Luxe Loft: Collaboration with Fireclay Tile

Laid-back Luxe Inspired by a Minnesota Artist

My collaboration with Fireclay Tile is live and I could not be more excited to share the finished product with you! The "Luxe Loft" collection offers a blend of laid-back luxe using moody jewel tones and grounded neutrals. This is downtown style placed a against a backdrop of rich hues, organic finishes, and lustrous accents.

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A sculptural painting by the incredibly talented Sarah Lund Art (based out of Stillwater, MN) was the inspiration behind the concept.

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This stunning set of tiles includes a new glaze color by Fireclay Tile, Boundary Waters. The depth and richness of the color is gorgeous so definitely check it out.

Read the full Story, learn some of my favorite design tips, and order samples on the Fireclay website!

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Home Office Design Tips for Entreprenuers

My Top 5 Interior Design Tips for Your Home Office -Guest Post for Identité Collective

It's hard to believe but I've actually spent the majority of my Interior Design career as a self-employed creative entrepreneur. Not only have I learned a lot about business over the years, I have learned a lot about what it takes to efficiently and productively work from a home office.

Working from home and still getting the work done is a struggle for many entrepreneurs which is why I'm so excited to share the guest blog post I wrote for The Identité Collective, a full service creative studio serving boutique lifestyle brands. In this post I'll share my top five interior design tips for creating a productive and inspiring home office. 

You'll also get a a never-before-seen peek into The Indentité Collective founder's new home studio, including links to her favorite office furniture, decor and gadgets. If you like bright, white spaces you want to see this home office!

These tips work for everyone, no matter how much space you have in your home. Get my best home office design tips for entrepreneurs by clicking here

Can I Be a Minimalist and Still Own Tchotchkes?

Use these three simple questions to live a more minimalist lifestyle (and still own a few tchotchkes)

What comes to mind when you hear the word "minimalism"? A stark white interior? Only owning a prescribed number of items? To me, minimalism represents a pared down home and lifestyle. And at the same time, I own a few tchotchkes.

Even thought these items are decorative and not functional, they are items brought into my home, and kept in my home with careful consideration. 

This little sheep sits on my desk simply because he makes me smile. 

This little sheep sits on my desk simply because he makes me smile. 

Instead of looking at living a minimalist lifestyle as trying to avoid purchases or eliminate items in our life to the bare bones, I prefer to keep or acquire items based on the three simple questions below. If you're looking to live a minimalist lifestyle (and maybe own a few tchotchkes) you can use these questions too!

1.  Is this item useful? If so, is it actually used or will I actually use it? 

2. Why do I want to keep or purchase this item? Do I like my reason? You get to decide. 
What do I mean by "Do I like my reason?" Here is an example: I may simply find something beautiful and want to purchase it. There is a special spot in my office where I know it will fit perfectly. I like this reason - it feels fun to treat myself. Alternately, I may receive a gift that doesn't fit into my lifestyle. I feel guilt around giving it away so it sits in the closet. I don't like this reason - it feels heavy and burdensome. 

3. Would I invite this item into my life or buy it if I was purchasing it today? 

Asking these questions allows you to move away from an external vision of minimalism towards a minimalist lifestyle that rings true for you. Your answers provides a framework within which you can eliminate the distractions and clutter that build over time. They also allow you to focus on the items you feel are most important and hold the greatest value for you and your family.  

Every minimalist lifestyle and home will look different, and that's ok. The key is that we ask ourselves, on on regular basis, what objects add or subtract value from our lives. We answer honestly, act accordingly, and give ourselves the freedom to live with possessions that are meaningful to us in the present moment.  

Have you tried applying these questions to your belongings? Let me know how it goes? 

Interior Design Blogs with the Best Product Roundups

Let these interior design blogs narrow down the choices and do some of the shopping for you!

The vast number of interior design ideas and products available on the internet is an amazing opportunity for consumers to find the perfect piece for their space. At the same time, it can be incredibly overwhelming, not to mention time consuming, to sort through all of the options. This is one of the reasons I love finding interior design blogs with product roundups and design guides. This cuts down on the leg work, narrows down the choices, and provides a starting point. This can be really helpful, especially if you are not working with an interior designer who would typically take on this role. It's also an excellent way to find new resources and online shops that fit your aesthetic. Today I'm sharing some of my favorite interior design blogs for product round-ups. 

Fabric: Kufri - Samarkand - Purple & Pink

Fabric: Kufri - Samarkand - Purple & Pink

Style by Emily Henderson
If you don't follow Style by Emily Henderson you need to start. Whether you are looking for kid friendly sectionals, dining tables for every style, or the perfect office chair, this blog is a great place to begin. Roundups aside, Emily Henderson produces beautiful content, sharing her design process and vision in an authentic way. 

Design Sponge
Design Sponge is the first design blog I discovered and it continues to be a favorite. Not only does Design Sponge offer great roundups such as 10 Shops for Affordable Artwork and 10 Online Wallpaper Shops We Love, there are amazing home tours, interviews, and design related essays that you won't find anywhere else. 

Lark & Linen
Jacquelyn Clark, the interior designer behind Lark & Linen, has established a gorgeous blog over the years. Clark shares helpful roundups for items such as ready-made throw pillows, beautiful brass pulls, and the best gray paint colors. You'll also find posts on entertaining, fashion, and more.

Studio McGee
The husband and wife duo behind Studio McGee design beautiful interior spaces and produce an equally beautiful blog. You'll find a collection of decor highlights such as their favorite flushmount lighting, dining chairs, and cabinet paint colors.  Studio McGee also has an online shop that I recommend checking out. 

What are you favorite interior design blogs? 

Everyday Upgrade - Unbreakable Melamine Dinnerware

Summer Outdoor Dining Without the Worry of Breakage

Melamine dinnerware is lightweight and durable, making it perfect for outdoor dining and picnics. Its unbreakable nature allows you to enjoy summer outdoor dining without worrying about a shattered plate. Below I share some of my favorite melamine dinnerware sets to keep your summer dining simple, casual, and stylish.

Pottery Barn - Swirl Melamine Dinnerware
Each piece of the Swirl melamine collection has the beautiful appearance of hand-painted and glazed ceramics, but is completely unbreakable. The color selection is gorgeous!
 

Pottery Barn Swirl Melamine Dinnerwear

Kate Spade New York Melamine Collection
Kate Spade's New York collection features salad and dinner plates with fun phrases like "What a spread!" and "Salut!". The vibrant stripes and gold accents are are a playful addition to your summer spread.

Kate Spade New York Melamine Dinnerwear

Unison - Heller White Melamine Dinner Set
Heller's modern salad plates, dinner plates and soup bowls were designed in 1964 and remain timeless. These also stack perfectly for easy storage!  

Unison Heller Modern Melamine Dinnerwear

Q Squared - Heritage 12pc Melamine Dinnerwear Set
The Heritage collection from Q Squared offers a more traditional aesthetic with its delicate chrysanthemums and soft blue hues. Q Squared produces a large variety of unbreakable dinnerwear. Check out the Q Squared website for a variety of other designs. 

Q Squared Heritage Melamine Dinnerwear

Crate and Barrel - Regatta Melamine
The Regatta melamine dinnerware from Crate & Barrel features a  graphic maritime pattern and a classic navy and white color combination. 

Crate and Barrel Regatta Melamine Dinnerwear

Essential Kitchen Tools for Quick and Easy Meal Prep

A Peek Inside My Kitchen - The Imprecise Cook's Favorite Meal Prep Tools

To cook healthy, delicious meals at home doesn't require a lot of kitchen gadgets, but it does help to have some essential equipment to make food prep go quickly and smoothly. Today I want to share some of top choices for tools in the kitchen. Of course, you'll need some basics such as pots and pans, but these are the items I consider my "go-to" essentials.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Quick and Easy Meal Prep

Large & Small Cutting Board
Give yourself space to work. I have two Epicurean cutting boards and love them. They are pricier than some cutting boards but last so long it will pay for itself when you don't have to continually purchase replacements. For the large cutting board I suggest the 17.5" x 13" size. It's spacious enough to give you room to move around and keep scraps off to the side but not too big to be unwieldy. I also suggest purchasing one of the smaller sizes. The Epicurean cutting boards are dishwasher safe so I use a smaller size for cutting meat. The board is then easily sterilized in the dishwasher. 

Chef's Knife & Serrated Knife
If you are only going to purchase one knife make it a large Chef's Knife. Don't be intimidated by the large size. This tool makes quick work of all sorts of food prep. As a bonus tool, I also recommend a serrated knife for easily cutting through tomatoes, delicate fruits, and other items with slippery skins. Now, this should be obvious but don't forget to keep your knives sharp. Dull knives slow you down and make life more difficult than it needs to be. I've had my Wusthof Classic Chef's Knife and Wusthof Serrated Tomato Knife for 8 years and with proper care they show no signs of slowing down. 

Microplane Grater
A mircroplane grater is perfect for adding citrus zest or spices such as cinnamon to a dish. This tool has also replaced my garlic press. Using the grater is quick, ensures all of the garlic juices are utilized, and there isn't a smelly peel to pick out once you are done. 

Parchment Paper
I spent way too much time on clean up before I discovered parchment paper. Most of the time I Use it to line baking sheets before roasting vegetables. The If You Care brand of parchment paper is eco-friendly and the width works well with most baking sheets. 

Vitamix
I spent several years considering whether or not to purchase a Vitamix. There are so many loyal enthusiasts but at first glance the Vitamix appears to be just a expensive blender. A few years ago I finally purchased one and I can't imagine my kitchen without my Vitamix. Soups are my favorite reason to use the Vitamix. The high speed blades whip the ingredients into a creamy, delicious soup, minus any cream. Yes, you certainly use an immersion blender for this purpose but I find the results never quite match up. Aside from soups I use the Vitamix for smoothies, sauces, dressings, make-at-home Lara Bar concoctions, and more. 

Cuisinart
I inherited a Cuisinart food processor from a family friend and it really speeds up some tasks in the kitchen. Shredding cabbage, thinly slicing veggies, and making cauliflower rice with the grater attachment are some of my favorite ways to use this tool. Like the Vitamix, it's an investment, but you'll have it for years and years. 

Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup
I don't measure very often, thus the name The Imprecise Cook, but when I do, I reach for my Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup. It's compact compared to having multiple measuring cups of various sizes and serves as well-sized container to mix up small batches of homemade salad dressings and marinades. I also love all of the storage containers from Pyrex - perfect for storing leftovers to enjoy the next day. 

These are my essentials for quick and easy meal prep - what are your essentials in the kitchen? 

Everyday Upgrade - Gold Ring Dishes

Control Clutter with Pretty Gold Ring Dishes

Ring dishes are a lovely little way to control clutter. They can hold paper clips on your desk, store bobby pins on the bathroom counter, and of course, provide a safe spot for rings while cooking or washing hands.  I like that all of these ring dishes incorporate a gold element. Gold is a classic finish and also adds a little bit of glam to your interior décor. Below are five gold ring dishes that make for the perfect Everyday Upgrade.

Gold Ring Dishes Small Storage Bowls

Gold Facet Boxes - Jayson Home
The Gold Facet Boxes from Jayson Home feels large a jewel within which you can store your own jewels. Available in a large and small size so you can stack and store more.

Suite One Studio Confetti Mini Bowl
I adore the delicate, yet playful take on the ceramics from Suite One Studio. The Gold and White Confetti Mini Bowl is a great way to get introduced to the collections.

Susan Gordon Pottery
Another handmade option from Etsy, the ring dishes from Susan Gordon Pottery combine the two beautiful art forms of pottery and watercolor. I want one in every color.

Anthropologie
Giraffes are one of my favorite animals so this Giraffe Trinket Dish from Antrhopologie had to be included in the round-up!

Heather Nicole Designs
The gold scrollwork on this handmade ring dish from Heather Nicole Designs has excellent detail. The shop's ring dishes are also available in a variety of custom colors.

Do you have a favorite ring dish from this round up?

Everyday Upgrade - Coffee Mugs

My 5 Favorite Coffee Mugs for a Beautiful Morning
 

If you read my recent post, Don't Wait to Live Well: Elevate Your Everyday Life, you know I love a good cup of coffee. On mornings when I have a few extra minutes there is no greater pleasure that sitting down and drinking the coffee from a real coffee mug as opposed to running out the door with a to-go thermos. There is something about the warmth of the cup, sitting enjoying the view of my backyard, and maybe even sneaking a peak at a favorite design blog like Design Sponge. I prefer a large cup with a wide mouth, a handle that is easy to grasp, and a contour that fits the curve of my hand. I like to have a matching set for when I host a breakfast or brunch but when it comes to an everyday mug I prefer to have a variety of styles and designs so that I can select one that suits the mood of the day. Below is a round-up of my current favorites.

Anthropologie is one of my go-tos for beautiful coffee and tea cups. They offer a variety of beautiful designs, are great for everyday use, and they make great gifts. The painterly flora on the Paradise Found Cup and Saucer immediately caught my eye. I probably wouldn't use the saucer for coffee but it would be the perfect backdrop of an afternoon treat.

I'm also eyeing up the Latte Mug from Anthropologie. They are the perfect size and shape and the range of gorgeous colors offers something for everyone.  A lover of all things pink the Peach color is an obvious first choice but I also am drawn to the sophisticated Squid Ink color.

The Short Black and White Mug from March SF feels like a little piece of modern art in the form of a cup. This dishwasher safe, stonewear mug is made in San Francisco by local artisan Len Carella.

What the Faux Bois Mug from Brika lacks in color it makes up in texture.

I typically choose mugs with handles but I would make an exception for the sculptural Saturn Tumbler by Alli Walker. Named for the Saturn-like ring around the middle for resting your hands, this porcelain mug is handmade and finished with an soft, Celadon green glaze.

Whether you are a coffee or a tea drinker, what are your ideal attributes in a mug?