A Closer Look at the Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom Wall Collage | PepperDesignBlog.com

I finally finished the gallery wall in our bedroom that I started back here (more on the progress and how I hammered out the layout) and it makes me so happy to have finished off such a big piece of this room! It feels like perhaps a few ‘after’ photos are finally in order for a room long forgotten…

Master Bedroom Wall Collage | PepperDesignBlog.com

While I originally didn’t put a whole lot of attention into this space (a bedroom can be so private, and it’s easy to leave to last on the home front), now I so appreciate a room that is cozy and full of mementos of our family.

The gallery wall: tribal print by PrintWork | b&w abstract giclee by Paul Maguire Art | landscape and lake & rowboat was a thrift store find | b&w photos of the girls and our family | pink watercolor and colorful acrylic by Liv & I

I love the oversized black and white of the girls when T was brand new (I had it printed at Coscto for maybe $8 and the frame is Aaron Brothers). I originally didn’t have that little pink watercolor to the right of the lamp on the wall, but the large acrylic abstract art was needing some sort of colorful piece on the other side of the wall for balance.

Master Bedroom Wall Collage | PepperDesignBlog.com

Have I shared the full room? It’s an odd layout because a little half bath pokes out from one wall (see that door to the left below) and a closet that is maybe 2×2′ sits next to it, but we’ve found a configuration that seems to work well.

Soon the the plans for the new master bathroom/bedroom will be finished and we’ll sort of start from scratch in here again.

Master Bedroom | PepperDesignBlog.com

Storage is really limited, so big wicker baskets under the bed help to make up for lost closet space (it took me a long time to find thin enough baskets to fit under the bed that were affordable, but unfortunately I don’t think Pottery Barn sells them any more).

I made the curtains from a beautiful Calico suzani fabric that I found a long while ago. The lamp next to our bed is from HomeGoods. I discovered linen duvet covers last year and it’s an amazing material for the bed. The navy set we have was a very generous gift from our Aunt from Christmas from Restoration Hardware (warm in the winter, cool in the summer). The white cotton sheets are Calvin Klein from Macy’s (it’s taken ages to find the right combination, but I think that this is it.) The rattan blinds and floor length silver mirror are from Lowe’s.

Master Bedroom | PepperDesignBlog.com

I’m waiting until the new bedroom is put back together before replacing my thrifted corner chair. It’s more of a clothes hanger, anyway.

Master Bedroom Wall Collage | PepperDesignBlog.com

Master Bedroom | PepperDesignBlog.com

A quick tour! and here’s a source list:

Still hard to believe that it came from here :-):

Master Bedroom: Before | PepperDesignBlog.com

Do you tend to leave spaces that are not often seen by many to the very last? My main mission for our home is cozy and comfortable for our family and especially for the girls. Still the rooms that are last to get love are those that no one sees :), but the ones that we use ALL of the time. Go figure.

Enjoy your beautiful weekend!

PS start here for all projects relating to this room (check out my ideas for the new ensuite!). You can also continue the house tour over here. A big thank you to Katie Beverley (who has just relaunched her site with a sweet deal!) for the lovely ‘after’ photos.

4 Tips to a Cheerier Day

3 Tips for a Cheerier Day | PepperDesignBlog.com

I must confess, a big pregnant belly and hormones that are sky high and then valley low cause me to contemplate ‘life’ much more than usual. Not the simple things, but the big stuff – the ‘what is my purpose?’, ‘am I reaching my fullest?’, ‘can I do better?’. Then I either sulk about how I’m not reaching one of those metaphorical highs or take a long hard look at what’s happening in my life and what I can change. That’s not always fun.

Yeah for emotional journeys!

I’ve kinda come to the a conclusion that the illustrious ‘happiness’ goal is something that has to be worked at regularly. It’s not really a destination but a journey that requires a lot of maintenance (not daunting maintenance though because, after all, smiling counts :-)). I read somewhere that happiness is a state of mind, an attitude that we embrace and that we can even ‘rub off’ on others around us. What a nice thought!

Here’s what I’m buzzing about today:

1. Happiness as an action – choosing to be joyful in everyday moments is one of life’s greatest privileges. Gleening joy from someone else is an easy fix to a hum drum day, laughing babies are good for that!

2. Making someone else’s day – happiness rubs off, acts of kindness and generosity are the BEST mood boosters. Buying coffee for the person behind you (I was behind someone who once put a $20 bill in the barrista’s hand and said ‘for everyone behind me’ – brilliant, and I was personally smiling ear to ear not at the free coffee but at the emotional high), offering an out-of-the-blue compliment to a stranger, saying ‘good morning’ with a big smile at those walking by, giving an unexpected surprise smooch to your sweetie.

3. Feeling good is not the opposite of feeling bad – happiness and unhappiness aren’t opposite sides of a coin. I love that. Sometimes we’re floating somewhere in the middle because it’s just that sort of day. That’s okay too because life is life.

4. Moments of gratefulness are moments of recalling and recognizing happiness. A gracious mood is one of the most generous gifts that we can offer anyone. How great does it feel when someone expresses their gratitude for something small or big that I helped with? It’s especially awesome when it catches me off guard. Oh man, it’s a mile high feeling. To hand out happiness, just tell someone how much you appreciate them.

What do you think? True story? Or is the ‘pursuit of wholeness‘ far better than than the ‘pursuit of happiness’? PBS posted an article on how happiness is made up of pleasure, engagement and meaning (Martin Seligman calls this authentic happiness) and that it ‘involves both daily positive emotions and a global sense that life is worthwhile’. I’m going to try to do each one of the above today to see what happens.

PS Motherhood (in general), and the joy of having girls.

Keeping Up With the Summer Harvest, Part 3

I feel as though this post might not need an introduction given parts 1 & 2, but I’m so happy to be back to share with you a few more ways that I’m using up that delicious summer harvest around our kitchen.

This is something that I’ve really struggled with as a working mom – Kevin used to take on meal duty every night and it was something that I completely took for granted. Now that he works later hours than I, it’s my job to make sure that there’s a meal on the table at 7pm when everyone is home. Oh the pressure. I usually start to think up an idea around 6:30 when my afternoon mother’s helper is on her way out the door. That means that meal prep needs to be fast and that I need to have everything that we’re making for that night on hand (I currently don’t have any sort of planning system, though really I should). This is part of the reason I am in love with CSA and relish in the surprise of a new, fully stocked organic box of fruits and veggies once a week. Between that box and our garden this summer, we have been making full, healthy meals with just a few alternative ingredients on hand (namely pasta, chicken and cheeses).

Part 1 (frittatas, cucumber salads…) and part 2 (all things roasting) of this series for more easy ideas.

Summer Harvest Recipes | PepperDesignBlog.com

One of my favorite summer harvest recipes to share is one that I stole from Martha Stewart’s instagram feed. She (or that wonderfully wise photo curator of hers) suggested cleaning out the fridge each Sunday and making a Nicoise salad out of whatever could be found. This is brilliant because 1. we always have veggies that need to be used up, including leftovers aplenty and lettuce for a salad and 2. cans of tuna are an easy meal staple to have on hand.

I tried it out. I cut corn off of cobs from previous evening meals, roasted up carrots and bell peppers that were at the bottom of the veggie drawer and cubed cheese and avocado to balance it all out. I cleaned out our fridge and made a really pretty meal – little hands thought the colorful partitioning of foods and flavors was fun and it was a total hit.

We enjoyed the monster salad (above) by eating family style off of one big plate outdoors one evening. I love the idea of ‘cleaning out the fridge’ meals (whether it’s a salad or crock pot meal or pizza toppings) once a week. Brilliant.

Moving on to…

Good Eats: Summer Squash & Goat Cheese Pasta | PepperDesignBlog.com

Pasta, as always, is an awesome go-to. Inspired by a series on using just 3 ingredients in each meal, I started making super simple pasta + veggies (and using the cooking water + cheeses to build a sauce) frequently. This squash and goat cheese recipe is one of my favorites so far.

Next up, tomatoes. The easy tomato solution around this house is to toss them as an accessory into a salad, to snack on them with fresh cheese (especially on the go!) or if I really have a bit of time to make a homemade soup.

But one of my favorite new ways to use up all of the cherry tomatoes (or really any kind) that we have lying around is to make them the feature of an entire meal or to build a salad around their juicy flavor. These days I’ve been layering them with fresh mozzarella and basil, and letting them soak in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pepper and chunky sea salt while I make up the rest of dinner (sometimes I’ll let them marinate in the fridge for even a few days).

Summer Harvest Recipes | PepperDesignBlog.com

A more complicated tomato recipe (but oh so good) is this tomato & cream cheese tart from last summer.

Summer Harvest Recipes | Summer Tomato Tart | PepperDesignBlog.com

Finally, a good bread/cupcake recipe is a great go-to with extra vegetable anything. I love zucchini, carrot or squash breads – or a combination! – and I think that this recipe does a decent job of cleaning out the veggie drawer. It seems so much fancier (and special) as mini cupcakes/muffins but works either way.

Summer Harvest Recipes | Farmer's Market Cupcakes and Bread | PepperDesignBlog.com

That wraps up this series on summer veggies! Though admittedly they’re vegetables we’ll all enjoy well into fall so I hope that these little meal ideas bring some inspiration to your hurried dinner creations. Between the three posts, that’s a dozen or so easy ways to enjoy peak fruits and veggies in season and at their finest. I am a procrastinator and a mom, and I promise that they are all fool proof.

One of these days I’ll put together a quick cheat sheet of all of these links, but for now I hope you enjoy :-).

All recipes are chronicled right over here. Hope you are enjoying this beautiful transition into fall!

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