Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy Friday, everyone! AND It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! What is everyone doing this weekend to celebrate? Whether you’re Irish, or just pretending to be, it’s a great excuse to get festive and have some fun with the color green…
An absolutely ideal St. Patty’s weekend in D.C. for me would include all of the following:

Place to go:
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday March 16th:
No better way to immerse yourself in Irish culture than to see the 43rd annual St. Patrick’s Day parade down on Constitution Ave. National flags, bagpipes, and grown men dressed as leprechauns will get you into the spirit! Not to mention the dancers from Culkin School of Irish Dance dressed up in their feis best J More info here: http://dcstpatsparade.com/
Love a good centerpiece:

 (Photo Credit to Pinterest)

What to eat:

I think it’s safe to say Irish food is not necessarily the most popular cuisine but I found this beef stew recipe on Pinterest that looks delish!
Beef Stew
4 to 5 pound blade beef roast

Cut the roast into large chunks about 1 ½ inches in size. Salt and pepper the raw meat to season. Toss the beef chunks in regular flour to coat.

In a large heavy bottomed skillet heat

4 tbsp canola oil

Brown the beef chunks on all sides, working in small batches so as not to crowd your pan. When all the beef is browned transfer it to a large covered roasting pan along with

2 pints Irish Ale (Smithwick's is a good choice.)
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 bay leaf
Stir all the ingredients in the roaster then cover well with aluminum foil and the roaster cover. Cook slowly in a 300 degree oven for about 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Roasted Vegetables

Toss together:
2 pounds carrots, cut in chunks
2 pound parsnip, cut in chunks
2 pound turnip, cut in chucks
6 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to season
Roast in a shallow baking pan for about 40 minutes.

Beef Stock

5 pounds of beef bones
2 cloves minced garlic
Season with salt and pepper and roast in a covered pan for about an hour.

2 litres of boilng water
2 finely grated carrots
and return to the oven or stovetop to simmer for about an hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Strain the stock from the bones and add to the braised beef along with the roasted vegetables and
3-4 pounds yellow potatoes, washed and unpeeled, cut in chunks
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

Return to the oven for about half an hour to 45 minutes or until the potatoes are nearly fork tender. Add 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve with freshly baked bread, biscuits or Yorkshire pudding.


Drink to drink:

I found a variation of a mint julep on www.littlehomesandbighearts.com that I think would be a crowd pleaser:

The Irish Julep
2 oz. Basil Bourbon, 1/2 oz Creme de Menthe, 1 oz half and half. Garnish: mint sprig
Pour all into a highball glass with ice, and garnish. 
And what seems just as delicious but a little bit healthier is a recipe I found in Redbook a while back by their Mommy Mixologist, Kim Haasarud.
The Irish Smash

            Squeeze a whole lemon into a cocktail shaker, add an ounce of simple syrup (sugar dissolved in hot water) and two ounces of whiskey. Top with ice, shake, and add mint leaves! Sweet and simple.

Fun ideas for the kids:

Kids’ Drink

I stumbled across this really cute idea on Parenting.com. Fill your ice trays with food coloring to make different colored ice cubes and put in a clear drink to make a rainbow.
Also, you can find fun crafts for the kids on Spoonful:

I hope you have a very lucky weekend and so much fun celebrating!



Design & Art

I hope everyone is having a nice Thursday! I was going through some old notes the other day and found this Serena & Lily ad from a while ago that I loved:
            It got me thinking... design and art have always been separated by one thing: function. Design has, historically, been considered usable in our every-day lives and art’s purpose was to be looked at and appreciated from a distance; strictly decorative. The more that contemporary design and contemporary art evolve though, the fine line between them is fading.
Some design items are now being made from such particular craftsmanship and materials they’re supposed to be bought and collected but not used. At the same time, art is becoming so involved with human expression and physical interaction that its purpose is more functional than ever before. I’ve pulled together some miscellaneous examples that come to mind…
(photo found on Tumblr)

The “Miss Blanche Chair” by Shiro Kuramata is not necessarily meant to be sat in… it is so beautiful but probably wouldn’t be very comfy! FYI—you can see on the Christie’s website that this chair sold in 2007 for $316,913!
(Architecural Digest)
This photograph of light bulbs is still meant for decoration but not necessarily treated as any more important than the books it’s surrounded by. Its placement in the room shows the picture to be on the same level as all the other knick knacks surrounding it.

Banksy is a British graffiti artist who is internationally known for his politicaland social commentary. Even though his work now sells for six-figures, he still adorns the streets of major cities with his quirky and ironic work. The most interesting thing about Banksy: no one knows who he is. All of his work is done behind the scenes. You can read about his recent stint in NYC back in October to get an idea of how interactive and elusive this guy is.

Here’s a t-shirt he designed. The document can be bought through his website but printed at home:


 (Architectural Digest)
Murals are becoming a huge trend in design and KPI is a definite participant in this trend!
            Recently, we’ve been working alongside Swatchroom, a company made up of artisans from all different trades (from fine arts to carpentry) who come together and create one-of-a-kind design items. One of the many things we love about Swatchroom is their mastery of faux finishing and decorative painting such as in our most recent project…

I'm just thinking out loud here so I'd love your feedback! Do you see design & art merging? What now separates design & art, in your opinion?

Have a great rest of your week!


Love is all around!

You can find a little love in one of my favorite interiors...

OK so first and foremost, I HAVE MISSED MY BLOG!!!!

Things have been so crazy but incredible around the KPI office. We’re expanding, teaching, and changing like you would not believe and have had such a great start to 2014… we could not be more grateful! BUT it is so nice for me to catch a breath on this beautiful snow day and catch up with you!

Our favorite deliveryman came into KPI, yesterday, and asked (to an all-lady staff) “Is it OK if your husband or boyfriend doesn’t bring you flowers on Valentine’s Day?” Needless to say there were mixed shouts/responses from various rooms of the office. Some gals were more easygoing than others.

This got me thinking about what Valentine’s Day is really all about…  it’s not just about your significant other it’s about ALL of the people and things you love. I love my daughters to death, my family and friends immensely, and I certainly love design. I love love!

So on this gorgeously white day, and you know how I feel about white ;), I am going to share with you some things I found on Pinterest that I love! Hope you enjoy, everyone!

Carpenter's Workshop Gallery: Paris, France


Bedside Manners

Have a design question for you on this Tuesday morning, thoughts and photos welcome...

I myself, love the look of mismatched nightstands, where do you fit in?

A: My nightstands from the decor to the furniture piece, look like mirror images of each other.

B: My nightstands couldn't look anymore different from each other. Variety is the spice of life!

C: My nightstand furniture pieces are the same, the decor is where I have fun and mix it up

Images and other sources found via: Pinterest


Threads of Autumn

Happy Friday! Not sure if it's the lovely weather outside or the fact that it's Friday, but I wanted to make a bonus post today. I am loving this change to cooler temps, especially on today's like today in the Maryland, DC, Virginia area where it's sunny, breezy, and the perfect temp out. With this seasonal shift, not just in your interior decor as you switch up and primp to prepare for house guests to arrive, but the change transcends to our wardrobe as well. With design and fashion so closely linked, the same rules still apply. There are your staple pieces or timeless items, and your trend setting item that sets the whole thing off and brings it to the new and now.

As of late, my style for the Fall is a cardigan with a simple crisp button down (or just the button down), a stylish pant (trouser or dressy jean) with either a fun and popping heel or a sleek leather booth. I LOVE the new gorgeous 2013 Louis Vuitton Monogram Tote paired with emerald green (color of the year) accessories.

What are some of your Fall wardrobe must-have pieces for the brisk and blustery Fall weather? I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and remember...

Images and other sources found via: Pinterest, Google Images


2013 Holiday Toy Must-Gets

I can't believe I am typing this out right now, but Holiday shopping as officially started for me. My office has now become my gift storage area, safe away from curious eyes that "stumbled upon". Could never figure out why my kids were always so lucky enough to open my bedroom closet and to have toys raining down on them, "They fell out of the closet mom, we swear".

This year I will be storing and wrapping all my gifts at the office, it's nice to spread out and have free reign to wrap and have all the gifts out, where as at the house, I always yell, "Don't come down here I am wrapping"...just kind of disliked some of the magic it took away from the holiday spirit by having me in the basement telling my kids to not come down.

But this year with a lot more tips and tricks up my sleeves learned the hard way from holiday's past, I'd say this could be a very lovely and calm holiday season.

Step 1: Shop online and early. I was able to get a great number of toys ordered paid for and shipped right to me without all the running around to multiple stores, lines, and traffic. With stores opening earlier and earlier (try 8:00 pm Thanksgiving Day to be exact), this Holiday shopping season is shaping up to be the biggest yet. I was able to hit some great online sales right now and get a ton of toy shopping done in the process. So with that said, save yourself the hassle, stay in, throw your feet up, and enjoy that extra slice of pumpkin pie as you sit pretty on Black Friday with the bulk of your shopping done.

    Step 2: If you do happen to be the type that loves bargain hunting and Black Friday is your time to shine, then I completely 100% suggest you setup a Pinterest board for your child. Step through the internet with them (supervision is a must online these days), and re-pin the toys or items they want. Not only will this give them a chance to organize and layout exactly what they want, but it will also give you a visual guide, or face to the name so to speak, of toys they want (half the battle is even knowing that a whirling topsy majiggger looks like).

Step 3: Give yourself a pat on the back if you are shopping early because the toy craze this year is going to be insane. Elmo is back with hugs, Furby has been overhauled, you will have your own little Katniss from Hunger Games running around with the addition of the Nerf bow and arrow, the Fluttering Fairy is going to reach new heights in your home (take cover), while the new and retro Ninja Turtles are hitting the market this year. Take a look below for the big toy must haves...

1. Flutterbye Flying Fairy Doll
2. Razor E200 Electric Scooter
3. Doc McStuffins Check-Up Center
4. Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow and Arrow
5. Leapfrog Ultra
6. New Ninja Turtles anything
7. Furby
8. Big Hugs Elmo

...and for those up and coming fashionista tweens, it's:

9. Make up, make up, and more make up
10. Fun young nail polish colors
11. Clothes are always a good idea

Have you started holiday shopping yet? Dare I ask, have you finished your holiday shopping or are you lacing up your sneakers for the crazy Black Friday sales for all the loved ones on your list?

Images and other sources found via: Pinterest, Toys 'R' Us, Google Images


Home Decor Must-Haves for Fall

Between college kids coming home, one shift of relatives popping in for Thanksgiving in November that give way to another round of relatives in December, we are nearing that time of the year where some of our homes become like mini B&B's. Let's look at some of the Fall 2013 trend setting pieces, as well as, some of the timeless pieces that I consider a must when adding finishing touches to a room.

Coffee Table Books:  Nothing says possibilities to me like a stack of books just waiting to be read. Not only do they look nice when stacked up as accessories, but books can also be great conversation starters, especially if you are talking to a person who has read that same book.

Candles: Dim the lights and immerse yourself in the soft warm glow of candlelight. These are always a must when hosting company or a small evening get-together, they soothe and warm up a space. Couple tips to keep in mind with candles:

1. Be very discerning with your scent choice; stay away from anything too overbearing as it can cause headaches for some.

2. Keep scented candles away from your dining table. You do not want your guests to be eating a pot roast, and be overwhelmed by that Snickerdoodle candle in your centerpiece. Tea lights work best!

Brass Accents: The beauty of this design trend, is you can make it as understated or over-the-top as you desire.

Throws: Blankets aplenty should be all over your home this time of year because you never know when that one glass of wine and wonderful conversation will stretch out into the wee hours of the morning. When that does occur, it is always so lovely to reach over and grab a throw blanket.

Seating Galore: Comfy cozy seating to relax on is an absolute must. From unwinding after big seasonal dinners to just simply lounging and getting lost in a book, big comfortable seating will make your guests feel right at home.

Color of the Year: Emerald Green is the color of the year for 2013 in the design and fashion industry. A pop of this color in your accessories would be lovely. I would shy away from making any large staple pieces this color, as those are harder to change out from season to season and match to the next up and coming color.

What are you looking forward to most about this Holiday season? What has been your design love as of late?

Images and other sources found via: Pinterest