Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Time for some real talk, ladies and gents...this week has been and will, I suspect, continue to be insane.  We're only a few days away from opening the shop and there's just so much going on I don't quite know what to do with myself.  I've got a bit to catch up on blog-wise (I know...this isn't news to you) but I wanted to check in and let you know I won't be neglecting you for much longer.  As soon as I get my head on straight we'll get back to our regularly scheduled editorial calendar.  As for tonight, I hope everyone is planning on dressing up for Halloween!  I didn't have time to go out and buy a costume this year but I did realize just how many DIY possibilities are sitting in my closet this very moment...among them: Lady Mary, the sugarplum fairy, Carrie Bradshaw, Jess Day, Betty Draper, An Olsen Twin, Jackie O, Lara Croft, and many more.  I'm not sure who's identity to assume for the night, but I'd love to hear what you have planned.  Do tell!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All Set: Harvest Hues

One of our seasonal series is making an appearance today which is always a good time, believe you me.  This particular All Set was orchestrated entirely by my angel mother because 1) she has such a wealth of great ideas, and 2) I think she's concerned about my general well being in regards to how many hours we've been putting in at the shop lately (it's crunch time, folks).  I always know I can count on her to come up with something amazing, especially when I need her help.  As per usual, she sure did come through.  I just love her eye for color and how she can make even the subdued colors of fall look alive.  This is the current set up in her breakfast sharp looking, right?

Monday, October 29, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012

Working For The Weekend

I can't tell you how relieved I am to not have to dance around shop news anymore.  It's fabulous.  To that end, we're having a family and friends work day this Saturday that I'm so pumped about.  By the time we're done I doubt I'll recognize the place!  It won't exactly be the restful weekend we're all dreaming of but I think it might actually be better...and if not better, certainly more productive.  Thanks in advance to everyone who's signed up to help.  It's no secret that I think the people in my life are the best in the world and here they go proving me right again.  Enjoy the links, everyone!  See you Monday!

Want, want, want...

Never heard of most of these but I'd love to try them!

On my immediate To Buy list....

Mmm...sounds good...

If you don't laugh at these pictures, you're probably dead inside.

Weird but cool.

If at any point I knew this existed, I forgot.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Foodie Files

When I get stressed out, I eat baked macaroni and cheese.  It's just a fact of life.  If you read all about my big news this past Monday, you can imagine how much I've been craving baked mac and cheese over the last few weeks (hint: it's a lot).  Now, I may not have total control over my stress level or cravings but what I do have is the ability to try a healthier version of this tasty treat.  Then at least I don't have to feel stressed and guilty about constantly eating something so unhealthy and a little bit ill from overindulging.  Instead of macaroni I gave good 'ol quinoa a may have seen a similar recipe floating around Pinterest.  It was delicious, but definitely more of a side dish than a main course.  I mean, I guess in theory mac and cheese is too, but not in the amount I usually eat it.  So the verdict is this: tasty?...yes, mac and cheese?...obviously not.  It's very good in it's own right but not a substitute for the real thing.  With properly managed expectations and the right amount of salt (mine needed just slightly more), however, I think you'll really enjoy it.

1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs for topping
Salt to taste

Cook quinoa to packaged instructions until fully cooked (about 15 minutes).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat 13x9 inch dish with cooking spray.

Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl.  Fold in quinoa mixture and 1 1/2 cups cheese.  Salt to taste.

 Stir very well and transfer to prepared baking dish.  Top with remaining cheese and Panko bread crumbs.

Bake for 35 minutes or until bread crumbs are browned.  Serve warm (oh and just between me and you, the corners are the best part).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

For reasons I'm not entirely sure of, this outfit makes me think of Princess Kate (which obviously means I'm obsessed with it).  The sweater and coat are my favorite pieces...I'd wear the living daylights out of them this fall!  The plaid scarf is a fun touch, too.  It's just all reeks of autumn to me and I love that.

1. Raya Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans, Net-A-Porter $240  2. Merino Wool Fox Sweater, Mr. Porter $215  3. Precious Square Earrings, Whistles $26.39  4. Marbled Acetate Sunglasses, Net-A-Porter $375  5. Mid Length Trench Coat, Burberry Brit $1,195  6. Organic Bangle Set, French Connection $14.07  7. Red Plaid Cashmere Scarf, Kennon & Co. $44.95  8. Chanel Vintage Red Quilted Lambskin Bag, Portero Luxury $899  9. Leather Ballet Flats, Net-A-Porter $545
Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Get It Together: Terra Firma

1. Winthrop Throw, Home Decorators Club $59  2. Rablabs Green Agate Picture Frame, Gramercy & Co. $55  3. Santal 26 Candle, Le Labo $70  4. Milas Copper Tray, Grandin Road $149  5. Nubby Knit Pillow Cover, Serena & Lily $64  6. Gordon Tufted Chair, Home Decorators Club $589  7.  Johannes Andersen Rosewood Serving Cart, Orange & Brown £795  8. Vintage Bottle Lamp, Jayson Home $350

Heavy Knit Heaven

As previously discussed, cold is my arch when I saw this incredibly heavy knit blanket in Anthropologie my heart skipped a beat.  Now all I can think of is 1) buying this little treasure and 2) carrying it around with me everywhere 'til spring.  Neither one is a practical choice but practicality isn't always my cup of tea.  I figured while I'm enraptured I might as well round up a few other heavy knit items that caught my eye.  Don't you feel warmer just looking at them?

1. Heavy Knit Sweater, Maison Martin Margiela $782.51  2. Cabled Throw, Anthropologie $228  3. Heavy Knit Hat, Luis Aviaroma  4. Holden Brown Pillow, Crate & Barrel $69.95
Monday, October 22, 2012


Life is so crazy, isn't it?  One day it's this, the next day there's an opportunity for it to be something completely different.  On Thursday you're 100% single, come Friday there's someone you just might be interested in.  A moment ago you were unemployed, one phone call later and you're hired.  Life goes in one direction...'til it doesn't anymore.  While sometimes the change is startling and now and then it's downright tragic...occasionally it's exactly what you've been hoping and praying for.  That's where I feel like I'm at today.  

Which brings me to my big news.  Here goes...come November 5th Design Muse is opening a brick and mortar location.  We'll be right in Nashville, less than ten minutes from downtown.  Can you even believe that? 

I've wanted to take Design Muse to the next level for a long time but I honestly wasn't sure what the logistics of that could possibly look like.  When a sudden opportunity came to open an office in a portion of my cousin Nikki's unbelievably amazing, soon-to-be-opened salon and spa...well...I knew it was my chance.  So that's exactly what I'm going to do.  The office itself will function as a place to meet with home, event and wardrobe styling clients and will double as a small showroom.  Eventually (though hopefully sooner than later) I'm hoping to curate a small, shop-able boutique area in there as well.  The whole thing is ambitious and risky and maybe a little bit crazy but, lets be honest, when's the last time something worth doing was easy?

We've been working non-stop on renovations to the building since we signed the papers at the end of September.  I'm so thrilled with how it's all coming together (as you can imagine, I'll have quite the before and after post for you to check out in a few weeks).  I'll share more about exactly what our service guide is going to look like in the coming weeks, but I just couldn't wait any longer to say how thrilled I am about everything that's developing.  I'm finally gonna get the chance to meet you guys!  Get in your home, style your party, help you navigate your closet.  Freaking out doesn't begin to describe what I'm feeling right now (both freaking out excited and freaking out terrified, to be honest).  More than anything, though, I'm just terribly grateful...for this opportunity, for my amazing parents who are working as our business partners, for my perfect brother who's already logged in a billion hours of moving boxes and painting walls and showing up to make sure Craigslist deals don't end with one of us being abducted, and for every other family member (by blood or by choice) who's chipped in to help.  Every single one of them has been a Godsend.  So that's my news!  Any comments, questions or concerns?  So pumped to hear what you guys think!    

Design Musings

Friday, October 19, 2012

Working For The Weekend

I'm just beside myself with gratitude this week.  Honestly.  Of the many things I'm feeling thankful for, there's two that just begged to be shared.  1) My brother's band, Dinner and a Suit, broke into the top 100 on iTunes last night!  Last I checked their song, Where We Started, was sitting pretty at #74 on the pop charts.  Is that not amazing?  I mean, to some extent it's not surprising because they're unbelievable, but seriously!  I'm so proud I could explode and I know this is just the beginning for's a really surreal feeling.  2) After weeks of hinting about it, I can finally tell you my big surprise this Monday!  I know, you thought I made it up didn't you?  Well it's real.  And awesome.  And I can hardly wait to hear what you think about it.  Have the best weekend and enjoy the links!

This sounds delicious!

Pretty neat.

One of my favorite free events in Nashville...

I know I'm not the only one who had (okay, has) a rock collection...

Trying it.

Why do I think this is so fun?

Mark your calendars!

Really adorable idea.
Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Foodie Files

So here's the moral of the story from today's Foodie Files...always, always read the entire recipe before you start.  Every word.  Always.  While the Tiramisu Cupcakes I tackled today were delicious and well received, the process of making them probably took a year off of my life. can't believe how involved these bad boys were.  Had I known I probably would've jumped ship before I got so far in.  That being said, if you have low blood pressure and a couple hours to spare, then by all means give this recipe a-go!  The resulting treats are crazy good.  But don't say I didn't warn you... 

For Cupcakes....
1¼ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ cup milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
3 whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar

For Coffee Syrup...
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
3 tsp Bailey's Irish Cream
¼ cup granulated sugar

For Mascarpone Frosting...
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Mix cake flour, baking powder, and salt.  Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in butter until melted and let stand 15 minutes.  Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.  With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. 

Transfer mixture to a double boiler and heat over a pan of simmering water.  Whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes.  Remove bowl from heat.  With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.

Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir ½ cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Stir together coffee, Bailey's, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.  Brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used.  Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid for 30 minutes.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy).  In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.  To finish, Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust with cocoa powder just before serving.

(Serves me right for thinking an Aunt Martha recipe might be simple...she's just too amazing...)

A Fall Playlist For Your Listening Pleasure

While I'd love to say that I listen to the coolest music in the world, it's a charade I don't have the energy for.  I listen to the music I like which can pretty much be broken down into two simple groups: songs I've adored for most of my life and music I secretly Shazam-ed while riding in my brother's car (speaking of my brother and music, make sure you tune in to Jersey Shore tonight- I know, I can't believe I said that either- to hear his band Dinner and a Suit).  I do, however, make a mean seasonal playlist.  In fact, the Holiday Playlist I posted last year may or may not be one of my favorite Design Muse moments.  For whatever reason, Autumn calls for mellow music in my book so here's what I've had on repeat:

Pretty background, huh?  Good news, you can buy it here!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

I love a good trapeze sweater.  Sure, they won't highlight every bit of your figure but they're cool and comfortable and some days that just has to do.  What do you think?  Definite yes or not flattering?  (Side note: are these wood accents killer or what?)

1.  Coated Low Rise Jeans, Current.Elliott $220  2. Cashmere Trapeze Sweater, Rick Owens $1,530  3. Noetic Holiday Danglers, Anthropologie $98  4. Multi Spike Bracelet, Kenneth Jay Lane $87.95  5. Oasis Gold Bracelet, ASOS $61.57  6. Wood Clutch, French Connection  7. Platform Wedges, Lulus $48
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Get It Together: Red Cross

1. Brown Leather Photo Frame, Shipton & Heneage $129  2. Red Cross Rug, Jonathan Adler $595  3. Industrial Steel Drum Pendant Fixture, Project Decor $421  4. Noir Leather Chair Half Aluminum, Zinc Door $1,720  5. Herringbone Travel Throw, One Kings Lane  6. Marina Votives, Jayson Home $12
Monday, October 15, 2012
Friday, October 12, 2012

Working For The Weekend

Well, I'm sitting at my brother's house at the moment due to some rather irritating internet outages at my place.  Silver lining: my brother is my favorite human on the planet and just made me a Cuban coffee.  Life could definitely be worse.  I've got a bit of fall fun up my sleeve this weekend including but not limited to a pumpkin carving contest I'm determined to win.  I haven't decided on what to carve yet but if you have any suggestions let me know.  Have a thrilling weekend and enjoy the links!

I'm doing this with some of my Nonnie's recipes for sure!

Interesting, Today Health...very interesting....

So who wants to accompany me to all this stuff?

What a neat gift!

Does this sound good?  I don't know why but I can't decide.
Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Foodie Files

From October through...I don't know...March, maybe...pretty much all I want in life is soup.  I crave it nearly every day.  Inexplicably, I only have about five soups in my rotation (Italian Wedding Soup, Moroccan Lentil SoupCauliflower soup, French Onion Soup, and your basic chicken and veggie panacea).  Needless to say, I think it's time to branch out.  I was in a mood yesterday that I want to label as creative, but was realistically closer to scattered and thus this different-from-anything-I've-ever-made soup was born.  Honestly, I just starting putting nonsense in my shopping cart and hoping for the best...sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.  Thankfully this time it did.  Hope you enjoy it!


1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
1 lb ground sausage
1 quart chicken broth
1 quart water
1 lemon, juiced
1 heaping cup chopped asparagus
1 heaping cup chopped artichoke hearts
10 oz tortellini
1 head rainbow swiss chard
Locatelli cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Allow shallots to simmer in oil for about three minutes, then add sausage and brown.  Drain the fat and add broth, water and lemon juice.

Add asparagus and artichoke hearts and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Add tortellini and rainbow swiss chard and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes.  

Sprinkle with Locatelli cheese and serve.  The swiss chard gave the broth an unexpected pink color so it's tasty and quite pretty.  Not bad for a shot in the dark!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

I'm pouring through my closet today for a few reasons.  Reason 1: it's looking a little out of control... Reason 2: I'm going to a clothing swap tomorrow night...and Reason 3: I'm all about the monochromatic look this season and I'm gonna need my full arsenal to pull it off (on a related note, how much do you love this army green getup?).  Frustrating as a closet audit can be, it's such a necessary evil!  I'm re-discovering all kinds of pieces I forgot about and making room for what I actually wear.  It's so refreshing.  Now, wish me luck cause I'm knee deep in tutus (what a phase that was).

1. Knitted Honeycomb Jumper, Topshop $84  2. Cosmic Leather Pumps, Jimmy Choo $695  3. Cat Eye Sunglasses, ASOS $21.11  4. Tiny Triangle Studs, Etsy $45  5. Snake Bar Purse, ASOS $15.38  6. Khaki Textured Skirt, Topshop $45
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Get It Together: Autumn Chill

1. Wing Armchair, Schots Home Emporium $1,345  2. Adeline Chandelier, Layla Grayce $1,656  3. American Mills Fox Pillow, Walmart $21.53  4. Whiskey Stones, The Handpicked Collection £9.95  5. Kona Wood Coasters, Bed Bath & Beyond $9.95  6. Alpaca Plaid Blanket, Lands' End $209  7. Frisco San Juan Grey Rug, Zinc Door $966
Monday, October 8, 2012
Friday, October 5, 2012

Working For The Weekend

Oh, sweet weekend...I'm so thankful you're back.  It's been one of those weeks where, for every item I cross off my To Do list, I have to add three more.  You've been there, you know what I'm talking about.  While the majority of the things I need to accomplish are work-related, there are a few recreational activities that I'm hell bent on checking off said list.  Case in point, if someone doesn't take me apple picking soon, there will be consequences.  You don't mess around with fall fun.  Enjoy every bit of wonderfulness this weekend has to offer!  And the links!  See you Monday!

Hey!  I know those guys!

I just...I don't even...I have no words (insert the biggest smile ever).

Halloween prep...

Passive agressive innovation.  I like it.


So adorable I want to scream.


Kind of brilliant.

These pictures!

Love those Matchbook Girls...
Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Foodie Files

Since life has been so crazy busy lately for a million wonderful reasons, my Mom went ahead and took charge of this week's Foodie Files.  I've said it before and I'll say it again; her cooking is pretty much my favorite in the world...sharing her recipes is always a treat for me.  This particular creation of hers is quite out of the box with wonderfully fall appropriate ingredients.  She's got a real gift for flavor fact, try this recipe and see for yourself!

1/4 cup of olive oil
2 TBS of butter
2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 small onion, diced
3-4 figs, halved
1/4 cup of crushed almonds (I put mine in a sandwich bag and smacked them with a big spoon)
2 overflowing cups of shredded brussel sprouts

Heat olive oil and add butter.  When butter is done foaming, add garlic, onion and figs. Sauté on medium for about 4 minutes.  Add almonds and sauté for about 3 minutes.  Add brussle sprouts and sauté for an additional 5-6 minutes.  Don't over cook, it tastes great with a little crunch.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

Good heavens, I'm posting late today!  Sorry about that ladies and gents.  Other things I'm sorry about: that I still haven't been able to tell you my big news (I thought I'd be able to by now!  I promise it won't be too anticlimactic...) and that I don't own this dress.  It's simple but phenomenal...the best dresses always are.    

1. Textured Wool and Silk Coat, Roland Mouret $2,915  2. Draped Silk Dress, Haider Ackermann $3,075  3. Vela Clutch, Anthropologie  4. Swarovski Earrings, Net-A-Porter $394  5. Fontanne Iridescent Pumps, Brian Atwood $350
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Get It Together: Too Cool For School

1. Bronze Edison Pendant Light, Lowes $118  2. United States Chalkboard Map, Terrain $168  3. Vintage Portrait Painting, Etsy $60  4. Caney Ivory Pillow, Crate & Barrel $69.95  5. Copper Real Good Chair, Blu Dot $229  6. Black and White Rug, Jonathan Adler $145  7. Iron Circle Clock, CB2 $99.95
Monday, October 1, 2012

Check Me Out On Natalie Dressed!

I'm guest posting over at Natalie Dressed today and super pumped about it!  Meeting Natalie (and Lauren and Sheri Ann) was one of the highlights of my Lucky Fabb experience, so I was absolutely honored when she asked me to be a part of her Love Who You Are series.  Jump over there and check it out when you get a few minutes (and make sure you peruse the rest of her blog...her style is to die for).

Design Musings