Bedroom Design: Creating a Farmhouse Bedroom

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Lots of wood. White walls and floors. Quilts. Shaker-style furniture. These are the makings of a farmhouse bedroom. Love the look but live in an apartment? No worries. Whether you prefer a traditional or modern interior, you don’t have to live in an actual farmhouse to create this style.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can decorate your own bedroom and achieve the farmhouse look.

Create the architecture
A San Francisco guest bedroom goes traditional farmhouse with board and batten walls, pitched ceilings, and simple cottage-style furnishings. Red and white gingham and structured window shades complete the country feel.

Keep it neutral.
A South African farmhouse stays neutral with beige walls, white bedding, and natural-fiber carpeting. The classic Burberry-patterned throw tossed on the bed adds a splash of color.

Be classic and simple.
This sweet bedroom boasts the right amount of everything –– color, pattern, texture, and detail. Painted a soft shade of white, the space is on the smaller side, but has a big personality. Bright orange paint covers the French doors, allowing light to flow into the room.

Go minimalist.
A crocheted coverlet, crisp bed linens, and painted floors give this New York farmhouse bedroom a modern aesthetic. Minimal furnishings contribute to the clean, uncluttered design.

Try rustic.
This Dallas bedroom’s vintage accessories and antiques create an equestrian-themed farmhouse bedroom. Cozy and chic, the room is renovated, but feels like it dates back to the 1800s when the home was constructed.

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Breakfast in Bed: Melon Pear Smoothies

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Post by Alison Hein.

Yay! It’s March! I was out in my garden this morning and spied tiny little green nubs wrestling to push themselves up through the earth. I even caught sight of a wayward robin! Soon the temperatures will climb and the earth and trees will be dressed in greenery. Time to start the switch from hearty pancakes and healthy oatmeal over to fresh fruit and frothy smoothies!

Melon Pear Smoothies 1

Cantaloupe may not be the first melon you’d think of when firing up the blender, but it’s dense consistency and sweet, mellow undertones make this a fruit made to be puréed. A little pear juice makes a nice contrast with the melon and adds a fresh note.

Melon Pear Smoothies 2

Variations are endless. Use apple instead of pear juice, or skip the juice altogether for a thicker smoothie. For all the juice-conscious out there, go ahead and replace the juice with fresh spinach, kale or wheat grass instead.

Well you get the idea. Smoothies couldn’t be simpler or more perfect, and for once, I don’t have much more to say on the topic. I’m not even recommending breakfast in bed. Just go froth yourself up some fruit, then take your lush and frosty smoothie outside. Take a deep breath in. Spring is in the air!

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Ingredients
2 cups fresh cantaloupe (or other melon), peeled and chopped into small cubes
1 cup ice
½ cup pear juice
½ cup low fat vanilla yogurt
Lime slices, for garnish (optional)

Preparation
Wash the outside of the cantaloupe. Slice in half and scoop out seeds from center. Slice and skin melon, then chop into 1-inch cubes.

Place ice in blender. Add chopped melon, yogurt and pear juice. Purée until thick and smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into glasses. Garnish with sliced lime.

Makes 2 smoothies.

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Bedtime Stories: The Amulet of Samarkand

samarkandPost by Mark T. Locker.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book One: The Amulet of Samarakand by Jonathan Stroud.

So this is a book I have been kind of wanting to read for a very long time. I’m a big fan of the author; I’ve reviewed his Lockwood & Co. books here in the past. This series of books, told partly from the perspective of a snarky demon by the name of Bartimaeus, has been sitting on my shelf for a dozen years. The only thing stopping me from diving into it? The footnotes. There were SO many footnotes! It was hard for me to constantly tear my attention from the story to read the bits of supplementary information offered after the asterisk. What finally did it for me was getting the book in audio format. The narrator adds the footnotes in such a seamless way that you can hardly tell he’s reading from the bottom of the page. It works. And it’s a great story.

As a young child, Nathaniel in sold to the passably accomplished wizard Arthur Underwood, brought up to be his protégé. Treated poorly by his new master and humiliated by his colleagues from the Ministry, Nathaniel takes solace in learning. Despite his Master’s belief, Nathaniel is a brilliant wizard and by the age of twelve has a great deal of advanced knowledge under his belt. All of which he channels into seeking vengeance against Simon Lovelace, a nasty but powerful wizard who humiliated Nathaniel in front of several wizards. So Nathaniel summons a djinni, a moderately powerful demon named Bartimaeus, and charges him to steal a valuable amulet from Lovelace.

Told from the point-of-view of the demon, who has a wonderfully wicked sense of humor, the story sets up a world of magic and monsters in modern-day London. Once you get past the footnotes, the story is fun, unique, and captivating. Great to read aloud to older kids or to read in bed on your own.

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Bedroom Design: Big City Apartment Bedrooms

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Bedrooms in big cities don’t need to be tight, cluttered, and compact. In fact, some urban sleep spaces can be roomier and more comfortable than those in sprawling suburban houses. As a city dweller for most of my life and a New York City resident for nearly nine years, I can honestly say that I haven’t felt starved for space in my city bedrooms.

Let’s take a look at five stylish and well-designed bedrooms in different cities around the US.

New York City
Although it’s far from oversized, this Union Square bedroom with bright white walls gets plenty of natural light. We don’t miss the headboard since the artwork creates a colorful backdrop. A pair of pendant lamps keeps the design uncluttered in this simple Manhattan loft.

Chicago
Sleek and modern, this “Windy City” bedroom boasts dramatic lighting that becomes the focal point. You would never know that a busy city lies just beyond those windows. Sheers provide the right amount of privacy without completely sacrificing the light.

San Francisco
Tailored and comfortable, an eclectic San Fran bedroom pulls out all the decor stops introducing pattern, texture, rhythm, and harmony. I can’t imagine needing much more in a bedroom.

Atlanta
A black bed wall brings depth to this eclectic bedroom, which gracefully adds pinks and purples in the accessories.

Dallas
Bold and funky, you have to love the creativity used in decorating this Texas home. From the Pepsi clock to the little witch pillow, this apartment bedroom is filled with fun and whimsy.

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Breakfast in Bed – Prosciutto and Parmesan Frittata

Proscuitto Parmesan Frittata 8

Post by Alison Hein.

We’d been trying to get together with our wonderful neighbors Ann and Frank for ages. (You may recall Frank for his tantalizing Frittata Italiana-Mexicana posted here a few years back.) But with daily responsibilities, weekend commitments, and intermittent travel plans, we have been finding it increasingly difficult to coordinate all of our hectic schedules.

We finally decided to simply invite them, spur of the moment, for a glass of wine and some snacks. They immediately accepted, but offered dinner in return. We, in turn, immediately accepted, and offered to bring dessert. Thus, a mini-progressive dinner was born. (Anyone out there remember progressive dinners – appetizers at Neighbor A, soup or salad at Neighbor B, entrée at Neighbor C, and dessert at Neighbor D?

Proscuitto Parmesan Frittata 2

We decided to go with an Italian theme. I kept it simple and served fresh melon with prosciutto to go along with Ann’s amazing fresh pasta with Bolognese sauce, eggplant parmesan, and chicken parmesan. Dessert was fresh berries with zabaglione.

My breakfast recipe lightbulb went off the next day. How about a savory frittata (homage to Frank), replete with a few bites of delicately aged and salted prosciutto, and finished, Italian-style, with some zesty parmesan? A sprinkling of green basil at the finish, and a sweet side of juicy cantaloupe made a delightful spur-of-the-moment breakfast in bed.

Proscuitto Parmesan Frittata 3

Ingredients

2 tablespoons high-heat olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 slices prosciutto, cut into small pieces
7 eggs
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish
Fresh cantaloupe slices on the side (optional)

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Preparation

Pour olive oil into a 10-inch ovenproof heavy frying pan, and place on stove over medium heat. Add chopped onion to pan, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomato, garlic and prosciutto and cook for about 2 minutes more. Reduce heat to low.

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Break eggs into a large bowl, and whisk until smooth and thickened. Stir in ½ cup grated parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour egg-cheese mixture over onion-tomato mixture. Continue to cook, gently moving uncooked eggs back around the sides of the pan, until edges are set, about 7 to 9 minutes. Sprinkle frittata with remaining parmesan cheese. Place frying pan under broiler, about 5 inches from direct heat. Broil frittata until eggs are firm and do not jiggle, about 2 to 3 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately. Place a serving of fresh cantaloupe on the side, if you like.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.

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