Don’t you love when an original idea hits you?

Mine usually just come out of nowhere. It’s a thrilling feeling for me. More often than not, it’s when my mind is really open to new ideas. Like when I’m trying to fall asleep, am driving to work, on a run or taking a shower.

However this idea came while peacefully picking peppers in the garden. The summer air was just cooling, the sun was slanting across the back yard, and the neighborhood had that just turning evening peaceful feeling, tempered with the slight hum of children playing and lawnmowers in the distance. This is ideal thinking time for me.

It was while looking at my plentiful pepper plants that a stuffed pepper recipe just came to me. Just like the mosquitoes that effortlessly come to me and

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers |

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers


  • 1 ½ cup of cooked barley
  • 1 bag of cooked fake meat crumbles, lightly seasoned with seasoning salt
  • 1 cup of chunky salsa
  • 4 green peppers
  • ½ cup to 1 cup of favorite shredded cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Wash peppers and cut off the very tops of the peppers, leaving at much stuffing room as possible. Clean out the seeds, leaving a hollow pepper.
  • Mix together barley, fake meat crumbles, and salsa in medium bowl.
  • Scoop mixture into peppers, pressing until each pepper is full.
  • Line peppers on baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes.
  • Take out of oven and sprinkle with cheese (how much you sprinkle depends on your cheese preference). Cook for 5 additional minutes.
  • Take out and enjoy!

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers |

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers |

I’d love to know if you make this recipe – real meat or not! Tag me with a picture on Facebook or Instagram to see your lovely creation!

  • Yummy! The peppers have been going to town in our garden. I’ll have to try using barley instead of rice the next time I make stuffed peppers.ReplyCancel

    • Apparently the peppers like the weather this summer! They did awful last year in my garden. I definitely recommend the barley! It’s my substitution for rice now!ReplyCancel

This week has been the most random, oddball kind of week. The kind when you start the day with a list of things you think you will accomplish and by the end of the day having done a bunch of random things but nothing on your list. Oh well, real life, you win again. You also amuse me most of the time. Thankfully.

With this random week almost behind me, I thought I would bring the randomness to the blog. By random, I mean through random items we’ve gotten (thrifted, gifted, and new home additions) that you have yet to see on the blog. Some have a special spot in the home already; others are randomly waiting in the middle of rooms or perched on shelves waiting to find their special space.

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

Let’s start with this giant art beauty that I picked up at the DAV thrift store for $6. It is 90′s and colorful and mod and I love it. Right now it’s just going the leaning game around the house, but that’s just because we’ve been too lazy to hang it in our bedroom. It will be replacing the owls. Don’t the colors match perfectly?

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

These are a fun little small gift that my Dad’s wife picked up for us. Isn’t this the coolest salt and pepper set? It’s so woodsy and industrial. It makes me want to grind pepper all day long.

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

This Eames chair we bought from a friend may be the crowning glory (and most expensive but still a deal) of all of our items. Eric and I have both loved these types of chairs for quite some time, so even though we are torn on where to put it, we knew it was a smart buy for us.

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

Eric’s favorite suggestion of where to put it? Get rid of the dining room table and put it there. I could be convinced….

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

Also, we might end up recovering the ice blue linen. We like it but were thinking something white might be fun. We’ll see…and we’ll also show you if it ends up in the Mego Cave, living room, bedroom or basement. Choices, choices…

I’m SO excited about this moment of glory in our living room. I’m the girl who loves a comfy blanket all year round. My cousin-in-law gave me a super snuggly one for Christmas that I have been using every day. However, I like the tucked away blanket look when I’m not using it and this super plush blanket didn’t have a really good hiding place. I had the light bulb moment of a storage ottoman that could also be my purse holder AND extra seating PLUS blanket holder.

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

I found this one on Joss & Main and snatched it right up. I love the emerald green and lushness of the velvet. Plus, tufting is always a win in my book.

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

Finally, moving down to the basement, we have this cube bookcase (on castors!) that is having a random moment in the middle of the basement. We have some ideas on where this should go too, but right now it just holds a few cars. We’re thinking this is going to stay in the basement to hold even more of Eric’s cars but it needs to be in a place where it makes a little more sense.

The Gifted, Thrifted, and New Home Additions |

So how’s that for random? But aren’t all those pieces so much fun!? Which one is your favorite? Any ideas of where some of the misplaced items should go?

  • i am glad i am not the only one who uses a blanket on the couch year round! and i LOVE that eames chair- SWOOOOOON!
    and your new art rocks, too!ReplyCancel

    • Blankets forever and for all seasons! I think I am colder in the summer than in the winter. That darn A/C freezes me!

      Yes, I totally agree on the Eames chair. I swoon right into every day. :) ReplyCancel

  • I use a blanket year round, too! Your ottoman is a perfect place to store one when you aren’t using it.

    I need to learn more about Eames. Is this a vintage chair??ReplyCancel

    • Paula, this Eames chair is a reproduction but you can also buy the real deals – new and vintage I believe. I don’t think this one is all that old either. They were designed by Ray and Charles Eames for their Herman Miller furniture company. It is just a classic mid century type of chair.ReplyCancel

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Tide OXI Multi-Purpose Stain Remover. All opinions are 100% mine. 

With school buses starting to circulate the neighborhood,  the sounds of the marching band wafting over to our house from the nearby high school, and recent unseasonable cool, humid-free summer days, my mind is definitely starting to think of fall and all it brings.

The cool night, beautiful colors, and cozy nights in by our fireplace.

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

In our case, that means an electric fireplace that we love and makes it no less cozy in our warm, color-drenched living room.

However, the fireplace box did need a little sprucing up to get it ready for daily use come September (oh well, let’s be real – the fireplace has been turned on a couple times this summer to up the cozy factor).

Our electric fireplace is basically a black box; a black box that is mostly hidden in the dark fireplace box. However, it was only dark because of the dirty soot stains left behind from its wood burning days. It was a just dirty, uneven mess that I knew could be better.

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

The plan: clean the fireplace box and then paint it a nice even black.

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

Step 1 was cleaning out the fireplace box. I decided to use Tide OXI Multi-Purpose Stain Remover (purchased at The Home Depot). I love that Tide is branching out from the laundry room and making a product that can be used to clean just about anything around the house. It can be a laundry booster, a upholstery cleaner…or a fireplace box cleaner!

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

After taking out the electric fireplace and vacuuming out the dead bugs hiding under it (ew!), I made sure to protect the slate around the fireplace by putting down a plastic drop cloth and then another fabric one on top (just because I kept sticking to the plastic one).

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

Then I mixed the Tide OXI Multi-Purpose Stain Remover according to the instructions on the box (basically one scoop of cleaner for every 4 scoops of warm water). Make sure you use warm water to help dissolve the powder to get a really good solution.

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

Once I had my solution mixed in a bucket, I used a bristle brush to scrub, scrub, scrub! It was a continual process of dip, scrub, dip, scrub. I changed the solution a couple of times as the water blackened. It was definitely an intense little scrubbing session but the Tide worked like a charm!

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

Here you can just see the dirt dripping down (and off) the brick!

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

After my last Tide scrub I did one pass over with the bristle brush and plain water just to get everything washed away. It really was an incredible difference!

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

Step 2 was painting the fireplace box.

Now, a word of warning for this step. Since we use an electric fireplace it doesn’t get all that hot in the fireplace box. However, for those of you who use gas or regular logs, you may just want to clean it and be done.

I used Rust-Oleum’s High Heat paint in satin black (also bought at The Home Depot) that is meant for temperatures up to 1200 degrees.

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

After I taped around the slate, I used a cheap paint brush that I could just throw away after using it and started painting. It was a fairly quick process, even with all those mortar seams. Here was my first coat, splotchy but still looking nice!

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

After my second coat I was finished!

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

I love the look, especially after I loaded our electric logs back in. The black box almost disappears – just like I was hoping!

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

How to Clean and Paint a Fireplace Box |

Now we are definitely ready for those chilly fall nights so we can curl up in our cozy living room with the fire on!

  • Wow, what a difference! I saw Tide Oxy on a commercial and have been wanting to try it on a vintage chaise lounge I got from my grandmother. It’s vinyl, cream upholstery that is very dingy from years of dust and not being cleaned regularly.

    Can’t hurt to try!ReplyCancel

    • Thank you Sharon! You should definitely try Tide on your chaise lounge! I was so pleased on how it worked on the fireplace. Plus, they said it can be used on upholstery and various other surfaces. Just make sure to make the solution with very warm, almost hot water to help dissolve the Tide.ReplyCancel

  • That had to be a dirty job and now your fireplace looks so good! I am really impressed with all of the jobs around the house that I’ve tried with Tide Oxi. It worked so well on my bathroom tile that I volunteered myself to help my friend clean hers.ReplyCancel

    • Thank you so much! I definitely need to try the Tide with grout. Although I don’t know if I would ever offer my service to someone else for it! I’m impressed!ReplyCancel

Two people walk into a room. One slice of chocolate chip zucchini bread lies between them. Eying each other cautiously they begin to circle, wondering to themselves, “Who will make the first move?”

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Recipe |

All it takes is a slight shift of the finger and the two swoop down on the bread, hoping to be the lucky winner of the last piece of chocolate chip zucchini bread.

Okay, that might be slightly dramatic, but I promise, if you were ever going to fight someone for food, this is the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Recipe |

I can say that because this recipe is 100% Sally’s Baking Addiction’s and I’m just here to pass this on (in the height of zucchini season) and urge you to MAKE THIS NOW!

Although, while it can technically be called bread, it’s definitely more cake like in ingredients so perhaps pair it with a healthy side when you gobble it down for breakfast (or for that 11am/3pm snack).

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Recipe |

This oh so decadent bread with its chocolate chips, hidden vegetables, and oh-so-gush worthy oatmeal streusel on top is the hing bake sales could be made famous for.

It really is that good.

Let me tempt you with delicious pictures.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Recipe |

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Recipe |

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Recipe |

Now click on over to check out the recipe so you can make it this weekend! You won’t be sorry!

  • Yum! I adore zucchini bread and have never had it with chocolate chips. I’ll have to try this.ReplyCancel

    • I definitely think you should! I do wonder where I picked up the chocolate chip part of this recipe. It doesn’t seem like a southern thing. Everyone I work with was confused about the chocolate chips…but were more than okay with it once they tasted it!ReplyCancel

Top of the day to you wonderful people, you! I hope you are having a sparkling day. That’s what my sister likes to tell me. Isn’t it such a fun statement. I always remember walking out the door for school and hearing my sister say, “Have a sparkling day!” So I pass that on to you.

Anyways, another item that made my day sparkle was when my friend and fellow blogger Paula of Virginia Sweet Pea asked me if I wanted to do the Tour Through Blogland with her. It sounded like fun so I was in.

Basically, I’m going to feature some other great bloggers that I thought you may be interested in and then let you in some behind the scenes info about myself.



First off let’s talk about my super creative – and local friend – Paula. I met her last year at Haven Conference and am SO glad I did. We probably never would have met otherwise even though we only live 20 minutes away from each other.

Haven Conference Recap 2014 with VIDEO |

Paula is all of the way on the left.

I’m always impressed with Paula’s creativity and super detailed and impressive projects. She can make the craftiest wreaths or really intensive woodworking projects. One of my favorites is her Plow and Hearth Knockoff Chevron End Table. It looks exactly like the pricey one but was a fraction of the cost. Plus, she got to do it with her husband, which probably makes it even that much more special.


Make sure to head over to Paula’s site to browse around and check out her awesome project gallery.

About Me

I’ve been blogging for 2 1/2 years and love having a creative outlet like this! I started this blog just a couple of months after I quit an all-consuming job that didn’t let me have a life – or hobby – at that. It was fun to realize, once I had time to breathe and think about something besides my job, that I was craving more creativity in my life. Plus, it would allow me to share my life with my friends and family – most of whom are out of town.

My current day job is working as a Communications Coordinator at our local water company. If you ever told me that I would not only work for a water company but LOVE working there, I wouldn’t have believed you. It just goes to show that if you work for and with great people, it makes a wonderful work environment. Plus, I was basically able to write my own job description which is pretty darn cool.

I am also a travel lover. I have been fortunate to spend time (in college) in some pretty amazing places, like China, Australia, New Zealand, France and Spain. Eric and I have big plans on travelling for the rest of our lives.


Oh yes, I am married to my best friend, man of my dreams, and my perfect counterpart. He was recently described as, “If you were more patient, you would be asleep”. Which is what I need in a husband since I can be…err…kind of high-strung and fiery, just like my hair.


What am I working on right now?

Well, I tend to have quite a few projects going on at once. I have a bunch of wood leaning against the wall in the other room waiting for me to make a bench out of it for our back deck.

Projects I

I have paint swatches strewn out in our master bathroom as I am painting every single surface in that room – plus I need to add some major style to it with accessories and artwork.

And, like always, we are thinking about making some changes to our living room, since it seems to be the room that we can never seem to figure out. Many chairs, layouts, and rugs have come and gone in that room. Thinking about changing it up again. Geesh!

How to make a curtain rod from an electrical conduit |

How does my work differ from those in this genre?

Well, I am the girl who embraces all of the color, all of the time, but has a husband with likes things a little bit more toned down. So it’s fun making that work together. Plus, we like to mix traditional and modern, which can also be interesting. But decorating – it’s all be done before, right?! So what really makes the difference between me and everyone else? Well, I like to think it is me. In all my interesting, quirky, pensive, funny ways. I hope that comes across in my projects and writing. Plus, I don’t just stick to decorating. I like to branch out with vegetarian recipes, desserts, and travel posts.

Why do I write/create the way that I do?

Basically, I can’t help it. I LOVE doing anything creative. It’s in my blood. I think it started with my mom, who always had our house perfectly decorated. It wasn’t a showroom, but a lived in style that was meticulously and gorgeously done – even if it was classic country chic. Decorating and DIY are just part of who I am – it’s where my thoughts wander almost constantly.

How does my writing/creative process work?

Well my creative process just kind of bounces around to what needs to be done in the house or what just isn’t setting well with me. I tend to think a lot before making any type of decision. Or if something isn’t quite gelling with me in our house, staring at it really helps me figure out what’s wrong and what I can do to make it better. Or sometimes it takes getting out of the house and hitting a thrift store to open up a new creative vein!

Now, let the Tour of Blogland Continue with…

Amy blogs at Always Never Done. We met at Haven this year and let me just say, she is a blast to hang out with! I had so much fun attending some classes with her and getting to know her. Plus, her blog is so fresh and creative.

Alwats Never Done

A simply complex gal from the heart of the PA country side. A mom, wife, dog lover and DIY fanatic. I can and will Up-Cycle just about anything and turn into a functional and beautiful work of art. I also revamp run down furniture, paint it and sell it a local shop in my hometown.

She loves painting wall in creative ways, as shown in her herringbone ceiling project (which is a stunner)!

Herringbone Painted Ceiling | Always Never Done

Lindee is a blogger at The Lindee Tree - and is also a new local friend! We also met at Haven this year and fun fact - she is a regular on Daytime Blue Ridge – the show that I’ve been on a few times.

The Lindee Tree

I am a right-brained, American woman married to a left-brained Indian man. I love art, design, up-cycling and multiple DIY projects at the same time. He loves simplicity and order. I try to combine our personalities and cultural differences through art, design, food, and raising kids.

Outside of writing the blog, I run a small business of “odd jobs.” I host a variety of art/design events in the Roanoke Valley, design and host “Living with Lindee,” (a lifestyle and design segment,) for NBC, WSLS 10 “Daytime Blue Ridge,” and teach cooking classes at the “Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op.” 

I love her dining room makeover project. It’s gorgeous and her chairs were actually featured in HGTV magazine!
Last, but certainly not least, is another local friend I met at Haven. Carrie blogs at Lovely, Etc. We didn’t get much time to talk at Haven but Carrie was just so sweet in those couple of minutes we talked that I can’t wait to get to know her better!
Carrie Lovely Etc

I love figuring out new ways to make my home tell a beautiful story without blowing my family’s budget.

I love the moment when you see some old piece of junk and a spark ignites and you suddenly know how to make it beautiful and desirable and useful and loved again.

I love feeling like I can do whatever I put my mind to.

Lovely Etc. is a place to join together with others who know that inexpensive doesn’t mean ugly. That beautiful doesn’t mean trendy. Who want their homes to reflect the things that make them feel happy and safe and comfortable.

I love her bold use of color and style – like in this painted plank wall.


I hope that you enjoyed meeting my friends and make sure to check out all their awesomeness on their blogs. Plus they’ll be hosting the Tour Through Blogland next week, so make sure to check back for those posts!

  • Thank you so much for the awesome feature! I’m so glad that we met through our blogs and I can’t wait to hang out with you again, hopefully very soon!ReplyCancel

  • Thanks for sharing! –and what creative ladies. Love your curtains. I am getting ready to re-do my husband’s office and need to make some. My son’s favorite part of this post is you on the camel. Ha! Great picture!ReplyCancel

    • Haha! I love camels!

      Sounds like a fun curtain project ahead of you too! I was glad I was able to introduce you on my blog…along with all the other creative ladies too!ReplyCancel