Design Manifest

Earlier this year I met Naomi from Design Manifest blog. I've been a fan of her work ever since I discovered it online a few years ago! She has a fantastic design aesthetic & one of my favorites! Today she sent a sneak peek into her latest work - where she reveals the gorgeous spaces she designed for clients.

I should be so LUCKY to get a little DESIGN advice from her on my next place! Right???

Here are samples of her most recent work, you can actually see the before & after pictures on her blog! Also, check out her blog tomorrow for the final reveal of the living room!

-images via design manifest

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Hurricane + Moving + Giving

It's been an interesting few days here in NYC. While half the city has no electricity - we feel blessed that our lights are still on. It was an intense night with the winds howling & barely anyone on the streets. What a rarity, no one on the streets of NYC.

I never felt truly scared as I like to keep my trust in God and his protection over us - but I did keep wondering where the electricity would go OFF next.  It's amazing that most of the news on CNN was already being spread on Twitter. Even beyond the tragedy, it was great to see people shedding their fears by bringing some humor into things.

In the midst of it all, we realized how glad we were that we weren't moving on Nov. 1st - but during the middle of the month instead. We managed to sell all the items we put up for sale, the biggest one being the white sofa. 


It was bittersweet, as I watched it for the last time being loaded into a truck. It drove away to it's next destination, Brooklyn. I hope the new owners will LOVE it as much as I did. Sometimes we have to learn  to make room for other things in our lives. Things we may not even know are coming. Just like God prepares us spiritually for our next journey, we also have to make room for it as well. I look forward to decorating the next place.

Please consider making a donation to the Hurricane Relief - you can go to my church site here:

OR Salvation Army.

Btw, you can follow my Twitter here.

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FOOD: Halloween Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Hello, hello! We're only a couple days away from the spookiest time of year...what are your Halloween plans? Lauren, here, dropping by today with a Halloween-inspired party appetizer.

Instead of severed fingers, bloody bones or scary eyeballs, I put a twist on the classic soup-and-sandwich combination, paying homage to Halloween's classic orange and black colors. This app would work just as well at any autumn gathering...

smoked tomato soup and pumpernickel grilled cheese

I admittedly haven't put on a Halloween costume in years, and my way of celebrating holidays like Halloween always leans toward festive over cute presentation. This tomato soup recipe renders a perfect orangey hue and takes a little extra effort, but the smoky flavor is soooo worth it! The pumpernickel bread then imparts a perfectly moody, dark vibe for the sandwiches.

I decided it would be fun to serve the soup in glass test tubes I picked up at a local antique mall, but you can easily find them online too, like here and here. I then anchored everything on a gilded tray for serving. 

smoked tomato soup and grilled cheese
smoked tomato soup and pumpernickel grilled cheese

smoked tomato soup and pumpernickel grilled cheese

Grilled Cheese Ingredients:
-Pumpernickel bread
-Aged gouda cheese (try deli slices instead for better melting)
-Cornichons (French pickles), sliced. Substitute apples if you wish.
-Whole-grain Dijon mustard 

1) Spread mustard on half of bread slices, then layer the cheese and pickle slices. Top with remaining bread slices. 
2) In a pan over medium heat, add a tad of butter, then place sandwiches. While cooking, lightly butter the sides facing up. Flip sandwiches then firmly press down on each using a metal spatula or pot lid to seal them together. Alternatively, use panini press.
3) Cut cooked grilled cheeses into thirds, forming triangle shapes. 

smoked tomato soup and pumpernickel grilled cheese
smoked tomato soup and grilled cheese

Smoked Tomato Soup Ingredients:
-2 teaspoons of apple smoking chips
-1 pound plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
-6 tablespoons of olive oil
-Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
-6 slices country-style bread, sliced 1-inch thick and cut into 1-inch cubes
-1 yellow onion, diced
-1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
-1/3 cup sherry cooking wine
-1/3 cup fresh orange juice
-4 cups chicken stock
-2 cans (each 14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices
-Pinch of cayenne pepper 


1) In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper.

2) To create a stove top smoker: Line a large pot with 2 layers of heavy duty foil. Scatter wood chips over. Cover tightly; cook over medium high heat until chips begin to smoke, 10-12 minutes. Arrange tomato halves, cut sides up, on a steamer rack. Place in pot on top of chips. Cover and smoke tomatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl and let cool, then remove and discard the skins.

3) Preheat an oven to 350°F.

4) In a bowl, stir together the bread cubes, 3 tablespoons of the oil, salt and pepper. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Set the croutons aside.

5) In a soup pot over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the sherry and orange juice, and cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Add the smoked tomatoes, the stock, canned tomatoes with juices and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. 

6) Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Pass the soup through a fine strainer into a clean pot, pressing firmly on the solids. Set the pot over low heat, add the croutons and let stand for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using the immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. 

-post & images by Lauren Craig

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Food: Fall Harvest Salad

Hi everyone! Lauren from Perpetually Chic, back with my absolute favorite fall salad. I was inspired to create this last year, after selecting an unlikely pairing--Brussels sprouts and butternut squash--from a local pizza restaurant's salad bar (which boasts 24 mix-in options). After further perfecting the salad at home, I must have made it a dozen times last fall, so I'm excited to bring it back into heavy rotation now that Brussels and butternuts are once again in season. 

Paired with sweet dried cranberries, crunchy walnuts and creamy blue cheese, this salad is packed with flavor and filling enough to be a meal on its own. Read on for the recipe!

fall harvest saladfall harvest saladfall harvest salad

 Try to find a good quality, fresh blue cheese and crumble it yourself. You can certainly use the pre-crumbled kind, but I promise you won't regret spending a few extra dollars on this one ingredient.

fall harvest saladfall harvest salad

Quick tip: Be careful not to overcook the Brussels sprouts, which become very bitter if cooked for too long. 

fall harvest salad

For the Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons of good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Salad
  • Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • Butternut squash, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
  • Dried cranberries
  • Walnuts, crumbled
  • A nice blue cheese, crumbled
  • Red romaine lettuce, chopped or torn
  1. To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar and dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to whisk, until mixed well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a pan over medium-high heat, sauté the Brussels sprouts and squash with a very small piece of butter. Cook, turning occasionally and drizzling with a little olive oil, until browned and fork tender but still crisp. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a bowl, toss lettuce with balsamic dressing. Transfer lettuce onto plates, then top with the warm Brussels sprouts and squash, cranberries, walnuts and blue cheese. 

-post & images by Lauren Craig

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Thank You

Many of you may recall this post I did back in August where I wrote about my 'not so pretty' past, which I have eventually moved passed. I spoke about how the TRUTH sets us free. That statement couldn't be more true.  In John 8:32 Jesus says, “And you will know the truth, and that truth will set you free.”  I can NOW say with certainty that God is faithful. This is what I've experienced.

I dedicated 100% of profit for 3 days of sales from my business to 2 different charities, Women's Initiative & Children's Cup. It was a PLEASURE to act on what I felt God was directing my heart to do. He used me in a wonderful way to help others, despite the bad others were trying to inflict on me. It's no secret, I believe God is awesome. Below is a thank you note I received from one of the women I was able to assist through my donation.

If you're looking to donate to charities, the ones I listed above are some good ones! THANK YOU so much to all those who wrote emails, who bought from my shop & who commented - plus all my friends, family & husband - I love all of you!

-images by jen ramos

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Halloween Details

Hi Everybody! Can you believe how quickly October is coming to an end?? That only means one thing... Halloween is just around the corner! The holidays are always the perfect reason to do a little redecorating, and of course, indulging in a few sweet treats ;)

Here are a few pieces I found while browsing online that would instantly make any home feel a little more festive. Also, a fun DIY to turn an ordinary pumpkin a little more glam!

3. SKULL CUTOUT TEE (great DIY idea!)
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Fancy, Fancy - For Dog Lovers

I know I'm not the only one who celebrates their pets BIRTHDAY. Right??!?! When that time of the year comes rolling around, I'm always grateful that our Darla is still with us, another year later! I believe she is a gift from God & even though I don't buy her a cake & some candles - I do buy her a gift or two! 

Below I picked out 7 fancy gifts for DOG LOVERS. I'm sure you'll love them if you don't mind splurging. Some are PRETTY DARN pricey I admit.  Honestly, the most I've spent on a gift was $250 for our dog, so this is def something to think about.

Do you celebrate your pet's Birthday?? Which gift below would you buy for your dog if you could??

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DIY: Spruce up your Pumpkin

Hey everyone! I hope that you all are having a great day so far. It's Anna here, and today, I am sharing a little inspiration to take that pumpkin of yours to the next level. I love Fall, and I am always looking for fun ways to decorate around the house in good taste. I hope this quick fix fits the bill.

I bought a couple of small pumpkins to paint and got out my collection of acrylic and spray paints. There were no rules… I just did whatever I wanted. 

One had a touch of white paint on top. One was spray painted gold. The other was painted with black stripes (taped with painters tape first). 
You could paint a chevron pattern, polka dots, etc. Get creative! There are no rules.

-post and images by anna weaver

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Moving Sale ....

Hey everyone! We FINALLY decided on an apartment today. It wasn't our first choice - but it felt like it was where we needed to be versus what we really wanted. Weird, but true. Anyhow, I'll be selling some furniture & accessories that are currently in my home - simply because I need to adjust to the new living space. It's about 50 sq foot smaller than our current apartment but has a ton more amenities in the building.

Here's a list of what will have to be SOLD - I'll post more items this week!  If it's a bigger item, unfortunately, I cannot ship it. However, if you're willing to drive from another borough to New York City to pick something up - that's more than ok. 

Everything is in GREAT condition - I take care of my things very well, and you are more than welcomed to come see it all for yourself. As for the white french provincial sofa, it has only been used for 9 months - but it's always covered with a large blanket. If you have questions, email me! Thanks!

 above is one of my paintings - cocoa & hearts.

Above also one of my paintings - cocoa & hearts.

 UPDATE: these are the final sale prices:

White Sofa: re-upholstered in white twill, clean, no stains, well maintained. $795. Block pillows not included. 83" long. - SOLD
Zebra Hide: printed on cowhide, 6'x5.5'. $160 - SOLD
Painting: 26"x40" original, acrylic on canvas. $750 - SOLD
Spray Painting: 40"x50" original, gold spray paint and acrylic on canvas. $450
Console: black wood console with silver hardware (table only) 48"x17"x30.5" . $125 - SOLD

Black & Silver studded Lamp: $45 - SOLD
Bangal Jet blk & white Ikat zebra print fabric by P. Kaufmann- 8 yds: $100
Framed Manhattan Print: $45 - SOLD
Harry Allen Piggy Bank: $85  (retails for $125) -SOLD
Artemis Bust - 14"H : $40 (crucifixion not included)- SOLD
Blk & White Hair Hide Rug- good condition: $100 (it's a little curled on the ends - but can be fixed easily - here's how.) SOLD

First come, first serve. Please note, I cannot hold items, unless you make payment via PayPal. Shipping is not included in price.

-bottom 2 images by janis nicolay & top ones are by jen ramos

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