Somewhere in that process of creating my book and fostering connections for others, I lost a little of my own space for connection. I lost that little voice that said, “why don’t I invite so and so over,” or “why don’t I call so and so.” Mostly, why don’t I pause? "Because," that inner voice said, “there is more to do. You don’t have time.” But that voice stems from a place of scarcity, not creativity or purpose. So on a summery weekend, I adjusted my compass. And through it all, there was always Julep, reminding me that in exchange for her constant support and unconditional love, for the joy she brings me daily, she requires just a mere blueberry taste test.
When it comes to coffee consumption, I lean toward the Lorelai Gilmore school of thought, ie: more, more, more! I like black coffee with a splash of cream in the morning (followed by a refill). I like short, concentrated cortados in the afternoon, or iced lattes when it’s hot. When it comes time to cheers to the weekend, why stop the coffee? Pair it with a splash of bourbon, and we’re en route to a Cold Brew Coffee Cocktail. What else is in store for the weekend?
Exfoliation is a necessary step to keep skin glowing, and making a homemade sugar scrub, it turns out, is easy- just mix the ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a jar, and … that’s it! Plus, homemade scrubs give you the power to customize the scents to your fancy and to make sure every ingredient is top quality.
These days, I tend to err on the side of gluten-free baking when it comes to baking for larger gatherings. The chances that someone has a gluten allergy or sensitivity seem to be high these days. Plus, as a grain nerd, these recipes are a chance to explore a wider variety of flavors, textures and health benefits, so let me introduce you to Teff via chocolate and pecan blondies.
Did you know Scott Patterson, ie: Luke Danes, started his own coffee company? Being the theme-oriented gal that I am (ie: a should-be Stars Hollow resident), I ordered my own package of the breakfast blend. Logically, I decided the best way to try this brew was in true "Gilmore Girls" fashion. That meant a healthy mocha milkshake paired with a very Luke Danes meal: a cheeseburger, sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli. It's a diner style meal I could eat daily, but it's also the meal Luke cooked for his daughter, April, when she announced she was going to her first boy-girl party. Where you at "Gilmore Girls" fans?
Welcome to our home! This is a recap of our Design*Sponge home tour feature, plus a table full of food and a pumpkin cake recipe because I’m here to feed you!
For more than a decade, I have been a loyal Design*Sponge reader. For more than a year and a half, I’ve been on the other side — a contributor. I’ve been inviting myself into people’s homes, both physically and figuratively, to bring you the stories and spaces that inspire many a Pinterest board, your dream homes, and your very real renovations. But then it came time to turn the tables and invite readers into my own home.
To have my home featured on DesignSponge was a goal and a dream I nurtured for a long time. It was one of the first blogs I followed, one of my longest relationships, if you will. It has been a constant, daily source of inspiration, both through design and through Grace Bonney’s mission to make the site a safe, embracing space. Today I’m sharing parts of the tour featured on DesignSponge, as well as some food bonuses and a pumpkin cake recipe because you come here to feast with your eyes, right?
You can read the stories of this space in the original D*S tour, but for a bit of a different take, come on in!
Photography by Dave Bryce.
Even though my dream kitchen would probably be dark and rustic, I let the bones of this kitchen, mainly the cabinetry and the enamel sink, inspire the design. It’s very kitschy, and I painted the cabinets and accent wall with a very 1960s vibe.
Welcome to my favorite room- the dining room! As much as I love styling and blogging, there’s nothing quite like cooking and baking for people. I love hosting friends and family in this room, or simply celebrating special occasions with Kyle, while Julep lurks under the table hoping for scraps. This room reflects my affinity for aged and worn surfaces and the many layers of a building. I painstakingly removed paint from the doors and fireplace tiles but purposefully left the chippy accent wall and exposed lathe.
I am constantly drawn to old books, but before moving into this apartment, I vowed to put the books to better use (because boy, were they heavy to move!). I had two photography books depicting French life in the city and the countryside, and those pages became the collaged mantel accent. I studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence and worked as a jeune fille au pair (a nanny) in Paris after college, so these vintage prints bring back so many pleasant French memories.
This is a question we ask everyone who shares their home on Design*Sponge – What do you love most about your home? We ask our home tour features to respond with an element of the handmade too, so naturally, I incorporated the table, food and dessert- pumpkin cake!
What I love most about my home is…it tells my story.
I love sharing our home with friends, family, and our fur baby (see her at the head of the table?). I enjoy watching the way guests interact with my collections and the associations they make, whether it be glassware their grandmother used or a fascination with the mechanics of a typewriter.
For our tour, I brought together some of my closest friends to showcase our dining room at its best – when it is filled with food and friends. Kyle and Julep, obviously. Dane and I met over a love of vintage, architecture and Pittsburgh adventures. Bess and I met through a love of Western Pennsylvania vintage, and the lady cracks me up until I cry. Lindsey and I met over a LOVE [obsession] of dogs and while working on her cookbook, Eat Your Feelings, which I gush about all the time.
The living room gallery wall sums us up: food still lifes, beekeeping and farming scenes, dog portraits, old cameras, French cityscapes and Q’s (because you’d be surprised how frequently that letter is omitted from alphabetical merchandise!). The wooden frame highlights a Kenyan ekichilong, a small wooden stool the Turkana shepherds use for sitting and sleeping, which I purchased on a trip to rural Kenya. You’ll even find the small velour hat from my childhood Samantha doll. I parted with the doll, but I had to keep one little memento.
The bedroom is my maximalist self’s attempt at minimalism. My goal was to create a really calming space where I would want to unwind, or where I would want to nestle with Julep and my morning mug of coffee.
Be sure to check out the full home tour feature on Design*Sponge for more photos and all the stories of these quirky nooks and crannies. Thanks for visiting. Now go preheat that oven. There’s a pumpkin cake to make!
Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
About this Cake: Healthy, whole grain brown rice flour makes a rich, nutty pumpkin cake that’s gluten free- perfect for a crowd. I topped the cake with pumpkin chocolates from Trader Joe’s, which were a seasonal item, but you can dust with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice and decorate with cinnamon sticks and sage as an alternative.
Valentine's Day is on the horizon. Skip the heart-shaped chocolate boxes, skip the generic bouquets, avoid the lame cards, and make something yourself. Make this Valentine's Day a dark chocolate love fest with dark chocolate cakes and a homemade, spicy, dark sipping chocolate called Atole (ah-toe-lay).
This low sugar, whole grain cake is still fudgey and sweet and perfect for sharing with gluten-free eaters. Sorghum, the base of this recipe, is an ancient whole grain that happens to be gluten-free. You can buy it at most organic grocers or online. Since raw cacao is more readily available and cheaper these days, I use it in place of regular cocoa in this recipe.