Tuesday, July 31, 2018

My Streamlined Decor Part 2

Let's jump right in to part 2 of my streamlined decor, shall we? If you missed part 1, click HERE

In the kitchen, I removed some things from the top of the buffet...

I also put away the bubble gum container that used to be by the lamp. 

I was always knocking the lid off that bubblegum container when I'd turn the lamp on or off.

I think the only other thing I did in here was to put up the napkin holder that was by the canisters. I moved the napkins to the pantry. Do you spot Finn?

That boy is always eating. He's now surpassed Holly in weight. Finn actually has a birthday coming up next month! He'll be one! 

This side stayed the same, but you can see I removed a lot of stuff that was on that little table in the hall.

I mentioned in my last post how I removed everything from the tops of my cabinets and fridge years ago. I still think that was one of my best decisions, decor-wise. 

I put up a different print on the wall to the right of the fridge...

I get asked about that clock above all the time. It's from Lillian Vernon about 18 years ago. :) 

This is the only thing I might change. That lone candle looks weird all by itself on that table. Maybe it needs a little boxwood wreath/candle ring around the base. I don't know. I actually still like the silver tray underneath it. I bought it from a Yankee Candle school fund raiser many years ago, so it fits that candle perfectly. 

Some of you might remember this big vase that used to be on top of the armoire in the den. I got rid of the corner shelf in this hallway and put the vase in its place. 

I got rid of a little flower arrangement and some books that were on this nightstand...

And I can't believe it, but I put up the frame with Holly's baby pic and a few other things that were on this table... 

More books removed from this table...

A few more things removed from the top of this armoire too...

A little decor tip for you...See those prints up there on the armoire? Here's how I keep them from slipping down...

I cut a strip from a non slip rug pad I had on hand. (I pulled out that corner so you could see) Works like a charm! Oh...and that Thomas Kinkade print on the right? Yeah, that's ripped from a book I bought long ago. Just another tip...buy books or calendars with prints from your favorite artists, cut out the print and pop it in a frame. :) 

One quick thing I did a few months ago was to move my Magnolia Market crown tray into my bathroom. I'm storing all my makeup brushes on it. I love having everything contained on a single tray. Makes cleaning the counter easy. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, July 23, 2018

My Streamlined Decor: Part 1

Lots of decor pics today! So I was browsing IG and kept noticing a theme...streamlined decor, less clutter, simple style. And you know what? I liked it! I had just settled in with my kindle and a steaming cup of coffee to read the afternoon away but then...I started looking around my own home and began to mentally remove things from tables, counters, etc. Then I realized how easy it would be to clean and dust with less stuff. ;)

I removed everything from the tops of my kitchen cabinets years ago. Then that led to removing things from the top of the fridge. I guess this was the next logical step. Lol! 

So I set my coffee aside and began in the dining room at the front of the house and worked my way back, removing piece after piece of decorative items. I'll start by sharing the dining room, entry and living room today. Then I'll do another post sharing the kitchen, breakfast room, master bedroom and bath. 

Most of the dining room is the same, save for a few swaps of decor on the table by the floor lamp. I had already moved to a more simple style in here a couple of years ago. I just wanted to give you a whole room view before we get started.

I just swapped one small thing on that table. Finn seems to approve. 

By the front door, I removed the large red glass vase that's been there for 18 years. I liked it and still might put it back, but for now I'm liking the extra space to the right of the door. And there's really not anything red in my house anymore, except for that entry rug and my KitchenAid mixer. Well, and I guess the stained glass above the door. :)

I removed everything except the basket of hydrangeas on the foyer table. And let me tell you, I was so excited to dust it later that day! So easy to just pick up one thing to dust the entire table. I used to have books, decor items, etc. but this is much easier. 

I also removed everything on top of the armoire. With all the stuff up there, it made it seem much taller than it was. That made the size of the rolling cart compared to the armoire seem a little "off." I like it better this way.

Now this one was a little hard for me because I loved the large tray on the coffee table, filled with books, candles, and other decor. But...I didn't enjoy dusting it and it also took up a lot of room on the table. So I got out this small Target Dollar Spot $3 tray and filled it with just a couple of small books, a pretty candle, the tv remote and coasters. 

So much better! I love the wrapped handles and little cut outs on that tray. I bought it years ago and really haven't used it at all, but knew it would come in handy one day. Glad I listened to my gut and bought it when I did. 

The rolling cart got a makeover too. Things were removed and shuffled around. 

I tried to get away with having nothing on the very top, but it just didn't look right and I missed that floral print. That silver vase is also from Target's dollar spot and used to be on the armoire in the bedroom. 

All the candle sticks disappeared from the bombay chest and again...SO much easier to dust! 

This little demi lune table used to have some books stacked up with a potpourri holder on top. The problem was, not only did I have to dust the holder (which would always come apart because it was three separate pieces) but all the books too. I pared it down to a single book and replaced the potpourri holder with a silver candle holder. 

I removed the book on this table too. I'm liking the simple look. 

I tried numerous ideas on the mantle, but ended up just swapping out a candle holder for the white piece on the right. What do you call that thing anyway? It's kinda like a pineapple/pinecone thingy? It used to be a green/gray color and I spray painted it white. 

Again, this end table got a refresh by removing the book that was under the crown. I guess a lot of what I did was remove books in my decor. Oh, and I switched out the wicker candle holder for this Dollar Spot Ikea look-a-like vase thingy. P.S. The wicker candle holder is now on the other end table. 

The cats would always jump on this table above and with the crown balancing on the book, it would fall off all the time. Target frequently has these Ikea look-a-like vases, but in all different colors. Don't forget about the magic of spray paint if they don't have the color you're looking for. 

Simple and streamlined...

Love this view where you can see the pared down foyer table, bombay chest and demi lune table. 

By the time I finished simplifying my decor (3 hours later) my coffee had turned into iced coffee. But that's okay. I'm happy with the results. :) Be sure to check back for the updated kitchen and master. Hope y'all have a great day!

P.S. I get questions about the paint color all the time. It's Kilim Beige by Sherwin Williams. 


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Random Thoughts and Texas Heat

Just a bit of random-ness today. We got these automatic nightlights at Dollar Tree...

They automatically come on when it gets dark and go off when it gets light. They also have the kind with an on/off switch. I bought one for the guest bathroom and one for the laundry room because that's where the litter box is. 

I've always had one of those green LED nightlights in the laundry room, but it doesn't put out a lot of light. I wanted to be sure the cats could see well enough to use their box at night, so I bought this one. 

You can see their box to the left. I think the felines approve. :) I always feel like I have to apologize for the garish color in here. I promise it's not that bad in real life. 

These would also be great for a hallway or a child's room, or really anywhere you want to have a lighted path at night. And for only $1, you can't go wrong. 

I've been obsessed with this new cozy mystery series. It's the Izzy Greene Senior Sleuths mysteries by Sylvia Selfman. I got the first four books on Amazon for my Kindle for only .99¢ It's one of those series that I can't put down. Like if I have to do anything other than reading (making dinner, laundry, etc) I get annoyed and start counting down the minutes until I can start reading again. They're really good mysteries too. Keeps you guessing until the last minute. 

Here's a description of the first book "Murder She Typed"

Two best friends solving a mystery in Palm Springs, CA. It's such a good cozy with a lot of humor sprinkled in. Palm Springs is almost like another character in the story. These books remind me of the Southern Sisters Mysteries by Anne George, one of my all time favorite cozies. 

I made my favorite cake-like brownies again the other day. Do you like cake-like or dense and chewy? I like both, but prefer the cake-like. 

This is the recipe I always use:

And yes, these are pics of my personal clippings in my recipe book, hence the smudges. :)

***My notes on this are: Definitely line the pan with foil and spray the foil. Use a whisk to mix it up and bake for exactly 32 minutes. Comes out perfectly every single time. Also, this says "4 squares" of chocolate. One square used to be one ounce, for a total of 4 ounces. But they've since changed the size of the squares. So you still need 4 ounces but that's now an entire package, or 16 pieces

And here's the variation for cake-like:
(just add 1/2 cup milk with eggs and vanilla and increase flour to 1 1/2 cups)

Here's the package of unsweetened chocolate squares I buy. You'll use the entire package, which is now 4 ounces. 

Got my passport in the mail and oh my...it's the worst picture of me, ever. And...it's good for 10 years. Nice. You're not supposed to smile in your passport pic...well, they say you just can't show teeth, so I tried a closed mouth smile and well...not good. Same with my driver's license pic. Not pretty. And that one is good for 12 years! Lord. 

It has been so hot here lately. I put a thermometer on the patio and look what it registered...

And THAT'S why Texans can't wait until fall. ;) This is also why they warn us not to walk our dogs until the sun goes down. Can you imagine walking barefoot on 134ยบ sidewalks? Nope. 

Did y'all see my post on gun safety? If you missed it, click HERE to see how you can get a FREE cable-style gun lock. This is always good to have, but especially important if you have children in your home or have children who visit your home. And it's FREE! 

Up next...my new streamlined decor posts. Happy Saturday!


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Coconut Shrimp, Cherry Ice Cream and Crockpot Apricot Chicken

I'll get back to my regular decor posts soon, I promise. I did a little streamlining and removed things, donated stuff and simplified everything. I'll share pics soon. (It's so much easier to dust now!) It's too many pics for one post, so I split it up into two. I'm sharing a few sneak peeks on instagram if you want to follow along @texasdecor

So anyway, I don't mean to keep tempting y'all with food, but here I go again. :) 

I've mentioned HEB's Meal Simple deals before and how much we love them. Basically it's a little meal all packaged up and ready to pop in the oven. They have steak, chicken, salmon, shrimp, meatloaf, stuffed mushrooms and a whole slew of other options. They come in an oven proof container and all you do is peel off the plastic and bake. So convenient. P.S. We've also gotten their made-in-store pizzas and they're equally good. 

This time around, we got the coconut shrimp and it was SO good!

The only problem was that I wanted tarter sauce and we were out. Usually I don't want tarter sauce on coconut chicken, but this time, I did. So I made my own. Are you impressed? Ha ha! I googled the recipe and had no idea it was so easy. I started with a basic recipe, then added my own twist. Here's what I came up with.

Lisa's Homemade Tarter Sauce Recipe

1 cup mayo
1/4 cup chopped pickles
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Dash of salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon pickle juice
3 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 tablespoon sriracha (optional)

Mix everything together and enjoy!

It was really good and I know I'll make it again. I did a separate batch at the last minute and added the sriracha we liked it that way too. I served the coconut shrimp with sweet potato fries and they were delicious dipped in the tarter sauce. 

For dessert, we had this...

Do you have Blue Bunny ice cream where you live? This cherrific cheesecake was divine! 

My aunt has been giving me the best crockpot recipes lately. I've made her raspberry sriracha pork chops and her honey garlic chicken and they were both really good, but this apricot chicken is my favorite...

I altered the recipe a bit because it originally had Catalina dressing in it, which I love, but some people around here don't like it, so I omitted it. Here's the recipe: 

Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken:

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 jar apricot preserves
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix
salt and pepper
garlic powder (not in the original recipe, but we love it)
1 cup Catalina dressing (like I said, we omitted this, but I bet it's good)

Place chicken in crockpot and sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix up onion soup mix and apricot preserves (and Catalina if you're using it) and pour over chicken and cook on low 6 hours. 

I'm telling you, my house smelled so good that I'm tempted to make this once a week, just for the smell alone! It was so good too. Tasty and full of flavor. Up until a few weeks ago, I'd never made anything with chicken thighs, but I'm now a fan. 

That's all for now. Y'all have a great day and be sure to check back for my new streamlined look. 


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