Thursday, May 30, 2013

Recipe: Cucumber Dill Salad

In the spirit of all things summer, I wanted to share one of my favorite refreshing recipes. This is a perfect side dish for grilling – the dill pairs especially well with a good salmon burger or barbecue chicken. I am also obsessed with dill pickles, so this salad is an easy favorite (although it doesn't taste exactly like a pickle – it's better)! 

I N G R E D I E N T S :

1 English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1/4" or thinner
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (the original recipe calls for sour cream, but either tastes the same)
1/2 a lemon
3 Tbsp fresh dill, torn
Salt and pepper

D I R E C T I O N S :

1) Cut and slice your cucumber, and place slices in a colander. You're going to sweat the moisture out of the cucumbers before you put the salad together. Sprinkle kosher salt over the dukes (be generous) and let the colander sit where it can drain (in the sink, for example) for 30-40 minutes. Give them a good shake about halfway through to redistribute the salt.

2) Rinse the salt off the cukes, remove from colander and lay out on paper towels. Pat them dry, then transfer to a large bowl.

3) Add in the yogurt (start with a small amount, depending on how creamy you want it) and the dill. Stir to combine. Juice the lemon half into a separate bowl, remove the seeds, then add the juice a little at a time to the salad. Depending on how much moisture your cucumbers contain, you don't want to add too much lemon juice and have the salad get watery. Season with salt and pepper, and you're good to go! Keep refrigerated until serving. 

I typically don't make this too far in advance to prevent the yogurt and lemon mixture from breaking down, but it can sit nicely in the fridge for an hour or so, allowing the flavors to meld. 

Aren't summer salads the best? I'd love to hear some of your favorites!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beach Week

I just returned from a glorious week in Hilton Head — and feeling refreshed, bronzed, and ready for summer! It's hard to get back into the swing of things, but it's nice to get back to reality with a lasting vacation high. I'm sharing some pics from the trip today, then a few summer kickoff posts in the upcoming weeks (think recipes, backyard party essentials, and more nautical decor)!

Our ridiculous house – we stayed with 20 amazing women and all cooked, drank, and beached together.

Hoping the red cup will fool beach patrol...

My everyday beach pal/sister/cutie patootie

Memorial Day weekend seems to be the time when everyone is either returning or leaving for vacation – are you guys going on your summer vacation soon?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Nauti Style at Home: Carolina Coastal

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In honor of my upcoming trip to Hilton Head, this installment of Nauti Style is Carolina Coastal—a laid-back, seaside approach to nautical decor. Relaxing spa blues echo the tones of the ocean, and balance with sensible whites, linens, and natural materials to reflect the landscape. Airy curtains let in the light (and the sea breeze) with a pattern reminiscent of starfish shapes. A woven magazine basket also holds all of those fabulous beach reads you just can't travel without. And how cool is this seahorse lamp?

I'm already dreaming of the sun and sand, and the smell of ocean salt...

I'll be taking the next week off from posting, so I'll see you guys when I get back! If you want to live vicariously through my beach pics, you can follow me on Instagram or Twitter. Hope you enjoyed this little bit of seaside style — catch you soon!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Weekend

Happy Monday, everyone!

I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted, and my green tea's just not quite doing it for me. We had a busy (and fun) weekend over here, though, so at least I feel accomplished and ready to get this week over with (which sounds negative, but I leave for Hilton Head on Friday and I pretty much can't wait)! 

We hosted Sunday brunch for Mother's Day for both of our families, which was so nice, and also a great excuse to overeat and fill up on bloody marys and mimosas. 

This bar cart, I'm telling you, best DIY we've done. I love using it!

About to dig in

My little (or not so little) party helper, who just had his first haircut!

We took Cooper up to Detroit to pay a visit to our breeder, who gave him his first grooming and also put up his ears (no worries, this does not hurt him)! He was getting really shaggy, so he just got trimmed a bit in the body, and then quite a bit in the face. He looks like such a little gentleman now — he's growing up (tears)!

I finished off the weekend with a class at Pure Barre, which is my new obsession, and hopefully burned off some of that brunch indulgence. I have never been a big gym rat, so finding a fitness regime that's challenging but also really enjoyable for me is pretty rare. My first class was tough—but I came back for more, and I still crave it on my off days. The staff is so helpful and welcoming, which leads to such an encouraging environment. I couldn't recommend it more!*

I'm looking forward to getting in a few more last-minute classes before I head to the beach on Friday. Did you guys treat your moms (or yourself) yesterday? 

*This post was not sponsored – all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

DIY: Gold Art Deco Mirror

I've been hoping to share this DIY post for a while, but have been holding off because I haven't had the slightest clue what happened to my process photos. Those are, you know, usually helpful so you'd at least have a clue how we made this mirror! But alas, I've searched all of my devices and come up with nothing. So I'm sharing the final results with some instructions, and since you are all just so talented, I know you can figure it out!

This is a great way to give a plain, old, or cheap mirror a new life. This mirror has somehow been dragged from place to place each time we moved, despite us never liking it/having a place for it. When I put together my vanity table, I thought it would be the perfect fit, but just needed a little glam-ifying :) It's perfect to share this week, too, since The Great Gatsby premieres tomorrow, and we'll all be having a love affair with Art Deco after that!

You'll need:

A wood mirror
Fine grit sandpaper (300+)
Gold spray paint (or any color you choose)
Clear gloss spray lacquer
Blue painter's tape
Pencil and ruler

How to:

1) Gently run the sandpaper over the entire frame of the mirror, going with the grain of the wood. You're not trying to sand away imperfections, you just want to give a light buff to make it easier for the paint to stick. Wipe the dust off with a soft, dry cloth.

2) Put newspaper over the mirror area inside the frame, trying your best to tuck the newspaper under the wood frame to prevent any overspray from getting on the mirror. You don't need to tape it in place at this point.

3) Begin your measurements – start by measuring the dimensions of the entire mirror. Divide each length by two – this gives you your center points. Mark your center points on all four sides lightly with a pencil. You will do all of your measuring starting with those points and working your way out to the edges. Then, you'll want to do some simple math to determine where your stripes will be placed. Depending on how wide you want them to be (mine were about 1.5"), you can divide that into the space you have in each half (from center point to edge) to see how many stripes you can fit in. Then, you'll make pencil marks where your tape will go. It's tough to tape off diagonal lines, so I diagrammed it a bit below so you can get the idea:

4) Now, you'll tape off the areas where you want the wood to show through. Run the strips of tape around the inside lip of the frame and onto the newspaper (covering the mirror) to make a continuous line. Then, make sure your tape is sealed tightly to the surface of the wood by running your fingernail along the edge (key tip)! I left the areas around the center points untaped, to create a triangle shape. I think it adds that Art Deco touch, and makes the stripes look like they're radiating from those points.

5) Now, spray! You'll do two coats of gold, waiting a few hours between coats (or whatever is listed on the can). Let the gold paint dry overnight, then peel the tape off. Use a sharp x-acto blade to gently scrape any paint areas that might have snuck under the tape.You should hopefully be happy with the results, at this point, but it gets better!

6) Use the clear gloss lacquer over the entire frame (you'll need to re-set some newspaper back over the mirror), following the directions on the can. This not only sets the gold paint nicely, but gives the mirror a sealed, factory-like finish.

Let it dry, then hang and enjoy! I'm really happy we were able to give this mirror a second chance, because it was headed for the donation pile. The clear lacquer even makes the wood look richer than before, so it's a major improvement. I'm definitely happy to see it every morning when I get ready.

I think this would also be cool to do to a picture frame. That's why I love spray paint — you can use use it to transform just about anything. What have you guys been making over this spring? And who's going to see Gatsby?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Nauti Style at Home: Midwest

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I knew the second we bought our house that I wanted to infuse a little dose of nautical into every room. Decorating with a theme in mind, however, can start as "nautical inspired" and end up in "seafood restaurant" territory rather quickly. I'm not one to shy away from a challenge, so I've decided to do a little blog series about nautical decor, broken up by different regions and inspirations.

There is such a broad range of what it means to be "coastal," and the design influences vary as much as the geography. So I've started here in familiar territory—the Midwest—with a collection that looks a lot like my own living room.

Midwest-inspired nautical represents those of us living along the Great Lakes, or an inland body of fresh water. It's not pastel, or beachy, or ocean-inspired, but goes a little bolder. Prints are more graphic, colors a bit richer (think navy or cobalt) and textured neutrals add that bit of "grit" that us Midwesterners are so familiar with. Industrial accents, like the wire basket, are functional and bring that rust-belt touch to the room. A bit of metallic gold here and there (like the chevron pillow and round woven mirror) adds a bit of sophistication. And, of course, you need a killer model boat for your mantle. Add in lots of white and natural colors, and you'll have a balanced look that keeps your graphic patterns from looking too strong.

The driftwood candle hurricane shown here is actually from Anthropologie, but I did a DIY last year with driftwood from Lake Erie, which made it even more special! I linked to it under the image, if you'd like to give it a try.

In the rest of the series, we'll cover the west coast, the east coast, and everything in between. I'm also open to suggestions about cities/areas/types of nauti style for future posts, so if you guys have requests, leave them below in the comments! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

the style letters' Re-Launch Party

Last Sunday was the ever-so-awesome Madewell party to celebrate the redesign of the style letters! Not only was it a really fun shopping experience (how can it not be – the clothes are amazing) but everything down the flowers and the macarons complemented the design of the blog. Talk about attention to detail!

The blogger herself, and me — how cute is her map dress? Her dress, necklace, and my chambray top are all Madewell. 

Pink lemonade and pink blooms

A tray of treats – salted caramel and raspberry chocolate!

An array of Madewell's signature piece: the chambray shirt

One of many fitting room shots — I am obsessed with this skirt! They didn't have it in my size, or I would have definitely walked out with it. The two-tone chambray shirt was a definite keeper.

The loot I decided on — some brights, some stripes, some lace, and a few casual pieces

I could seriously shop here all day — I always find something unique, and the quality never fails to impress. It was even better to have a store full of shopping buddies — from Maria's friends and fans, to the amazing Madewell staff, there was someone there to give advice and/or enable your shopping habit.

You can see even more photos of the details and outfits over on the style letters. Congratulations, Maria, on being a super great client, having a brand new blog, and on a successful debut party!

The store we visited was located at Beachwood Place, so if you're local, be sure to stop in and say hello to Jen, Liz, and Bethany!