Category Archives: Creative Living

Indian Food Dinner Party Feast

Indian Food Dinner Party Feast

In my last post, Fabulous Spaces: Mary’s Victorian Apartment, I said that my friend Mary (that recently moved into her new space) was telling me how she wanted to have a dinner party but she presently only had 2 chairs for her dining table. Mary and I both love Indian food and Mary has in fact spent some time in India, so I suggested let’s do an Indian Food Dinner Party Feast, eating at a low table sitting on the floor.

The dinner party was a blast! It was different than your typical diner party, the company was great, and the food was super tasty. The best part is that I could eat almost everything at the feast. So, my restricted diet friends here’s some more yummy food options for you too!

Indian dinners usually consist of many dishes that are shared family style.

This first dish we made was a chicken curry dish. Mary started by sauteing sliced mushrooms, onions, and cubes of chicken breast in a skillet with a little oil. She then added some canned tomatoes (homemade courtesy of her mom, but you could used store bought can tomatoes) and mild red curry sauce from Trader Joe’s.

I’m normally not really a fan of premade, packaged food, but I love these and highly recommend them. They’re both from Trader Joe’s and are premade, packaged in a pouch and just need to be heated and served. The two that I could eat are Punjab Eggplant and Dal Makhani (a lentil dish). There was another one that was a paneer cheese dish as well that didn’t fit my diet, but if you can eat dairy try it.

We also made jasmine rice, sprinkled with saffron. Typical Indian meals are eaten with rice as most of the other dishes in the meal have a very concentrated flavor and the rice helps to balance the flavors.

There was a cucumber, tomato, and green onion salad that added a fresh crisp taste to the meal. We simply cut up the veggies and tossed them with a homemade dressing (equal parts extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar with fresh cracked salt and pepper).

Mary also served traditional Naan Bread that’s eaten with Indian meals and is used to scoop up and eat the saucier dishes. Since Naan has gluten Mary found these great Baked Lentil Chips from Trader Joe’s as an additional item that I could eat.

Mary served the meal with traditional Indian tea that was really delicious. She boiled the water with Tea Masala that she actually brought back from India (you could probably find it at a grocery that offers various ethnic foods). Once the water boiled she steeped corriander pods, rooibos (red tea), and ginger tea to create this delicious blend.

This was truly a scrumptious Indian Food Dinner Party Feast. Thanks to Mary for opening her home and preparing a great meal that was a lot of fun to eat! I hope this inspires others out there to explore and enjoy new foods from other cultures.

Fabulous Spaces: Mary’s Victorian Apartment

Fabulous Spaces: Mary’s Victorian Apartment

I’m launching a new segment today called Fabulous Spaces, where I’ll feature unusual, beautifully designed, or just crazy creative spaces. Hope this segment gives you ideas for decorating or tackling difficult to design spaces.

For the launch of Fabulous Spaces I’ve chosen my good friend Mary’s Victorian Apartment. Mary recently moved into this historic 19th century Victorian home that has been divided into 4 apartments, giving her and her pup Jay Jay a fabulously historic place to come home to.


Ease of moving and mobility are important to Mary, so her rule with her space is that she wanted to be able to carry everything in her place on her own. She’s also limited with the size of furniture she can get up the stair case that turns a sharp corner. After my own move last summer with tons of help from friends and family and realizing how much stuff I have, I totally see the value in keeping your space free of heavy furniture and extra stuff.

Mary decided to let the gorgeous architectural details of her space stand as the focal point of each room, while letting her own minimal furniture and accessories fall into the background of this beautiful canvas.

The extremely high ceilings and beautiful doorways with operable transom lights make each room feel a lot larger and allow for light and ventilation between rooms (an original “green” design idea).


The beautiful marble Victorian fireplace warms the space and adds a major architectural focal point. Mary’s wall art decal adds  artistic flair making the space her own.

These incredibly crafted wood floors run throughout much of the space as an ode to craftsmanship rarely seen today.

In the bathroom sits a gorgeous claw foot tub, keeping the historic vibe alive. At the very top of the back wall of the bathroom is an interior window into the kitchen, allowing light to transfer between spaces.

These radiators in each room not only keep the history of the house alive, but provide a wonderful heat source. Unlike today’s forced air systems, these radiators provide wonderful heat in the frigid winter months without creating extremely dry air quality.

This historic wallpaper decorates the hall way keeping history alive.

Who said a tiny kitchen can’t have great storage and feature artwork.

I love the pink and green painted details of this historic Victorian home. I never thought pink and green could look this great on a home’s exterior. Love it!

I was visiting with Mary when she first moved into her great place and she told me how much she really wanted to have a dinner party, but only had 2 chairs for her dining room table. Check out my next post to see what my suggestion was, so she could have a dinner party without buying more furniture. Thanks for sharing your Fabulous Space, Mary!

Wedding Bliss: Animals Everywhere!

Wedding Bliss: Animals Everywhere!

Thanks to Shelly Goodman for pointing out this trend that she’s noticed in a lot of the weddings that she’s photographed over the last 2 years…Animals, pets, pooches, horses? That’s right. Pooches are no longer left in the dog house, they’re walking down the aisle at weddings. Many brides are now incorporating their favorite pet into their wedding ceremonies and celebrations.

This little guy above was even dressed for the special day in a little doggie tux. Last Fall I was at a wedding where a dog was a brides maid and had her own dress and necklace that matched the other bridesmaids. Some may say this goes too far, but it definitely adds a flair to the event that is unique to the bride and groom…And it was definitely something I won’t forget!

This bride had a serious princess experience being driven away in a horse drawn carriage.

Don’t have a cute little kid to be the ring bearer? How about a doggie ring bearer?

Hope you enjoy this fun animals in weddings images. Be sure to check out Shelly’s website to see some of the beautiful weddings she’s photographed!

Have a great weekend and stay warm. See ya Monday!

Lovin’ It: Domino The Book of Decorating

Lovin’ It: Domino The Book of Decorating

I’m launching a new segment today called Lovin’ It where I’ll feature products, businesses, services that I’m lovin’ in hopes that you may love them too! And no, McDonalds is not on my Lovin’ It list. But this Domino book sure is!


My favorite design magazine, Domino, unfortunately went out of publication a few years ago…Sad story, but the good news is there is a Domino book that captures many of the best images and design ideas from the many issues of the magazines. This book was a Christmas gift from my hubby this year. It makes a great gift for those design and decorating lovers! Here’s some of the beautiful images from the book to give you a glimpse. Hope you’ll pick up a copy (you can get it on Amazon).


Its full of color palette and space planning ideas.


Lots of tips to mix and match pieces in a space.


The book includes beautiful fabric and wall paper prints. This one is from GP & J Baker #158408C fabric in #R1375-3 color.

There are plenty of ideas for entryways, living rooms, dinning rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, offices, and kids’ rooms.


There are tons of Tricks of the Trade inside.


There are even ideas for renters and for even the smallest spaces.

Hope you’ll enjoy this book as either a beautiful coffee table book or a great resource for the decorator/ designer in your life!

*Book: Domino The Book of Decorating: A room-by-room guide to creating a home that makes you happy
by Domino editors, Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello, and Dara Caponigro, 2008

Re-purpose It: Blanket Basket

Re-purpose It: Blanket Basket

This is definitely a trash turned treasures idea.
My in-laws were throwing out this old house plant basket, so I decided to take it and find a use for it.

I like to have throw blankets in my living room to curl up with while watching a movie, but I was really tired of seeing them collect on my couch. So, I decided to roll up some throw blankets and store them in the old plant basket right in my living room. They’re contained in the pretty basket, but easily available right in my living room.

So, if your house plants have bit the dust this winter, don’t get rid of the pretty house plant basket. Just Re-purpose It!

Winter Details

Winter Details

Some may say the weather outside is frightful today in the chicagoland area, but there is definitely beauty to be found.
I thought these winter wonderland detail images may help you to see the beauty that exists outside in January. Enjoy!

Wedding Bliss: An International Event

Wedding Bliss: An International Event

I’m lunching a new segment today called Wedding Bliss showing great creative wedding ideas with everything from dresses, photo ideas, flowers, venues, cakes, decor, and reception and ceremony ideas. Whether you’re looking for wedding ideas for yourself or someone else, or you’re like me and you just love looking at weddings, you’ll love this new segment!

To kick off my first post my roomie from college, Shelly Goodman, was so kind to send me photos from one of the weddings she photographed. Shelly and her husband, Andy, run their wedding photography business out of St. Louis. I’m so excited to be able to post these beautiful images they photographed. Make sure to check out Shelly’s website…She’s definitely got a great artistic eye and the photography skills to go with it! www.shellygoodmanphotography.com/

This bride had a challenge cut out for her in that her husband to be is from England, making this wedding An International Event.
Her Big Challenge:
Half of her guests were coming from over sees and staying for an extended period of time, which could have meant huge hotel bills and transportation challenges.

Her Solution: This happy couple decided to use this wedding challenge to make their big day unique and more intimate. They decided to rent this beautiful house on a golf course, as not only a place for their guests to stay, but also their wedding ceremony and reception venue.


Challenge Bonus: The best part about this solution was that their family was all at the venue on time and they helped decorate the day of!

This bride used simple bouquets and flower arrangements, creating bright and airy arrangements with personal touches.

The Bride’s bouquet included a special family photo to add a personal touch to her bouquet.

She carried the Queen Anee’s Lace (flower) from her bride’s maid’s bouquets to the flowers lining the aisle for the ceremony.
So simple and elegant!

No tiara and veil for this bride. She wanted something a little less traditional, so she found the perfect feather hairpiece on www.etsy.com

Check out the rest of these great details from the Lego Bridal Party next to the guest book, the unusual ring pillow, and the sign pointing the way to the wedding.

Thanks to Shelly for sharing these beautiful wedding photos they truly are Wedding Bliss!

Re-purpose It: Antique Sheet Music

Re-purpose It: Antique Sheet Music

I’m launching a new segment today called “Re-purpose It.” I seem to continue to find really neat antique (and sometimes just old) stuff that I tend to always find a new purpose for. I have a love for stuff that has a history. I hate to see these snippets of history just die away in the past as forgotten memories. Sometimes these antique tid-bits’ purpose has died away with technological advancements or social customs have taken away their usefulness. So, I say give the old stuff a new life by finding a new purpose for it!

Here’s the first idea: Re-purpose Antique Sheet Music
I found these three sets of sheet music for $2 and $3 dollars each at an antique store in Michigan. I’m not really a music buff, but loved the beautiful sheet cover designs. The sheet music shown in the photos date from 1909, 1916, and 1928.

I saw these beautiful sets and could picture someone playing the music in their parlor in the early 20th century. With the perfect frames to house them, they now grace my living room walls as memories of a simpler time. Don’t worry, I didn’t pitch the actual sheet music. The full set of sheet music is in the frame as well.

Next time, instead of paying for pre-framed artwork from a home store, why not frame a unique piece of history with a story! Have fun on the search!

Ask Away!

Ask Away!

I want to know what my readers want to know more about.

Did you just find out that you have to follow a restricted diet and don’t know where to start?

Did you find an interesting food in the grocery and don’t know what to cook with it?

Do you have a special event coming up and don’t know what food to make for it?

Do you have some random stuff at home that you’ve been wanting to turn into home decor but don’t know where to start?

Did you find a crazy object at the thrift store you just had to buy but have no idea what to do with it?

Let me know! I’d love to post answering your question!

Winter Decor: Bringing the Outside Indoors

Winter Decor: Bringing the Outside Indoors

I’ve had these branches that we had to cut off the bottom of our Christmas tree to make it fit into the stand for over a month. They’ve been sitting on my porch and I’ve been determined to make something with them. I finally got around to it just in time for New Year’s Eve. I actually ended up having enough branches to make 2 arrangements for my home. Here’s how I made them and what they turned out like. Hope it inspires!

Materials:
Vase
Florist Foam
Evergreen branches
Large sticks from the yard
White paint or spray paint

Step 1:
Spray paint or use foam brush to paint sticks white.

Step 2:
Place floral foam in vase. If the mouth of the vase is narrow you may not need floral foam.

Step 3:
Push evergreen branches into floral foam, so the branches form a ring around the outside of the container.

Step 4:
Push sticks into the center of the ring. Make sure to continue to rotate the vase as you make it so that all sides of the arrangement look similar.

Voila!

Below is the second arrangement from the left over branches.

Start creating!