However, before we get to that, a little background information is required. I love my house. However, given that it’s 100 years old and was once a Bed and Breakfast, it comes with “unique” features. One of those […]




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Join the conversation.






Homemade Skillet Brownies - dessert recipe for Valentine's Day!

Apparently, I like to bake things for Valentine’s Day, as evidenced by my recent post with 10 sweet recipes to celebrate Valentine’s Day and my No-Bake Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecakes. As I’ve mentioned, Valentine’s Day isn’t my favorite holiday (Being single for 9 years will do that to you.), however, I’m always excited for an excuse to bake something with butter, sugar, and flour. Throw in a classic combo of peanut butter and chocolate, and I become Cupid’s little helper.

Homemade Skillet Brownies - dessert recipe for Valentine's Day!

For my latest HomeGoods Design Happy Blog post, I created these Mini Skillet Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting. I love shopping the kitchen and food section at HomeGoods, so when I found these adorable mini skillets, I knew I could find plenty of ways to use them. (Remember the Blueberry Grunt I made? I served them up in the same pans!)

Homemade Skillet Brownies - dessert recipe for Valentine's Day!

Homemade Skillet Brownies - dessert recipe for Valentine's Day!

What I love most about this recipe is that there’s truly nothing fancy about it. It’s just brownies, but by amping up the presentation and topping them with creamy peanut butter frosting and colorful sprinkles, you get a unique and festive dessert. As you know, one of my specialties is giving classic recipes an update for new life, added flavor, and a little pizzazz.

Homemade Skillet Brownies - dessert recipe for Valentine's Day!
Homemade Skillet Brownies - dessert recipe for Valentine's Day!

While I made these brownies from scratch (You can get the recipe here.), if you’re pressed for time or just prefer to do so, you could certainly use your favorite box mix. When it comes to frosting, however, I always recommend homemade. Frosting is super simple to make, and it blows any store-bought variety out of the water. Trust me on this.

Homemade Skillet Brownies - dessert recipe for Valentine's Day!

You can find the recipe for these Mini Skillet Brownies with Peanut Butter frosting here.

No matter how you celebrate (even if you don’t celebrate), I hope you have a fabulous Valentine’s Day!

Apparently, I like to bake things for Valentine’s Day, as evidenced by my recent post with 10 sweet recipes to celebrate Valentine’s Day and my No-Bake Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecakes. As I’ve mentioned, Valentine’s Day isn’t my favorite holiday (Being single for 9 years will do that to you.), however, I’m always excited for an excuse […]




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Join the conversation.






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