Sell crazy someplace else....We're all stocked up here.

I absolutely love leopard print. I've been particularly into in the last couple of years, as it really can be used as a neutral. It's also oh so timeless.

I love it on a large scale like this carpet.

And on a tiny scale like this bench.

image via ElementsofStyle

I like it on stairs a la Erin Gates.

I like it on chairs.

I love green eggs and ham, Sam I am!
(that's what I was starting to sound like there for a minute, haha)

I love how it mixes so effortlessly with any color---turquoise, yellow, graphic black and white. It's just perfect.

So, here's why I'm proclaiming my undying love for leopard today.

I'm helping a friend of mine choose a few things for her house. She mentioned to me that she wants leopard chairs.

So I started researching them.

I had seen the image below before (they are chairs at the boutique Canary in Dallas)
and assumed (stupidly) that they were upholstered in Scalamandre's Leopardo silk velvet.

Which is this beauty. And which is also UBER expensive.

These chairs are similar and after a few minutes of research,I came to find out that both chairs are in fact upholstered in this.

Braemore's Jamil Fabric in Natural.
Which Duralee sells to the trade.

Which is quite a bit more cost effective.

And all the sudden I had a hair brained thought.

Remember my 1950's tufted sofa that I got for a song on eBay a couple years ago?
Well it still looks like it does below (except with corgi inflicted dirt ALL OVER IT).

I have been looking for an emerald green velvet to reupholster it in.

Something really deep and luscious.

I was considering the Sophia Velvet from JF Fabrics.

Which is really gorgeous and really yummy.

But then I thought, what IF I upholstered my whole sofa in the Jamil Leopard?

Crazy Lady right here, I know.

But I just can't push the thought out of my head.

 So I took to Pinterest to see who had dared to do this before.

First picture I found was this.
And guess who it belongs to?

None other than Aerin Lauder (Estee's granddaughter for those of you who live under a rock). There are about 5 people on this planet who I believe can do no wrong when it comes to style and interiors.
Aerin happens to be one of them.

I wasn't able to find a ton of other examples, probably because not many people have been brave enough to attempt this.

I love the mix of emerald with the leopard here, with the pops of yellow and pink.
So lovely.

And another leopard sofa looking very stately and traditional.

I have been going back and forth on whether it's a huge mistake to put leopard all over my sofa or a really good idea.

And you know what, sometimes it's more fun not to "play it safe". 
Life is just too short.

Like with my wedding china.

I totally could have gone with the traditional white and gold, or white and silver.

Which is beautiful, timeless and classic.

But what did I do?

I decided to mix two aqua patterns.

And I have not regretted it for one second.

You know why? It's fun to take risks in decorating!

And then I started to think to myself whether it would work with all of my 1960's decor.

And I stumbled on this photograph, taken by Mark Shaw In Paris, circa 1960.

I think I might be okay.

What do ya'll think? Honest opinions now. Should I take the plunge?
Or am I totally certifiably, bonkers?

Mixing High and Low

A couple of years ago I read a style page about Kate Middleton. They were discussing her pairing of a $19 necklace from H&M I think, with a couture gown that must have cost thousands.

I'm a huge advocate of mixing high and low, both in clothing and interiors.
And hey, if Princess Kate----the goddess of all things good and perfect in this world--can do it, why can't we?

First, a little high low action that's equally appropriate for a day at the office as it is for a dinner out with your husband or girlfriends.

I bought this skirt a couple weeks ago at Old Navy. It's currently on sale for $24. It fits well, and looks way more expensive than it actually is.

I paired it with a navy silk Vince blouse from last year's collection, but I'm loving this one from this year's. Love that it has the red woven through it.

Would love mixing it with these Jessica Simpson Leopard pumps for under $100.

And I'm kind of super in love with this fringe tote from Tory Burch.
Which has the steep price tag of $595.

Paired with these fun earrings from Bauble Bar to the tune of $32.

Now, an outfit for a cocktail event.

I ran across this dress from Target's Altuzurra line the other day and totally fell in love with it.
And it's $39. Why am I not at Target buying it right now?

Here it is on Naomi Watts, but this is probably a poor example, as she looks totally fabulous in everything.

I have a few fall/winter events coming up that it would be great for and I already had one of these pairs of shoes in mind for it.

These Manolos were my wedding shoes. If you're in the market for wedding shoes (or shoes for an important event) I strongly encourage you to do something leather in a metallic color. Here's why. They will always be special and remind you of that day AND you can wear them over and over again.

Or I could go with these Jimmy Choo pumps from a couple of years ago.

By the way, in the spirit of full disclosure and our high-low discussion, I got both of these pairs of shoes for about $200. Both on sale at Saks Fifth Avenue on different days. 
I'm going to drop some knowledge on you now. If you live anywhere near a Saks, make a habit of attending their day after Christmas sale. It starts at like 6 am and it's a beating to get up that early to fight out crazy shoppers, but it is SO worth it. I recommend you visit the shoe dept first---those go the fastest. See you on December 26th in Houston.

I'd love to mix in these Oscar de la Renta tassel earrings in the Almond color.

Along with this fun, go with everything $59 clutch from Zara.

Most of you have probably been practicing the art of high-low dressing for years---but what I think a lot of people struggle with is the art of high-low decorating.

How about a formal living room scenario?

This Society Social Sofa. I'm actually thinking of this as one of my "budget items" It's around $1400-$1500, depending on the grade of fabric you choose (or you can send in your own!) and really that's very reasonable for a sofa. It's not where you want to skimp in a room, I'll tell you that much.

Let's add this set----A coffee table and a side table. I would probably put the side table in between two chairs. $249 for BOTH on the buy it now price on eBay. Magic.

Let's add two of Ikea's Mellby chairs. $249 each, plus a cover for an additional $49. I love the unexpected element of this chartreuse color.

And this gorgeous Madeline Weibrib rug.

And two of these Arianna Belle pillows for the sofa?

Along with a couple of pillows in my all time favorite Schuamcher Silk Fret in Chartreuse to pull in the green of the chairs.

Love a floor lamp like this one from West Elm for $199.

Love this modern oil on canvas from artist Richard Anuszkiewics, called Chartreuse Square, 1979 available through the Loretta Howard Gallery via 1st Dibs. I would hang it above the sofa.

I'd add this brass lamp from Circa Who in between the chairs.

Along with this droplet glass pendant from West Elm. A fun, reasonable chandelier at $399.

A fun room with loads of style. The art and the rug are MEGA expensive, but that can be offset by watching your pennies elsewhere.

What's your favorite way to create a high-low mix?

Chinoiserie Wallpaper

There is something that is absolute MAGIC about chinoiserie wall covering. 
Whether it's Gracie, De Gournay----there is a life and movement that it adds to a room that simply cannot be matched.

I've long been a fan of chinoiserie wallpaper for dining rooms and powder rooms, both because those are places that you really get to show it off, and because they make those spaces feel more formal and special.

And it's part of life's superb unfairness that Aerin Lauder gets to have it in her dressing room.
But Whatever.

I really love the application of it in bedrooms.
Again, it makes the space feel so special and almost like your own private little jewel box.

Remember this iconic room from one of House Beautiful's small spaces issues?
I always thought it was a little weird that this couple's daughter had to sleep right next to them in that little trundle pull out. But, hey, maybe it offset the cost of that GORGEOUS wallpaper?

For those of us mere mortals, a full room of chinoiserie wallpaper is not practical for a whole room, let alone a bedroom.

But I do love the idea of framed chinoiserie panels!

Love this one with a custom monogram.
To die for.

I love how panels give you the look in your bedroom, without breaking the bank.

And, when you move, guess what?

You can take it with you.

Fall Weekend and Lunch Prep

I absolutely love fall weekends (or any weekend really where its not 900 degrees in Texas).

I did a lot of prep cooking for the week this weekend, which always makes me feel accomplished and super on top of things.

Since I started my big kid job in 2008, I've pretty much been an "out to lunch" type of gal. Meaning that I've made a habit of spending $7-$20 on lunch on any given day----from Eatzi's, Central Market (Eatzi's for Texas folks) or any host of take out places.
I don't even want to think about what my daily expenditure on lunch adds up to, much less what it does to my health.

My new boss----not so new anymore as we celebrated our year of working together in August----brings her lunch EVERY SINGLE DAY and always has. So, in the last year I've been much more motivated to bring mine.

Anyway, I go through phases of what I bring. Sometimes it's a thrown together smorgasbord of things, sometimes dinner leftovers, sometimes salads or a sandwich. 
I will say that while I love salads from a salad bar situation, I just cannot get excited about them when I make them myself for lunch. I make them for dinner all the time---but it's a weird thing I have about wanting homemade salads to be eaten immediately.

As of late, I've been buying this fabulous Gluten Free bread from udi's that my sister turned me on to.
I'm not exclusively gluten free---but I do somehow feel like this bread is a little healthier. It also comes frozen---which is amazing because Brian and I hardly ever finish a fresh loaf since before it spoils.

I've mostly been making smoked salmon sandwiches with it. A little whipped goat cheese, red onion, cucumber and a little cured salmon. Delicious. I've actually been looking forward to my little homemade lunch.

But good cured salmon ya'll-----Is 'spensive.

I was perusing Pinterest a couple weeks ago for new lunch options and I came across a few recipes to cure your own. Much more cost effective. So, when I came home on Friday night, I put this recipe from Martha Stewart into motion.

Guys, this is SO EASY. Seriously, my cousin's toddler could easily execute this recipe.
It takes about 5 minutes of prep and then you basically leave it alone for a day.

I cut some up for brunch on Sunday and it was soooo yummy.

On Saturday, I met one of my besties and another friend for my FIRST trip to the Texas State Fair.
It was a lot of interesting people watching and then crowds were insane, but I had the best time.
And, yes I had one of the famous Fletcher's corn dogs.

My picture of Big Tex and the most perfect cloudless fall day.

And an artsy fartsy picture of the cattle barn.

Sunday morning while Brian worked, I took the corgis on a walk in one of my favorite Fort Worth neighborhoods, Ryan Place. The house above has been and always will be my favorite Fort Worth house. It's one of the originals to the street, built in the early 1900's. They're doing work to it currently, and I keep secretly hoping that the owners will invite me in for a looksy.

image courtesy of A Sweet Pea Chef

Sunday night I made this delicious recipe from A Sweet Pea Chef for roast beef---which believe it or not, I had never tried making before. It too, was super easy. We had it for dinner on Sunday and Monday and had plenty of leftovers that I cut up for Brian to have on his lunchtime sandwiches.

How was ya'll's fall weekend?

Marriage.....How nothing has changed. And how everything has.

A week from this Sunday, Brian and I will have been married for six months. Whenever I've seen anyone that I don't see often, their first question is always,  "SOOOOO, How's married life??!!" The second is always, "SOOOO, do you feel like things are DIFFERENT?"

I think I've touched on Brian and my decision to "live in sin" for almost 4 years prior to our walk down the aisle. I may delve further into that decision in another post (for those who may be considering it). I heard an expression about living together pre-marriage the other day that I thought was hilarious. A hybrid of "Why would you buy the cow when you're getting the milk for free?" adage, they said, "I mean really, WHO ON EARTH would buy a cow without sampling the milk first?" Well played.

I bring up our decision to live together pre-matrimony because in a way, it has affected our marriage. Mostly because, to everyone's second query, I DON'T feel that different. Since April 12th, other than calling each other husband and wife and the marriage certificate (that is buried somewhere on the desk in the guest room amidst stacks of lists and thank you notes----I promise, they're coming to you!) not much has changed.

Before we got married, I was voracious for information about this "change". I would grill my friends who lived together before marrying. " Do you feel different?" "Has he changed?" "Have you?" Most friends said they did feel a little change. A lot of it was finances---since now they were actually merged. One friend called me crying " He won't let me buy my expensive foundation----What is he thinking?! I NEED that!!!" Some just said they felt like they were really IN IT together now that they were married. Like each of their decisions really affected the other person and vice versa.

In some ways, nothing has changed. I don't love Brian any more or less than I did before. I am still just as happy to see him come home from work. Watching him with our dogs still makes me look forward to seeing him become a father someday. I still want to murder him when he leaves his clothes in the dryer or lets the trash can get overly full.

In other ways, it seems everything has changed. I can admit now (that it has passed) that in the weeks immediately following our wedding I had blinding, and completely irrational baby fever. It wasn't like I actually thought we were going to just toss the birth control out the window and get pregnant immediately, but I thought about having a baby ALL THE TIME. I think it was the newness of our marriage. It was an exciting time, and I would look at Brian and think about how much I loved him and how much fun it would be to be parents together. Thankfully, reality and logic won out. There are so many things I want to do first. Achieve certain career goals, buy a new house, clean out my closet (some items on the task list are bigger than others).

I also feel a lot more pressure to keep up my 'wifely' duties. Things like, making sure dinner is cooked every night. Making sure the house is clean and organized (my inner mess still really struggles with this part---I'm sure all of my former roommates can attest to that.) And really, I've been playing at the role of "wife" for years. It does seem like more of a responsibility now, than a novelty like it used to.

All in all, so far I love being married. It's definitely not all roses---funnily enough, the things we fight about now are more fundamental issues than petty things---a sign I think, that we genuinely care about each other. When you're someone's biggest cheerleader, you feel the losses just as hard or harder than the wins.

Everyone says the first year is the hardest. Their are days where I think that those people just suck at marriage. And there are days where I know they're absolutely right.

I know this at six months in----There's no one I'd rather sit next to on this ride.

And without further aideu-----Our wedding video from Love Bird Wedding Films. Nick and Josh were SO amazing. If you need a great wedding video shot, give them a call!

Three Nurseries----My Way!

My post last week about Jenna Bush Hager's nursery was so well received (I even got a few emails from readers!) that I decided to do a post on how I would decorate a nursery!

To preface this post. NO, I am not pregnant. NO, I am not planning to become pregnant 

I feel the need to make that disclaimer before my mom starts calling me asking why I've done two baby-related posts in a row. Not a joke, she called me recently and asked me why I had been pinning to my "Little One's" pinterest board so much.

I've broken my nursery post into three different scenarios for different styles.
I made all of these gender neutral---which I'm really a fan of. That way it can work just as easily for a second child, no matter the gender.

This nursery is for the mid-century modern enthusiast. 

Modern and Minimalist

Love the natural wood version of the crib we talked about last week. Find it at Dwell Studio.

Changing tables are a waste of money. Get a fab dresser and put a changing pad atop it.

Like this version from West Elm.

You could also go with the one that matches the crib, but I think it's fun to mix and match. Things look more interesting and less cookie cutter that way.
And less like you visited your friendly neighborhood furniture warehouse.

When you're trying to keep things minimalist and simple, I like a neutral shag rug. It gives it a bit of a retro vibe, and the diamond pattern adds a little interest, but blends nicely with the overall look.

This is a great option from RugsUSA.

You could go with a more traditional type glider, but I love the edge that this Eames style rocker has!

Love this crib bumper from Serena & Lily

And this cute little coordinating crib sheet.

I love the idea of adding a funny/edgy pillow like this one from Jonathan Adler.
So un-baby like.

Love these industrial sconces from PhotonicStudio on Etsy.
I would pair two of them (which would flank the crib) 

Our next nursery is for the mom that LOVES color. It's Hollywood Regency inspired, with loads of style and pizazz.

Hollywood Regency

I'd start off with this wallpaper from Schumacher. Omg, it's SO amaze in person.

This crib is a little wild, but I kind of LOVE it.

Since the crib is wild, I think It'd be fun to go with a more neutral chair. Love the lines of this one.
And the contrast of the black piping on the stark white chair.

With a pillow in China Seas Lyford Trellis

And a crib bumper in this fun Bailey and Griffin pattern.

With this crib sheet from Serena & Lily

And this fun pillow from Arianna Belle for inside the crib.

Love the greek key detail on this dresser for the changing table.

This rug keeps in our fun color scheme and I like the graphic element to it.

Looove this chandelier and always have. It would add such a fun element to the room.

My last nursery is for the mom that is traditional, but likes a little bit of edge. Even though this nursery is all in blues, I think it would be perfect for a boy or a girl!

Traditional with a Twist

Love this crib from Restoration Hardware. The oval shape is a fun unexpected element.

I would paint the whole nursery, moldings and doors included in Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue in a high gloss. Like this kitchen below.

I would want to do a little bed treatment flanking the crib like this,

with a crib skirt and bumper to match.

With two little brass swing arm lamps to light the crib, like these 
from Circa Lighting.

For the glider---how about going vintage with one of these fabulous Milo Baughman style swivel chairs from Circa Who?

 Upholstered in this GORGEOUS new fabric from Schumacher.

It's a silk velvet, and its sumptuous in person.

And since we're getting really crazy, how about two of these fun 1970's chandeliers via 1st Dibs for either side of the room?

For the changing table, I love this Modern Gustavian Chest from Wisteria. This is actually not crazy expensive, and I love how it coordinates with the crib, but isn't matchy matchy.

Since our budget in this imaginary nursery is obviously HUGE, I see no reason why the baby's closet can't get a little love.

Dying over this Cole and Son wallpaper to adorn the inside of the closet!

Here it is shown in a butler's pantry.

Which nursery scenario is your favorite?

Jenna Bush Hager's Fabulous Nursery

What's not to love about adorable Jenna Bush Hager?
Remember her appearance on Ellen a few years ago when Ellen asked her to phone President Bush?

I saw a link to her daughter, Mila's nursery tour on via Facebook today and had to share it for those of you who hadn't seen it yet.

Three things struck me about this nursery. One, it's very nicely decorated---and I feel like I see SO many nurseries, celebrities included that are horrifying looking. Two, it's not too baby-fied, meaning that if you took away the crib and the photogs of baby animals, you could be in any other bedroom. And three, that despite her celebrity status and obvious familial wealth, the decor is very accessible.
It looks like something that we could all reasonably have.

I'm done with North West and her bazillion dollar crib.
I mean, let's get real here people!

Love this darling turquoise velvet glider. And truth be told, later on the swivel mechanism could be removed and it could meld seamlessly into her living room.

That brick wall is EVERYTHING. One of the many perks of living in a fabulous old building in NYC.

Love that all the art is so personal. Including this cat painted by GW.

Love the juxtaposition of the traditional mirror with the modern dresser.

So, if you wanted to achieve the look in Mila Hager's nursery, I've scouted a few key pieces with which to do so!

First of all, I love how they decided to go gender neutral with their nursery. Whether or not you decide to find out the gender of your unborn child, I think this is a great decision. Yes, if you're having a girl it can be tempting to make every last inch of the nursery pink, but what about your second child? I also think gender neutral nurseries tend to look less childish, which can get kitschy reaaaaalll quick if you're not careful.

Their soft blue paint color is absolutely gorgeous---she says in the article that she chose it because she was positive she was having a boy, but nowadays, I really think blue acts as a neutral and can work for either a baby boy or girl.

I love something with a bit more oomph---I think Jenna chose correctly since alot of the wall  space is claimed by that magical exposed brick, but for those of us who are not fortunate enough to live in an older building, I like the saturation of this color for a regular four wall room.

This chandelier from Shades of Light, which looks pretty similar to the one from Mila's nursery.

I think Mila's crib and dresser are from Dwell Studio, and as far as cribs go, they're decently priced.

The Harper Crib from Pottery Barn Baby, which is becoming one of my favorites (I may or may not have spotted it while innocently browsing through a PB Baby catalogue in line at my friendly neighborhood Pottery Barn.) is another fun, modern option, and I like the gender neutrality of white, especially if you plan on multiple children.

I will always vote for vintage when possible, and I love this option from CircaWho for the mirror above the dresser/changing table.

Love this shag rug from RugsUSA (definitely my favorite inexpensive rug source). I like the retro aspect of shag with the modernized design. Plus it would be oh so soft for a baby to roll around on.

If you were on a major budget, this glider off of Amazon certainly gets you the look.

To take it one step further---In comfort and function, you could try this pretty skirted version from Duralee fitted with a swivel glider mechanism.

Upholstered in this darling Bailey and Griffin toile. Which again, could later be a normal chair in your living room.

What do you think of Jenna Bush Hager's decor in Mila's nursery?
Are you a fan of gender neutral nurseries?

Why not break with tradition?

When September rolls around, I become acutely aware that the Holidays are right around the corner. Last year, Brian and I hosted our first Thanksgiving and invited his mom over for supper. With the wedding looming, I was trying to be as Paleo as possible, and so we tried something a little different. Full disclosure, neither Brian nor I are huge traditional Thanksgiving food fans to begin with, so we didn't mind parting with your typical stuffing, green bean casserole and turkey. Some of you might find that a bit more difficult. We had spoken often about our indifference to traditional Holiday fare, and how nice it might be to break with convention and serve up something unique. So we did a "Paleo Thanksgiving", though it really had more to do with throwing tradition to the wind, and less to do with dietary restrictions.

For my hors d'oeuvres , I did prosciutto wrapped melon ( a party favorite for any occasion) and smoked salmon and cucumber canapรฉs. As I was trying to keep dairy out of it, I used mustard, rather than the traditional cream cheese, creme fraiche, or goat cheese route to adhere the salmon to its cucumber vehicle.

For my starters, I did a sauteed pear salad and a Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Truffle Oil. (Word to the wise, any dish containing truffle oil is instantly impressive when entertaining----It's the food equivalent of an Hermes blanket.)

I got the sauteed pear salad recipe from Country Living in college and it has been a fall go to ever since.

The cauliflower soup is incredibly easy. Roast one head of cauliflower (cut up and drizzled with olive oil or coconut oil, salt and pepper), one whole head of garlic and one whole onion (both drizzled with olive oil and wrapped in foil) in the oven. Puree in batches with chicken broth to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into bowls and drizzle with truffle oil. That's IT.

For the main course we decided on beef tenderloin, which was so delicious and easy. I was glad that we decided not to fuss with a Turkey, especially on our first time to host Thanksgiving.
My advice is to find a recipe that seems best and simplest to you. Brian researched a bunch of them and settled on what worked for him.

Our sides included Mashed Sweet potatoes (with grass fed butter) , Haricot Verts (which I simply steamed) and roasted brussel sprouts (halved brussels, minced garlic, chopped pecans and olive oil, salt and pepper, roasted in the oven). 

Yes, that's rosรฉ in my insta-post. If you thought it was only for summer, you thought wrong.

I found that with the rich flavors of the soup, salad and tenderloin, it was best to keep the sides simple.

And a little glimpse at my table setting. I lucked out with the potted succulents---a good friend of ours got married the week before and these were her rehearsal dinner centerpieces. The advantage of an "in-town" wedding is that sometimes you get to take said centerpieces home.
The tablecloth was a $10 score from Home Goods, as were the napkins, which I believe are Ralph Lauren.

This year I don't want to completely repeat ourselves, so I'm thinking of going less Paleo and more gourmet. The tenderloin may make a reappearance since it was such a hit. I'm also DYING to use our new Anna Weatherley soup bowls.

And I'm kind of thinking this Butternut Lobster Bisque from the blog Savory Simple might be the perfect thing to serve in them.

image courtesy of savory simple

So, is breaking with tradition something you would dare to do?

Fall Favorites

I went back to Fredericksburg this past weekend for a dear friend's bachelorette party. Fall was definitely in the air and it was the first time since last April that it's been cool outside. It was glorious.
There was a crispness in the air that always signals the beginning of fall in Texas to me, and though we don't get the striking color changing leaves like other parts of the country, I'll take whatever sub-90 degree weather we can get.

It got me thinking about what I am most looking forward to about fall this year.

Any and all kinds of soup, really, but fall soups will be a staple in our house for the next few months. Butternut Squash soup is one of my favorite fall varieties.
I made this recipe on Sunday night and it was the perfect healthy and hearty start to the week.

We don't have a fireplace in our current house, but OH how I wish we did.
There's nothing more amazing than that first fall day where it's truly cold enough for a fire.
In Texas, it happens around mid-December, but whatever.

I can't get enough of pumpkin related foods during the fall, and these muffins are no exception.
My family makes this recipe , and it tastes relevant all the way past Christmas every year. You can also use it for bread, but I prefer to make it into muffins or even mini-muffins. 

It's been "the color of the fall season" for the last four years running or so, and I think it's here to stay. I've been DYING over this Coach bag---which is sort of an oxblood meets eggplant color.
You can see it in all its glory here.

Methinks it would go fabulously with a simple cranberry dress like this one from Antonio Melani. Classic, Reasonably priced and comfy! 

I'm coveting these Tory Burch riding boots to go with.

I'm thinking everyone needs to add a fur throw to their decor repertoire this season.

image via Lonny

A great way to "winterize" your rooms.

I love this version from Restoration Hardware. Well-priced and a variety of colors.
So so cozy.

What's your favorite thing about fall?

Dinner Last Night........Mushroom Pasta

This dinner wasn't actually last night, but a few people asked me for this recipe after I posted it on Instagram. @mackenziepages if you'd like to follow me!

This is what my family and I call "Mushroom Pasta".

My parents are vegan so they do it with whole wheat pasta.
It tastes great with white or wheat pasta, and I'm thinking about getting super ambitious and trying it with spaghetti squash.

What you'll need:

-3 packages of mushrooms (I use one package of shitake, one baby portabello, and one regular white mushroom)
-Garlic- at least two cloves, I LOVE garlic so I use 3 or 4
-olive oil
- green onion 
-truffle oil
-good parmesan cheese
-white or wheat pasta of your choice ( I like to use linguini)

What to do:

Slice and dice mushrooms into bite size pieces. I like to vary between slicing and quartering to give the sauce a good hearty texture. Heat a medium saucepan and add olive oil (probably about 2 tablespoons). Once olive oil is hot, add minced garlic cloves and sautee until fragrant. Add mushrooms and toss with olive oil and garlic. Cook until tender (adding olive oil as needed). Once mushrooms are basically cooked, add chopped green onions and parsley. Remove from heat after they have cooked slightly. Salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with truffle oil. Toss mushroom sauce with pasta and generously add parmesan. Serve hot!

Easy peasy and SOOOO delish!

Mid-Century Beauty

As you all know, I'm a sucker for a true mid-century house. I hope to own one of these beauties one day, and until then, there's no harm in shopping the listings. There's a realtor out of Dallas that sells exclusively mid-century marvels like this one and I love perusing his site for the creme de la creme of mid-century homes.

This one in Fort Worth sold recently, and it is such a stunner.

It's clearly had some work/been really well kept up.

Complete with gorgeous and I would imagine original terrazzo floors.

Love the 70's crystal chandelier and the Milo Baughman style chairs in the dining room.

And of course I'm into this room with the Barcelona style seating, and more Milo Baughman style furniture. And let's not forget the gorgeous Slim Aarons print.

The best thing about mid-century homes is the open feel. What's interesting is that open-concept is a must in new construction homes these days, and it was a constant in mid-century built homes. 
So ahead of it's time.

The kitchen is the one piece I'm not crazy about, but it mainly just needs to be updated while keeping with the style of the original house.

This bar is too legit to quit. Complete with that gorgeous brass foot rail.

How ridic is the wallpaper behind that bed? It would look oh so sexy with a fabulous upholstered headboard against it.

I'm assuming that a large portion of this tile is original to the house and it's so cool.
I know we all love white, white and more white these days, but isn't it fun to have a look that's a little outside the box?

And omg, this FREAKING TUB. Would Kelly Wearstler die over this or what?

I'm OBSESSED with this bathroom. Love the emerald color.

The outdoor spaces are just as stunning as the interior.

I have to say, for listing photos, these are pretty fabulous. I think if this were my home I'd try to achieve more of a mix of furniture styles instead of making absolutely everything mid-century, but all in all, it's pretty wonderful.

All images courtesy of

The Attainable Room

I love Pinterest as much as the next gal, but one of the most annoying things about it is the sometimes un-attainable nature of the beast. Yes, it's lovely to look at thousands of photographs of expensively decorated rooms, impossibly gourmet meals, and Martha Stewart on steroids crafts, but doesn't it put your own reality in rather harsh perspective?

The thing I try to remember is that a gorgeous look CAN be achieved on a decent enough budget.
And it doesn't have to look like you were scraping the bottom of the bargain bin.

Like with any fabulous look, the best one's are achieved with a careful mix of high and low.

So I thought it would be fun to recreate a version of the above gorgeous foyer (that I've repinned about 100 times).

This parlor from the Greenbrier is my color inspiration.

I'd start with painting the walls Benjamin Moore's All-A-Blaze.
A gorgeous pinky-coral.

I like how it has the bright aspect of the parlor, but a touch more pink.

BM All-A-Blaze 1304

Funnily enough, after I picked that color out of my paint deck and Googled it for a swatch, Designer and Blogger Erin Gate's recent office re-do popped up. It was the same color she used on her walls. It looks so fabulous in her room and I love how easily it would translate to a variety of rooms.

image courtesy of Elements of Style Blog

Let me tell you something about bright pink walls. My mother has had her formal living and dining room painted in a bright pink for YEARS and she gets NON-STOP compliments.

Here's her color, shown at a shower that Lauren of Pendleton Design and I held for our friend Elizabeth of Elizabeth Olliver a few years ago for her wedding.

I love the console in the House Beautiful picture, and ornate French consoles with marble tops are certainly easy to find. Some of you may even have them already, handed down from your mothers or grandmothers.

But I just couldn't help myself when I saw this elephant head console from Circa Who.

And how amazing would it look lacquered in Benjamin Moore's Picture Perfect?

BM Picture Perfect 743

The console is definitely a splurge at $2800.
A console would possibly be something you had, and certainly something you could find on the cheap.
The most important thing obviously, would be that it is fun, ornate and something with edge.

A small side chair is also something you might have already. With the overtly 1960's Palm Beach look of the console, I would want to go more traditional/Frenchy with the chair.

This one is from ebay and it's $293.25. Not a huge huge bargain, but you could definitely find a similar item for less if you had the patience.

A small chair in a show place like your entry is definitely the place to use that pricey fabric you've been coveting.

It's not a ridiculously expensive fabric, but it's out of my price range to do something more substantial.
I would have my upholsterer get rid of the tufted back and run the strip of floral down the center of the chair.

I love how it pulls out our two central colors.

For a mirror, I would want something fabulous and ornate.

Here's where we can really get into a cost study.

This pagoda style mirror from Circa Who is $2600. It would be my inspiration piece, and perhaps for the client who wanted to spend a bit more, it might be the ticket.

For the person who wanted to cut costs a bit, here's a similar version off of Etsy for $1650.
I'd probably take some metallic gold spray paint to it.

And for the person who was on much more of a budget, here's a third version off of Ebay for $450

For my chandelier, I'd turn to a 70's modern piece, like this Acrylic crystal piece. Off of Ebay for a bargain price of $99.99

For the accessories, I would turn to Etsy/Ebay or estate sales/flea markets.

I love these wall pedestals. To make them pop against the coral walls, I would probably brush on a dark wood stain.

They're a steal at $65 for the pair.

I have a ton of ginger jars left over from my rehearsal dinner, but I love these off of Etsy for the pedestals.

With all of the symmetry we have going on here, I actually like that they're different.

$45 for the pair

As a discovered when looking for my rehearsal dinner decor, blue and white porcelain is everywhere and you can find it fairly inexpensively. I would fill a large vase like this one with cherry blossom branches when guests came over.

And voila. Fun, Fabulous and most importantly, Attainable.

About Dinner Last Night........Penne with Creamy Tomato and Turkey Bolognese

At the age we are now, and mostly married, a lot of my girlfriends cook dinner for their husbands/families on a regular basis. Everyone ranges from being a total shortcut type cook to the girls that make everything, and I mean EVERYTHING from scratch.

Me? I fall somewhere right in between. I like to make my own salad dressings, and I prefer to use as many fresh ingredients as possible, while keeping the pre-prepared items to a minimum.

One area where I almost always take a short cut is marinara sauce.

I usually start out with an olive oil, minced garlic and onion base and sautee them and then add in my jarred sauce. This way, I feel like I've at least contributed some fresh ingredients.

At Trader Joe's on Monday, I stumbled across this Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce and couldn't resist. I was out of garlic, so I chopped red onion and basil and sauteed in olive oil, followed by ground turkey and garlic salt/pepper. 

I would usually use ground beef in my sauce, but I'm so glad I used turkey because it balanced out the richness of the sauce.

When all was said and done, I ladled the sauce over penne pasta and grated parmesan over the top.

It was sooooo delicious and totally quick and easy.

Wedding Wednesday......Honeymoon Spot in Belize

Even though I love/never get tired of hearing about weddings, I'm quite certain that some of you don't feel the same. So while I plan to keep doing regular Wedding Wednesday posts, I think we can broaden our horizons on the subject matter.

Today I'd like to talk about honeymoons.

Specifically, the destination that I think Brian and I are pretty much decided on. 

We decided to take a delayed honeymoon for a host of reasons, Work Schedules being the first and biggest reason, and also because, since Brian never and I mean NEVER takes time off from his two businesses, I really wanted to maximize every minute of our honeymoon, and I knew that we wouldn't be able to do so if we were exhausted from the wedding. And now knowing how physically and mentally drained I was on Sunday, April 13th, I am SO thankful that we decided to delay.

We still haven't nailed an exact date down---post-wedding laziness has gotten the best of us, but we think we'll be going sometime this fall.

We've gone back and forth on where exactly we wanted to go, with the following criteria playing into our decision:

1. Budget-While some of our friend's parents have been kind enough to send them all over the world, we're paying for this little trip ourselves. So, we had to pick something relatively economical.
  2.  I HAVE to go somewhere that the water is turquoise- Since my family owns a beach house on the
       Texas coast, we've usually taken vacations that were skiing related or to a city. I've been to Mexico
        twice, but I've never gotten a taste of that gorgeous Caribbean water.
 3. Brian didn't want to go anywhere too "commercialized"- read, no Starbucks, and as few hi-rise
     resorts as possible.
 4. We both wanted a place where we could explore the town- and unfortunately a lot of Caribbean
      destinations are not safe enough to leave the resort.

After looking at all our criteria, I took to the most obvious research tool: Facebook. I looked through several honeymoon albums of both acquaintances and friends and noticed that several people had gone to Ambergris Caye/San Pedro, which is an island right off of the coast of Belize.

After more research, I discovered that while a lot of people stay at Victoria House, which is still an option for us, I absolutely love the look and feel of the more secluded Matachica Resort & Spa

No matter if you stay in the most expensive room or the least, everyone gets their own private cottage.

View from one of the cottages. Yes PLEASE.

Does it not look SO idyllic? Reviews are fab too.

I'll keep ya'll posted on our plans!

About Dinner Last Night......One-Pan Crispy Chicken Legs & Brussels Sprouts

A coworker of mine and I used to discuss what we made for dinner the night before at least a few times a week. When you're busy, it's easy to give in to the temptation to just "call it in" but I found that talking about what I made for dinner the night before, and subsequently what I planned to make that night motivated me and made me excited to cook at home more often.

Since I no longer see that coworker everyday, I thought it would be fun to share what I'm cooking here.

Disclaimer: This is not a food blog, so I don't have exact measurements on things, unless I got the recipe from an actual cooking blog.

Last night I made One-Pan Crispy Chicken Legs & Brussels Sprouts

Today, you're in luck, as I got this recipe off of Pinterest, pinned from So Let's Hang Out blog. I chose this particular recipe for two reasons. One, we've been eating a TON of red meat lately and I felt like we needed a chicken situation and TWO, because it's low carb, and I was planning pasta for tonight.

Get the Full Recipe Here.

I modified the recipe by using bone-in chicken breasts with skin and drumsticks. I also added a coarsely chopped yellow onion. It roasted really nicely with the chicken and sprouts. I actually didn't add the grated parmesan at the end, not because I was trying to avoid it, but because I totally forgot. She was right, it was still so so yummy.

I served it with a classic caesar salad a la Martha.
Recipe here.

I skipped the croutons because well, I'm not a crouton fan. Blaspheme, I know.
By the way, if you're one of those caesar dressing in a bottle people, you haven't LIVED until you've 
made the dressing from scratch with the anchovies and raw egg. It's super easy, and even those non-adventurous foodies will love it.

Wedding Wednesday.......A Little Sneak Peek at OUR WEDDING!

photo by Taylor Lord

Since it's Wednesday and everything, I thought it would be appropriate to give you a little peek into our wedding, for those of you who aren't following me on Instagram. If you want to it's @mackenziepages
Our wedding hashtag was #theschwicklife

I can't wait to share our actual pictures from that day, taken by Taylor Lord. Taylor has long been my favorite wedding photographer and choosing her to shoot our day was a no brainer. The picture above is from the engagement photos we took in the early spring.

Funny story, my maiden name (and still my legal name technically as I'm delinquent on sending my forms in--eek!) was Schriber and my new last name is Zwick. So I tried to get all US Weekly on our selves and combine our names for our website/hashtag. Well, the day after the wedding a few of our friends who weren't paying attention/were deliriously hungover started calling me Mrs. Schwick. Haha. I guess I can go by both.

My friend Lauren of The Semi-Designed Life and Pendleton Design designed my logo for the wedding. We used it on just about everything, from our Save-The-Date to our welcome bags. Remember this post where I talked about the idea for this some 3 plus years ago? My sweet cousin Shelly even had decals made to go on the buses that ferried everyone to and fro.

We spent the day getting ready at the CUTEST house we rented and I gave all of the girls the caftans that you see me still wearing below. A word to the wise---If you're thinking about doing robes/caftans for your maids, go through Laughing Cherries. Very reasonable, easy to work with and the turned out so so cute!

This is my favorite picture EVER of my sweet besties Jackie and Morgan.

My AMAZING wedding planner, Melanie McKinley with Mayhar Design set up this gorgeous display of fruit and macaroons as a surprise for me. If you need a wedding planned and designed, give her a call. She is fabulous and I cannot sing her praises enough.

My sister Molly (far right in the black dress) was my maid of honor and then I had 12 house party attendants. Molly and I picked out her dress together at Saks---It's Teri Jon, and fun fact, remember that random lady that burst into song during her acceptance speech at the Oscars this year? She wore the same thing! and I had the house party girls pick sparkly dresses of their choosing, in gold, silver, blush, champagne.

 Sprout flowers in Fredericksburg made these amazing Lavender and Herb Bouquets for them.
Michelle of Sprout is the most incredible florist. I was head over heels for EVERYTHING she did.

My shoes and fabulous bouquet from Sprout.

Photo by Mayhar Design

About three days before the wedding we decided to switch gears and get a bigger tent (originally our tent was just going to house the dance floor) so that we could have more/better options in case of rain.
We ended up getting a Sperry Tent from Whim Event Rentals and it looked so amazing. Better than I could have ever imagined. We strung up festoon lights inside it and it just looked so so magical.

Here's the inside while they were setting everything up.

Melanie from Mayhar Design made these gorgeous boards for our escort cards. They turned out so perfectly. Emily Norman Calligraphy did the fabulous calligraphy!

Pretty much the entire time we were planning the wedding I kept insisting that I wanted our long head table to straddle this walkway leading up to the Lavender Haus at Becker. It was specifically beacuse I wanted this picture. This gorgeous ambience of having this beautiful Hill Country house in the background. It turned out even better than I imagined.

Photos by Mayhar Design and Sprout via Instagram

The chairs decorated for the Bride and Groom.

We did a wine pairing dinner catered by Royal Fig---Again cannot sing their praises enough---the food was wonderful and they did such a fabulous job.

Oh, and much to the chagrin of our more cynical friends, our corgis were actually in the wedding.
I loved every second of it. As you can see they were suuppperr bummed about all the attention they got.

It was a magical night that is still such a blur. I can't believe that after all the planning and toiling, that it's over. It was so special to have family and friends travel from all corners of the globe to be there with us. I have never felt more love in one place.

And for now, I'll leave you with my favorite photo from the night thus far, taken by Dan Joyce, my dear friend Sarah's husband. (Fun Fact: I introduced them in 2006 and they got married three weeks before us!) 

Daniel is an amazing photographer---check him out on Instagram @danjoyce

A Pop of Red

Our wedding was absolutely fabulous.
I couldn't have asked for a better time to be had by all, more wonderful California-esque weather and a more overwhelming feeling of love and support from our friends and family.

But for now, I'm going to take a break from wedding talk, mainly because I think the afformentioned friends and family are going to stop taking my calls if I mention one more thing about our wedding.

So instead let's talk about babies.

Haha, just kidding, kind of. Breath everyone. (Especially Mom and Brian)
We're not near the baby train yet, and we're not even looping around the baby train station. 
I'd say we're a good 3 to 5 years out. In case you were wondering.

However, I am a planner. For better for worse.
I think I've discussed before that I really consider what I want in our next house before making even the tiniest decision in our current house. It just makes good sense, since I know we won't be there forever. I know not to make any decisions that are too permanent, and too akin to this particular house.

It all started when I saw these two sets of sheets at Home Goods. For some reason I was so drawn to them. I couldn't help thinking how chic and happy these crisp red and white sheets were.

The funny thing is, I am SO not a red person normally. Sure, I like the odd red dress, and I have a few pairs of red pumps and I definitely swath on some crimson lipstick from time to time, but I normally completely avoid the powerful color in my decor. I'm usually drawn to softer colors.

But I haven't been able to get these happy little sheets out of my mind.

New York based design team Tilton Fenwick recently launched a fabric line for Duralee and it is TO DIE FOR.

When I was looking through their new collection, I was surprised to be drawn to yet another red fabric.

And I think it would make the cutest little lumbar pillow in this chair in our guest room that I've planned to recover forever.

Which led me to thinking about the fabric I'd want use on the actual chair.

And I just love this coordinating Tilton Fenwick option

I love how both of these fabrics, along with the sheets tie into the vintage light fixure that I already have in the guest room.

This is an old picture (taken with an old iPhone) but it's a cream drum shade with cherry red and navy piping.

It's all kind of a fun French Country look.

I've been scheming about this for the last few weeks and have even decided to attempt a diy project of adding red and white pom pom trim to some pre-made drapery. 

And lacquering the white dresser in our current master red.

Like this.

A little inspiration if you will.

And then I remembered something.

You see, In our next house (which I'm hoping will have three bedrooms) I'm planning to use the furniture in our current master as the guest room, and our current guest room furniture in guest room number two. I'm also planning on making our current den into our living room (which is why I decorated it to be a bit more formal than your typical den.) This way, theoretically, I'll only have to start from scratch on our Master Bedroom and the den.

Eventually when it comes time for babies, Guest Room # 2 will morph into the nursery. 

And wouldn't it be just perfect that my new little scheme fits perfectly with the wallpaper I've wanted forever in my nursery?

Which, coincidentally has grey in the background the exact shade of the Pom Pom Duvet and Shams that is in our current guest room. 

Full circle people. And meant to be.

Pardon my French

Sometimes I like to admit the most blasphemous things about myself that I can, just to make sure y'all are still paying attention.

PARIS is not my favorite European city.

There, I said it.

And I hate Dave Matthews Band, which I've said before and I'll say again.

Don't get me wrong, I did love Paris, but it doesn't take the cake for me.
I took a lot of trips during my study abroad in Florence and you know what trip to France really stood our for me? The one that I took with my friend Morgan to the Southern countryside. 

It was absolutely magical. We hit Nice, Aix en Provence and St. Raphael in a matter of days.
I loved every second.

With Pinterest, the blog world and every shelter publication trying to showcase the next big and best thing, it's easy to get bogged down by wanting too add too MUCH of everything to your home, wedding, entertaining repertoire, life, etc.  I often think of the South of France when wanting to get back to the root of what I love most design wise.

 The beautiful simplicity of the French countryside.

It is full of this effortless charm.
Food, Fashion, Interiors, Architecture, even nature.

Like the Lavender Fields. Which, god willing will be in bloom in at Becker for my wedding this April.

 I love incorporating elements of simplistic French design into my home and as of late, into my wedding.

For instance: 

I purchased about a zillion and one of these bottles for water at the wedding.

I actually poached the idea from one of my favorite Houston haunts, Tiny Boxwoods

 I am super obsessed with these French Monogram pillows that I found on Etsy. Customizable with different letters and colors. Be still my heart.

And will someone please send me a couple Laduree macaroon towers? They are so fabulous looking. And I'm sure they're equally delicious.

I'm not sure that the trend of smoking loafers necessarily came from the French, but I've been wearing these leopard Via Spiga versions non-stop since I got them. Usually with skinny black pants.

I'm also pretty sure that I need the heeled version. Obviously.

I've also been trying my hand at traditional French cooking.
If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I've been dabbling in Paleo.
Partially as a wedding diet thing and partially because the research I've done on it is astounding and I will never look at grains in the same way again.

I've gotten some great Paleo recipes on Pinterest, but I've gotten the best ideas from the Paleo people I follow on Instagram.

Once account in particular  @mangiapaleo has fabulous ideas/recipes and she just started a new food blog.

She inspired me to try the Paleo version of Beef Bourguignon. I modified Barefoot Contessa's recipe, which was super easy. I just used Grass-Fed Butter and Beef instead of regular and used almond flour in place of the all-purpose. It was sooooo delicious.

Does any exotic locale inspire your lifestyle?

Wedding Wednesday.....Rehearsal Dinner Decor

I'm not going to lie, there are times when I hold out on ya'll.

Especially with the wedding, I don't always want to just give away the whole farm. Which is super difficult when blogging, because obviously full disclosure is key.

I've thought about keeping my rehearsal dinner inspiration a secret, but I've decided to share it with you. Now, don't you feel super special?

We're having our rehearsal dinner at the Admiral Nimitz Museum in downtown Fredericksburg.
It will be in their courtyard, which is simple and beautiful.

Our meal will be BBQ---standard fare for rehearsal dinners, but the place is actually really delish.
This next statement may offend some, but although I was born and raised in Texas, I'm not super into "Texas-y" decor.

I know the whole mason jar thing is super popular right now, but I'm not into it.

GASP. I know. I don't like Dave Matthews either, while I'm revealing blasphemous secrets.
There, I said it.

Anyway, the least offensive choice for dinnerware from our caterer is blue and white speckled melamine. Popular for Texas-y and Homestyle type restaurants. And I actually think they're pretty cute.

After we agreed on that with the caterer, I thought, now what on god's green earth do I do with the decor?

And then it came to me.

Blue and white porcelain.
Tons of it. 
In all of it's traditional, asian, retro glory.

Some inspiration if you will.

If the wedding gods were smiling on me, I'd find some huge blue and white pots for orange trees.
I'm obsessed with the thought/concept of orange trees.
I just love them.

We will also be repurposing some of the white orchids that will be used the next day at the wedding in blue and white planters.

I've gone all over (flea market, antique shops, etc) looking for blue and white porcelain, and I've actually found some pretty great deals so far.

I'm still undecided on napkins, but I'm thinking alternating bright orange and pink linen ones.

Wish I could get super intense and have them all monogrammed, but we're having a HUGE rehearsal dinner and I'm not a gazillionare.

images via Pinterest

It's a nice thought though.


Tree Time......The Beverly Hills Hotel

Does Christmas seem like it's coming really early this year?
Not that I'm complaining, I started listening to my Christmas music in July. Per usual.

I'm helping my boss do Christmas decorating for clients for the next few weeks and it's gotten me to thinking about my own Christmas.

I've been wanting to do something a little different for a while now. Something with a twist.
Candidly, I want a pink tree. I think we discussed that a couple years ago.

But I've put it off because I know that the best time to purchase a new fake tree is immediately following Christmas when they go on sale. So, I'm trying to think of something fun I can do with my existing green tree.

And today I thought, What about a Beverly Hills Hotel inspired tree?

You know, something fun, something retro, and something that conjurs feelings of warmer temps?

God that hotel is fabulous.

So, starting with my typical green Christmas tree with white lights.

via Etsy

I'd add some green and white striped ribbon.

via Etsy

And a collection of pink and emerald green vintage balls.

via Etsy

And several vintage ornaments in different shades of pink.

Last year I used the Trina Turk fabric scraps from my dining chairs for my tree skirt and it worked famously. I think it might be fun to add some Brazilliance fabric for the skirt. I'm pretty sure that the Beverly Hills Hotel is emblazoned with Martinique Banana Leaf, but I like Dorothy Draper's Brazilliance much better. And this is my tree, so let me worry about historical accuracy. 

I might also order some of these fabulous pillows from a vendor on Etsy. To keep up for Christmas. Or all year-round. Whatever works. Isn't it a charming coincidence that the sofa these pillows are shown on is the same color as mine? Hmmm....