Decor, Home, Travel

Sunset Tower

A few weeks ago I traveled to LA for a photo shoot for my day job and I had the pleasure of staying at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood. The hotel has loads of Hollywood history dating back to 1929. It used to be a residence for the elite stars of the time including Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. Now, it’s a beautiful hotel that serves as host for the Vanity Fair Oscar party — and guests like me.

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Let’s take a look at my tiny — but totally beautiful — room.

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And a closer look at that killer view. LA-044

I loved all the brass fixtures in the bathroom.

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I mean, look at those sconces.

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And the table lamps in the room were stunning, too. This tall drink of water is so simple and gorgeous.

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And this spindly beauty is thin and gorgeous but no, it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase. Kidding.

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 My accommodations on my second night in LA were even more interesting. A good friend of mine from NYC moved to the west coast last year and she invited me to spend a night at the beautiful house she and her family are renting in Calabasas. The guest room in her house (complete with my own bathroom) was bigger than my room at The Sunset Tower. And — get this — it had a massive balcony with a view of the home across the street that just happens to belong to someone famous. In the spirit of privacy, I won’t tell you who it was but I’ll just say that her initials are KK and she has two kids and two sisters with the same initials. I think you can guess who I mean. Wink wink…

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More travel posts coming soon!

XO

Sue at Home

Decor, Home, My house, Uncategorized

Foyer Update: New Lighting and Stools

As I told you when I revealed our new foyer table, the lighting I had there was just borrowed from the bedroom and I knew I needed to find something else. Here’s a refresher of the foyer table with the borrowed light:

After the table went in, I went on a lamp shopping spree at Target but none of the options were quite right.

Since then, the foyer has gone through a couple changes. You may have noticed a couple of them when you saw our foyer on Apartment Therapy. (What? You missed that?? Well, our living room–which includes this foyer area–was featured on Apartment Therapy last year. Yup. It sure was!) Anyway, we were using an old mirrored lamp with a quick-fix shade from Target but I wasn’t crazy about it. We also got a new runner from Ballard for a song. It’s an indoor/outdoor rug so it’s super durable which is just what we needed. Is it a perfect forever runner? Probably not. But it’s good for now. (You can pick one up here.)

And then I revealed the little “hi” in the foyer back in November.

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And it even got a brighter gold update back in this post:

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But let’s get back to the hunt for a lamp…

Like I told you back in October, I was eagerly waiting for Nate Berkus’s collection to hit Target and when it did, I was there. It took a little hunting (read the harrowing tale here) but I found the lamp I wanted.

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I figured I would just update this post that I started last fall with a nice picture of the Nate lamp and say it was all done.  But…womp, womp…it wasn’t quite perfect. Believe me, I really wanted to love it but it just felt kinda wimpy and just not quite right.

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 …and I didn’t like the way the shade looked with light shining through it. (Yes, I know it still has the plastic on and yes, I know you’re not supposed to put it on like that but how the hell else are you supposed to see how it looks with light shining through?! I promise I just held it over the bulb for a few seconds, Mom.)

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So, back to the drawing board. I picked up another lamp from Target with a panelled shade and that’s filling the space now. (I can’t seem to find either on the site right now so I guess they’re sold out but they’re both from the Threshold line which is killing it so go check out what else they have here.) It’s pretty but it’s not the lamp of my dreams.

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So what would the lamp of my dreams be, you ask? Of, I don’t know. Probably something like the Robert table lamp from Matthew Studios in Amethyst:

Or the Veronica in quartz:

If you’re interested in purchasing one of them for me and you have the $3500 required to get one, you can go to rareculture.com to pick it up.  (Actually don’t. That’s gross. If you have $3500 to spend on a table lamp, please just use the money to make a donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for me. Thanks.)

You’ll also notice that we finally got some stools that sit on either side of the table. I might be DIYing a little addition to them soon I won’t into too much detail here but they’re from Serena and Lily and yes, they come with the dipped legs. Cute, right?

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My little foyer is still a work in progress but it has come a long way since this!

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XO

Sue at Home

Before and After, Decor, Home, My house

House Tour: Living Room

This is another one of those posts where I’m like, “What? I didn’t write that post yet?”. I mean, I’ve talked about our living room’s gallery wall and pink chair plus every detail of our foyer (which is part of our living room), but I’ve never talked about the living room itself. It’s even been featured on Apartment Therapy and yet I haven’t given you a full tour of the room! So, since I’m sure you’ve been dying to know where I got every last bit of it, here is the full tour and resource list. (And of course a beige-tastic “before” photo to start things off!)

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Paint: Benjamin Moore Teal

Rug: RugsUSA

Frames: Kohls

Manhattan Map: These Are Things

NYC area art: Aaron Straup Cope from 20×200

Canvas prints: Shutterfly

More detailed info about the gallery wall can be found here.

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Media Console (we have two pushed together):  CB2

Copper balls: Design Within Reach Annex (read their interesting history here and here)

Apple Bookends: Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler

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Woven rag bench: Threshold at Target

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Chair: PB Teen with my custom dye job (no longer available at PB Teen so try this one instead)

Je T’aime pillow: Atsuyo et Akiko

Garden stool: Home Goods

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Roman shades: Handmade by the former owner. They came with the house!

Arc lamp: CB2

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Brass candlesticks: Unique Thrift store (about $2 a piece!)

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Coffee Table:  old one from Pottery Barn (similar here)

Couch:  really old one from Macy’s (similar here)

Pillows: printed on left (Country Lanes via Etsy), Monglian lamb (Pier 1, similar here), printed in middle (Nora Jane via Etsy), velvet (Crate and Barrel, similar here), printed on right (Eleen via Etsy)

Pink cashmere throw: Ann Taylor (Yup, you read that right! It was from a few years ago.)

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Lucite Tray:  Jonathan Adler

Brass bowl: Nate Berkus for Target (no longer available)

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Foyer table:  Serena and Lily (Scored for less than $100! Read the story here.)

Lamp: Target base and shade

Chevron bowl:  Jayes via One Kings Lane

Runner:  Ballard Designs

Mirror:  it was my grandma’s :)

Hi letters:  Land of Nod with Krylon Metallic Spray Paint (read the tutorial here)

Orange frame:  C. Wonder

Brass bowl:  Nate Berkus for Target (no longer available)

More about the foyer in these posts: the inspiration, the decorations, the table, and the reveal.

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Dining Room and Hallway Paint: Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray

Antique chest:  My parents bought it at a neighbor’s yard sale over 20 years ago!

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Map:  Future Map

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Snake tray – Furbish

Skull box – a gift

Brass bunny – Antiques and Collectibles Too (read about where I found him here)

Turquoise vessel – TJ Maxx

Chevron urn – Nate Berkus for Target (no longer available)

Hope you enjoyed the Living Room tour. It sure is a lot more colorful than it used to be!

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Check out more House Tour posts here.

XO

Sue at Home

Decor, Home, Travel

Travel: A Visit to The Standard Miami

In mid-December, I travelled to Miami to shoot a fashion story for my day job. Though I was in Miami for about 30 hours only, I was lucky enough to be staying at the Standard Miami, a relaxing and beautiful hotel that is a far cry from the insanity of South Beach. It’s known for it’s spa but with a long shoot day, I only had time to check out the grounds, sleep, and eat. The decor was great so I took a few pictures to share with you.

The check-in desk (Photo from the Standard Miami website. The rest are all mine!)

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In the restaurant that’s in the lobby. Love the staghorn fern.

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The Readery with Warby Parker eyewear – and magazines and newspapers, of course. If you don’t know about Warby Parker yet, you should. For every pair of glasses they sell, one is distributed to a person in need.

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This display is at the entrance to the Bar and Lounge, a beautiful mid-century decorated space.

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This was the scene outside of my room. There was a curtain you could close but I still can’t imagine getting into that tub that’s sitting out in the open. Then again, I was travelling for business. Get a few drinks in me and…maybe?

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The guest rooms are simple – sort of Scandinavian meets summer camp. I thought the fabric hanging behind the bed was kind of drab but the idea is great.

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The sink was really interesting: a Carrera marble bowl sitting in a wooden stand.

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The shrub-lined walkway from the lobby to the water.

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The entrance to the Lido restaurant.

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Lido. Have the skirt steak with a side of their award winning tater tots.

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The pool at sunset.

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I loved the Blue Bunny machine in a little cabana of it’s own.

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Overlooking the bay.standard-miami-090

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The firepit.

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The swing garden with the firepit in the background.

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 While I was searching for other pictures of the hotel online, I found a great hotel resource: oyster.com. I don’t know if everyone and their mother has been using this site already and I’ve just been living under a rock. (I hope not because then you’re all in trouble for not telling me about it.) It’s a photo-driven travel site with real pictures taken by real people. So, instead of a hotel’s picture of the pool that features one gorgeous model in a white bikini, you get to see what it really looks like when it’s filled with dudes with beer bellies. So many dudes with beer bellies that you can’t get a seat. Ha ha!  But you get the idea though.

 Oyster.com‘s pictures of the Standard Miami were pretty similar to mine (which doesn’t surprise me because, ya know, I actually stayed there) but check out out some of these comparison’s from their site. The photos on the left are each hotel’s pictures, the ones on the right are from Oyster.com’s “Special Investigators”.

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Of course, now I’m obsessed with it and I can’t stop checking out all the places I’ve stayed at and everywhere I’ve ever wanted to stay! Hope you’re planning some fun travel soon. If so, tell me where you’re going! We’re counting the days to Aruba…

For other Sue at Home travel features, check out these posts:

A Visit to Hidden Pond

Three Days in Kennebunkport, Maine

Decor Ideas from Tides Beach Club in Maine

Our Wedding: Newport, Rhode Island

Revel in Atlantic City

XO

Sue at Home

Before and After, Decor, Home, My house

House Tour: Master Bedroom

If you feel like you’ve already seen our master bedroom, you’re right. But you see, I realized when I was writing about all the Urban Outfitters stuff in our house that even though I wrote a lot of posts about our master bedroom (8 in total!), I never gave a proper piece-by-piece room tour with resource listings. (Bad blogger!) So, here it is.

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Headboard – found in the garbage room of my first apartment about 20 years ago!

White sheets and white pillow casesLands’ End

Duvet cover – Lands’ End (No longer available. Similar available…well,nowhere!! Read all about my hunt for it here.)

Bed skirt – JC Penney (No longer available)

Shams – Urban Outfitters (No longer available. Similar here.)

Chevron pillow – Lands’ End (No longer available. Similar here.)

Linen PillowAtsuyo et Akiko (I’ve now moved it to my living room where it sits in the pink chair.)

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 RugUrban Outfitters

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Nightstands – Pottery Barn (No longer available. Similar here.)

Lamps on Nightstands – Martha Stewart  from way back – before the Macy’s & Home Depot lines – when she carried stuff like this on her website. (Similar here.)

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Pill-shaped carafe and glassJonathan Adler

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Printed curtains – Urban Outfitters  (No longer available. Similar here.) Find out how I magically lengthened them here.

Black curtain rodsIkea

White curtains – Ikea (No longer available. Similar here.)

Hidden curtain rodHome Depot (A genius solution when you want two curtains. Check out the price!)

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Vintage dresser – Craigslist

FramesPottery Barn

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Lucite tray – Home Goods (similar here)

Square Bowl – gift so I don’t have a resource (similar here)

Footed bowl – I had this for so long, I can’t remember where I got it! (similar here)

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DresserIkea

For Like Ever posterSuper-Rural

Poster frameTarget

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Frame with necklacesPottery Barn (I spray painted it black)

Wrapping paper in frame – Old Navy (no longer available)

Black lacquered boxContainer Store

Red metallic pigDaytrip Jr.

It’s still a work in progress (I mean, why would you ever want to STOP decorating?) but it’s come a long way from the bland creamy cream room it once was, huh?

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For more posts about our master bedroom, check out these links:

Master Bedroom Inspiration: Olatz Schnabel

The Hunt for Master Bedroom Bedding

DIY: Lengthening our Master Bedroom Curtains

I Will Love This Poster For Like Ever

Jewelry Storage: A Work in Progress

Jewelry Storage: Phase 2

DIY: Quick and Easy Jewelry Display

 What’s Wrong With My Bedroom

XO

Sue at Home

Decor, Shopping

An Architectural Gem: Urban Outfitters in Westfield

I live in an awesome town. I pinch myself quite often that I get to raise my kids here. In addition to the nice people, great schools and decent proximity to NYC, one of my favorite things about Westfield is the downtown shopping area. It’s filled with great stores ranging from Mom & Pop places like Brummer’s Chocolates (since 1904!) and Bovella’s Pastry Shoppe (they recently made Bruce Springsteen’s life size guitar-shaped birthday cake) to chains like Williams-Sonoma, Gap Kids, and Clare’s (obvs my girls’ favorite mecca of fine accessories!). Our town even won a Great American Main Street Award – the only town in New Jersey to have that honor.

Until recently, our own little flatiron-esque building was left unoccupied after a bank closed it’s doors over 4 years ago. It’s a beautiful building in the center of the shopping district and it really was a crime to have it sitting vacant for so long. But, good news! A week before Christmas, a new Urban Outfitters opened in that spot and I went to check it out.

Isn’t the building stunning?

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I was thrilled to see that the architect, Dennis Flynn (according to the Westfield Patch) maintained the original look of the bank, including the pillars and tall windows with security grates on them.

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Inside, there’s more of the original bank: Industrial beams mixed with detailed dentil molding and a spectacular ceiling medallion under a skylight.

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They put some drywall in but there is also a lot of exposed brick and details of the original structure. (I wonder if the clock was from the bank.)

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I read in The Alternative Press that the builders had to petition to have some of the windows lowered.

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A mix of materials.

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The thick, dark stairs are a great compliment to the lightness of the moldings.

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I loved the wood paneled room with a marble fireplace in the back, which houses a shoe area. Industrial pipes were added for shelving but the rest of the room is original. The Alternative Press referred to it as the President’s Room and I can just picture an old-school looking bank president presiding at a big oak desk in front of the fireplace. (I’m imagining a comb-0ver, aren’t you?)

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I was totally inspired by this cool display in the president’s room. These are the things that make my gears turn and have me wishing that I had a carpenter as a BFF.

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The checkout counter is simple and highlighted with industrial pendants. (That small door to the left leads to the president’s room.)

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I loved this magnet thing outside of the fitting room on the top balcony where the menswear is carried. (I’m calling it a “thing” because I don’t know what else to call it. Tool-that-tells-the-salespeople-how-many-items-you-brought-into-the-fitting-room? It’s certainly cooler than a plastic sign with a big 5 on it, right?)

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Our favorite feature of all was the original bank vault (which dates back to 1922). You can see it in the basement at the bottom of the stairs.

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Sale items are kept in the bank vault.

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A great view of the ceiling detail. And a cute kid.

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As for what’s carried at the store, it’s a classic Urban Outfitters with lots of clothes and accessories for men and women plus some gift items. (They even have classic records for sale!) I always find myself wishing that UO stores carried the home items that are on their website. As you know, I have lots of UO home stuff and I think it’s fun, colorful, and best of all, cheap! For some Urban Outfitters home items in my house, check out these links: UO dining room curtains, UO master bedroom curtains, UO master bedroom rug.

Happy shopping!

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XO

Sue at Home

Decor, Travel

Revel in Atlantic City

As we reach the end of the year, I’m trying to catch up on “lost posts” – ya know, those things that I took pictures of because I wanted to share them with you and then I never got around to it. So, with that, here are some pics of the Revel resort in Atlantic City that we visited in August. (August! I know. Sorry!)

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The wall behind the check-in desk has a digitized camo pattern.

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One of the restaurants features a living wall.

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The look of the hotel is overwhelming modern. Quite often, it was a little too modern for my taste but still very cool for a hotel.

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Even the foosball table in the gameroom is ultra-slick.

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Even with all the slickness, there were some great design ideas to be had. Some of the lounges that were at the bottom of the elevator banks had a wall with wood blocks in different tones. I think it was a really interesting treatment and it’s a great way to warm up a modern space. (It reminded me of this room from an old episode of The Antonio Project on HGTV.)

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Oh…and hello James Nares print! I love that little beauty hiding in the corner. He’s one of my favorite artists. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, check out this post from Habitually Chic. (The best picture is the last one that shows how he makes his paintings. It’s very Tom-Cruise-in-Mission-Impossible!)

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I loved all of the bookshelves with painted backs. There were only a few coffee table books on the lower shelves but mostly there were just toys and objects.

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Another totally inspiring idea came from this display that hangs in a multi-story atrium.

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I tried to zoom in really close to see how it was done and it looks like you could make your own with fishing wire and stiff gold paper or sheet metal.  Stay tuned for a little DIY action when I figure out where I want to put that in the house.

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The outdoor areas of the resort are really interesting. The buildings are so slick and modern but there was lots of greenery. We were loving these huuuuuge rocking chairs.

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The architecture in the hotel was beautiful. I loved all the curved glass walls. But you can’t help but look around and say cha-ching cha-ching!

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We were in Atlantic City because Pablo had gotten tickets to take me to see Duran Duran for my 40th but unfortunately that didn’t work out very well. BOOOOOOOOO!

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But luckily the hotel was beautiful and we had a great time with great friends despite the cancelled concert. For more info about the hotel, check out Revel’s website. There are lots of great deals so sign up for email alerts if you’d like to visit. I had never been to AC before but from what I hear, this hotel is a huge departure from the old AC. I found it to be as beautiful and grand as a Vegas resort.

Now, I just need to find out when Duran Duran is touring again….

XO

Sue at Home

crafts, Family, Home

Making a Wigwam for a School Project

This may not seem like one of my normal DIY projects but it’s still a fun and creative one so I thought you might want to see it.  For any parents out there, flag this post because your day will come too! Lucky you — I’m here to show you how we did it. Come inside and warm yourself by the fire!

S’s 2nd grade class is studying Native Americans this month and her assignment was to build a replica of the shelter that the Shawnee tribe lived in. The only stipulation was that she should use as many natural materials as possible. We used this website as a guide.

We started by tracing a tray to make a big circle onto an old corkboard that I found in our garage. Then we measured around the circle and marked off where our holes should go. Next, we drilled small holes into the board to anchor the sticks but we made sure not to drill all the way through. (Truth be told, we staged this photo. No, I do not let my kid handle power tools by herself. Or maybe I’m just telling you that so my mother doesn’t freak out when she sees this photo. Whatever you want to believe is fine with me!)

We gathered lots of sticks from the yard (there were plenty from Sandy) and we tied pairs together to make the frame.

It took some time to find the right sticks (without them breaking) and get them glued into the holes but we were excited that our frame was coming together just like an authentic wigwam.

In lieu of bark or woven mats, we used brown bags to make a cover for the wigwam. First we cut them into strips.

Then we cut fringe onto each strip…

…and slowly added each row of fringe to the frame. If we had better glue, I would have used that but instead we took the easy road and used tape!

We built the layers up and then took a little time to add a rock-lined walkway and a stone hearth in the center. S was great at coming up with ideas, like using red and orange construction paper to build the fire.

We dressed one of her Polly Pockets in a brown bag dress and propped her up by the door. (I had to promise S that we’d be able to peel the glue off her feet after she gets the project back!)

It was a lot of work but S and I had a great time building it together. She was so proud of the finished product and I’m so proud of how hard she worked on it.

XO

Sue at Home

Food

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling

In the latest installment of If I Can Make It, You Can Too, I’m bringing you one of my favorite baked treats: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling. I’ve made this recipe a few times and it is a major crowd pleaser. (I think it would be a nice addition to all the pies traditionally served at Thanksgiving.) Personally, I’ve never met a cream cheese frosting I didn’t want to marry and this is one of my favorite ways to use it. The recipe comes from Martha Stewart via Baked bakery and you can find the full recipe here. I didn’t change the recipe at all — though I would like to mention that Martha’s recipe says it makes 12 whoopie pies and unless they’re the size of your head, that is waaaay off. Last year, I made them silver-dollar bite-size and the recipe made about 50 of them. This time, they were a little smaller than the diameter of a baseball and the recipe made about 25 one-and-you’re-done-size whoopie pies.

First you mix the dry stuff:  flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground cloves. Isn’t it pretty? Make sure you sift it all together.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and brown sugar.  Anything that calls for this much brown sugar is a good recipe in my book.

Next, mix in the pumpkin puree. Then the eggs and vanilla. Once you’ve whisked everything together, your two bowls (dry and wet) should look something like this.

Then — adding a little bit at a time — mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture.

I’ve piped them onto the parchment-lined baking sheet before but this time I just scooped up a tablespoon of dough and dolloped them on. (That’s right. Dolloped. Didn’t know you could use as it as a verb, huh?)

The baking sheet on the left shows them cooked and the one on the right shows them raw. You can see that they don’t spread very much so go ahead and put them closer together than I did. #doasIsaynotasIdo (Remember, for 25 whoopie pies, you’ll need 50 little cookie/cakes so fit as many as you can on each baking sheet.)

Here’s what the little babies should look like when they’re fulled baked. Watch out for the those “I’m done” cracks.

Once they’re cool, you can get to the filling. (In fact, you can bake them the day before you fill them and just store them in the fridge overnight.) Mix your softened cream cheese and butter with confectioner’s sugar and vanilla for a filling so delish, it brings tears to my eyes. Instead of a piping bag, I just stuff it into a ziplock bag and snip the tip. Make sure you fold the top of the bag down before filling it, so that you don’t get frosting all over the opening.

Then just lay out half of the pumpkin cookie/cakes and pipe on some ample frosting onto each one.

Next, just put the tops on and you’re done. Make sure you refrigerate them if you’re not serving them right away. (That goes for all cream cheese frostings or fillings.) If you weren’t paying attention above, here’s that link for the full recipe again: Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Whoopie Pie recipe.

I promise, you will not be disappointed!

So, tell me…is it a cookie or a cake? It’s certainly not a pie, despite it’s name. And it definitely has a cake-like consistency to it. But it’s hand held, like a cookie. (Plus, it’s a cookie on my World’s Biggest Cookie Swap Pinterest Board.) So…is it a cookie or cake? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Enjoy!  And have a delicious Thanksgiving!

XO

Sue at Home

P.S. For more If I Can Make It, You Can Too recipes, check these out.

Seafood Paella and a Crazy Easy Cake

Rainbow Cake

crafts, Decor

Epic Pumpkin Fail

When I started this blog, I promised to share my successes and my failures. And while I’ve had some toot-my-own-horn  successes lately (dying a slipcover, creating an easy jewelry storage solution, and cooking up a yummy seafood paella), I need to tell you about the pumpkin catastrophe that recently occurred in my house. You’ll remember that I bought some smallish pumpkins and coated them in matte black spray paint. 

Now, I have seen TONS of bloggers write about painting pumpkins and I have never seen any of them warn that this will kill the pumpkins! I painted them on October 1st and you can imagine my surprise when Sophia said, “Mommy. The pumpkin is opening up.” on October 12th. When I came to investigate, I found this:

After we got over the shock, me and the girls took turns plucking the stems off of the rotting pumpkins. They fell right off.

They were so rotten in some spots that they were caving in.

Before you say “maybe they were just bad pumpkins”, I’ll tell you that I bought three other pumpkins from the same place on the same day and those are fine. Surprise, surprise! They have no spray paint on them!

I bought some new ones and I’m thinking of attempting a little gold craft paint on them. I think the key might be to not cover the whole thing. I guess I must have suffocated them! Sorry pumpkins.

 I’m attempting a craft this afternoon with the girls. Hopefully this one will work out a little better. Have you had any craft fails lately? Please tell me and make me feel better!!

XO

Sue at Home