Today, we’re rounding out the Summer Essentials series with a focus on what’s probably the most visible room in your home: the living room. Check out my favorites!
It’s so interesting how your spending habits can change the instant that your husband has full transparency of your finances upon the creation of a joint bank account. In the years before joint checking, I’d buy whatever my heart desired, whenever my heart desired it. Clothes, shoes, home décor, you name it. If it was on sale and cute, it was mine in approximately 3-5 business days. I was a bit reckless. Oops.
Now, things are different. I’ve done a little growing up, I’ve become infinitesimally more responsible, and I respect that I can’t be careless with our money like I could be with mine. But mostly, I feel like Skyler won’t consider a brand-new jewel-toned velvet sofa as crucial of a purchase as I do, and if he came home to that beautiful, soft, wonderful, perfect little sofa in our living room, he would not be as thrilled as I’d like him to be. So, as we have begun to navigate this aspect of married life together, we’ve been handling all non-essential purchases as joint decisions.
Enter: Skyler’s new set of golf clubs, and a set budget for me to spruce up the interior of our home in any (reasonable) way I’d like.
The crazed frenzy of spring cleaning is, for me, not something that happens just once a year. Instead, I’m almost constantly reimagining the spaces in our home. What can we donate, repurpose or sell? How can we organize this? Should we rearrange the furniture? How can we spruce up this room? I am always looking at our home through a lens of opportunity. How can I make this space even better than it already is?
So, in the spirit of falling in love with your home all over again this summer, I’ve rounded up my top 10 must-have items to spruce up every room in your house, all under $50. Today, let’s talk about the kitchen!
In the heat of summertime, I tend to gravitate towards fruit in one way or another, so if you ask me what my ideal summer dessert would be – hands down – it would be this No Bake Summer Berry Cake.
Another weekend, another picnic. This time, the theme was #teambonding. My boss wanted to gather our team together to celebrate the success of our Global Leadership Conference, and to rally the troops before we head into the madness of the holiday season. Again, I found myself in the midst of a what should I make dilemma. So, I turned to Pinterest.
I scrolled, scrolled, scrolled through the pages of appropriate side dishes, and nothing caught my eye. I had almost decided on an easy plate of crudités when a delicious looking crescent roll kind of thing appeared on my screen. I took a quick glance at the necessary ingredients and darted off to the grocery store.
As soon as I got home, I quickly started assembling the crescent roll things – I’m still not sure what to call them – getting excited at the simplicity of it all. To me, each ingredient was as simple as a letter. But letters, when assembled correctly, create words and words create stories and the possibilities are truly endless.
15 short minutes later, my things were done and my mouth was watering. Crispy golden crescent rolls swaddled slices of honey-baked ham, bright green spinach and creamy garlic and herb cheese. I popped one into my mouth, threw the rest into a container and made my way to the picnic.
My crescent roll things, along with my boss’ ribs and my coworker’s homemade macarons, were fingerlickin’ good. Almost as good as the team bonding. Flong, anyone? (Special shoutout to our team mascot: Vinnie Lambo.)
Directions: Preheat oven to 400˚. Grease baking sheet. Spread cheese on unrolled, uncooked crescent roll. Layer ham and spinach. Roll crescent roll, and place on baking sheet. Continue until you’ve assembled all of the crescent rolls. Bake for 12 minutes, and enjoy.
As summer slowly creeps to an end, I find myself on the receiving end of an increasing number of picnic invitations. And, as a good and thoughtful guest, I start thinking about what kind of dish I can contribute. It’s a tricky thing, picnic foods. Should I choose a hot plate, or something cold? Homemade (always) or store-bought (never)? Sweet or salty? Will 7 other people bring the same thing? It’s really way more difficult than it should be.
So, a few weeks ago, I decided that my contribution to a friendly game night would be a pasta salad. A safe choice, but something I knew I could have a little fun with. I hopped in the car, no recipe in mind, and headed to the grocery store. Before I could even realize it, I found myself mindlessly throwing myriad produce into my basket. Onions, sure. Peppers, definitely. Cherry tomatoes, why not. Cucumbers, heck yeah. Fresh mozzarella, absolutely. Some salami, alright.
Then came the dressing. Creamy or not? I threw open the door of my refrigerator and stared into its bleak contents. I didn’t have any salad dressing that could acceptably pass as a pasta salad dressing. I only had mayonnaise. Ding! Mayonnaise was all I needed. A little bit of Trader Joe’s organic mayo, some white vinegar and a sprinkle of Italian spices. Voila. The creamy Italian flavor perfectly complemented the mozzarella and salami.
Game night (and my pasta salad) turned out to be a huge success. A lovely gathering of wonderful friends – and pretty decent food – simply can’t be beat. Not to mention, Chinese lanterns and sparklers make any occasion a special one.
Ingredients: cooked tortellini, whatever the heck else you want
Directions: Mix together, enjoy. Simple as that.
Festival fashion has been on the tip of every fashionista’s tongue this summer. I’m obviously a little late to the party, but tonight’s Mumford & Sons concert has put me in the spirit! Check out some of the best looks for the music-lover in you.
PS: Take a peek at my favorite Mumford & Sons music video.