Design Necessities: A Rug Pad USA Review

Friday, September 11, 2015

Let's have a little real-talk, shall we?
There's nothing sexy about today's post. 
It's one of those design issues that nobody really talks about because it's never seen.
Annnd, on a scale of things that are boring 
(waiting in the doctor's office, watching paint dry; talking about rug pads) 
talking about rug pads might just take the cake.
But hear me out.

Several months ago I was approached by
I'd never heard of them and truthfully didn't know rug pads existed beyond those off-white, sticky waffle-type ones.

I had no idea, for example, that:
  • 90% of rug pads come from overseas where they can minimize labor and production costs (i.e., they use cheap materials at a cheap cost)
  • they are usually made from pvc or latex which tend to be chemically heavy and full of harmful VOC's
  • The petrochemical oils in many pads can leech out of the pad and into your flooring causing discoloration and damage over time
  • most rug pads are not able to absorb or release moisture so in certain climates they can permanently damage the flooring underneath.
  • inexpensive fillers in some latex rug pads will break down over time and leave a residue on your floors

Anyone else feel like they've experienced almost all of these before? Weird smells, stickiness, staining, residue...and don't get me started about the sliding and bunching. Frustration overload. 

The kind folks at sent me a rug pad to review in hopes that I would like it and share with my readers. These eco-friendly rug pads are made in America using high quality materials, superior technology, and are supposed to be the best on the market. They claim to do exactly what a rug pad SHOULD do...keep your rug in place without damaging your home.
Cracks knuckles...let's see.

I decided to test it in one of our most difficult spots, the entry, where we've had rug issues ad nauseam. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. To hear that there was actually more to rug pads than the sticky plastic stuff was baffling. 
I was admittedly skeptical. 

They sent the Eco-Solid in a 3x5 size (they cut a bit smaller so as to fit perfectly under my rug) and I am happy to report it has been perfection for both my antique Persian rug and hardwoods.

This product really exceeded my expectations. It gets beaten down with the amount of foot traffic it takes daily but hasn't slipped once. Not once, people.
No weird sticking. No sliding. No smells. No strange residue. No bunching. Nothing. 
Even David was impressed. 

I love this product so much I'm planning on buying some for the rest of the house. It's a glorious thing when a product works as it's supposed to. 

If you're interested in learning more about the difference in a quality rug pad, Go Here.

The best part is that has generously offered my readers a 15% off coupon. Just plug in "PR15OFF" at checkout. 

Disclosure:  I received the Eco-Solid rug pad with the hope that I would like it and share it with you in a post. I absolutely love it and that's why you see this review.  I only mention products that I love and I think you will too. All opinions are my own.

Oatmeal Double Chocolate Cookies: The Ultimate Comfort

Friday, September 11, 2015

2015 has been a difficult year.
It all began in February when a sea of sewage flooded one-third of our downstairs only a week after we started a large renovation project in the kitchen.

Mass chaos ensued and for several months we waded through the rebuild process or as I like to call it, The Great Migraine of 2015. 
I was also newly pregnant and hormonal so you can imagine the sweetness of morning/all-day sickness amidst contractors, plumbing issues, missing walls, etc. 
tender memories.

June finally brought a bit of closure to all that nonsense. We were so excited to get our house back but then I was diagnosed with a fairly serious pregnancy complication (more on that later) and was put on modified bedrest until November.
Life had to adjust in an instant.

New adjustments included:
Hiring a part-time nanny.
Limiting my physical activity as much as possible. (what do you mean I can't decorate the new nursery??)
Not picking up my little boy anymore. Cue waterworks.

Then more tough news.
My sweet Grandpa's health took a pretty rapid decent and by the end of July time had come to say our final goodbyes.
I wasn't prepared for all the emotions in that hospital room early one Friday morning. And sure haven't been prepared for the wave of feels that unexpectedly come over me still.
Sadness is strange that way.
I know I've been guilty of assuming grief isn't as sharp when the loss is in the twilight years of life.
Grief if grief.

I don't know when it happened or why for that matter but I cannot get enough baked goods in my house.
Ok, well, I know why...
Because delicious.
But a lot of my baking is made to give away.
I bake for David's co-workers, friends, strangers. any one.
It's my way of creating beauty out of chaos.
Not surprisingly, I've been in the kitchen a lot the past month or so.
Baking in the prime of a Texas summer is pretty hardcore.
But it's comforting and I've needed a lot of that lately.

Also, I like to think I come from a long-line of pastry loving folks.
My mom's Italian.
My dad loves to eat.
We are the best kind of people.
My Gramps in particular loved sweets, especially cookies.
And his wife, my dear Grands, is the author behind one of my most popular recipes Snickerdoodles (with pumpkin cream cheese).
We don't play in the kitchen.

About a month ago I was searching for a cookie recipe to make for a friend's birthday.
Unexpectedly, it became my new favorite.
It's my idea of the perfect cookie.
Big, soft, and full of flavor.
These cookies are all comfort and goodness
Perfect for sharing, laughing, celebrating, and remembering.

I didn't intend to post these pictures.
I actually made and re-made and tweaked this recipe multiple times before I got it exactly to my liking.
I took pictures along the way to see the changes, never intending them to be here.
But I had to share the recipe.
Better pictures will follow eventually.

Tip: Follow my directions precisely then adjust the second time for yourself, if you feel such a thing needs doing.
Cookie secrets are going to be handed down so get your notes out and read.
The details are what make any baking recipe successful so this is not the time to wing-it.
Thoroughly annoyed with my disclaimer?
Good. Now read it again and get baking.
it. will. be. worth. it.
(I'm so bossy today.)

The original recipe is the 2015 Recipe of the Year from King Arthur Flour, Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Hard to improve upon near perfection but I think I may have done just that.

Here's my adaptation:
Oatmeal Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (no cheap imitation here)
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups old-fashioned oats (depending on how oatty you want them)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, divided (depending on how chocolate-y you like them)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, divided (depending on how chocolate-y you like them)
1) Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2) Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
3) Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla one at a time, beating well after each, about 30 seconds to a minute.
4) Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.
5) Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. Do not overmix.
6) Stir in the chocolate chips, leaving some out to place on top of the cookies before baking, until just evenly distributed. Don't overmix.
7) Use a 1/4 cup scoop to make about 20 large, palm-sized cookies. (You can make smaller cookies but it will take much longer to bake as you cannot put these in more than one pan at a time and I prefer the large bakery style cookie for these. Either way is good though, just make sure to adjust baking time.)
8) Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2" to 2" between cookies. Place remaining chocolate chips on top of the dough mounds.
9) Bake the cookies for 12 to 17 minutes, until they're a light golden brown, with slightly darker edges. Their middles may still look a tiny bit shiny; that's OK, they'll continue to bake as they cool on the pan.
10) Remove the cookies from the oven, and as soon as they're set enough to handle (about 5 minutes in my kitchen), transfer them to racks to cool.
Yield: 20 to 100 cookies, depending on size.

  • Use the best quality ingredients you can find (flour, butter, vanilla, etc). My personal favorites are King Arthur, Challenge Butter (or KerryGold if possible) and Nielsen-Massey Vanilla
  • Use the best quality chocolate you can find. Please, please do this. It makes a huge difference. My personal favorite is Guittard which I'm able to buy locally at World Market and Whole Foods. You can also purchase online.
  • When it says "room temperature," it means it. Put your ingredients out at least an hour before you start baking. This requires some planning but it's worth it.
  • Make sure you properly measure your ingredients, especially flour. For more info on how, check out Joy the Baker's post HERE.  
  • Use parchment paper. 
  • These taste better a few hours after they've cooled through the second day. Properly kept in an air tight container they will keep several days (but I think they definitely start loosing some of their softness and flavor on day 3.)
  • Milk chocolate, in my opinion, does not work well with these cookies. It just doesn't have enough flavor to make a statement here.

For you, Gramps.

Kitchen Update

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I seldom get on the computer these days.
It's way harder than phone internetting.
But worth it.
So hey, there old friend.
Let's catch up, shall we?

Rewind to February. We had saved enough to start renovating our hideous 90's kitchen. I was pumped. I was ready. Pinterest was about to pay off in a big way.

Enter the frightening "Before"

Just days into our renovation, however, our main sewer line backed up and flooded the house.
{insert puke-face emoji}

Three. Months. Later work started back in the kitchen.
Sadly, however, our budget had taken a hit.
My wood floors would have to wait.
No nice shiny new appliances either.
Budget cuts out the wazoo.
Real life. Real adulting.

Our kitchen reno is going to be more of a two-stage process now.
As in this year
and maybe-if-we-get-to-it next year.
Because (surprise) we're having another baby!! 
Yep, timing is everything.
And morning sickness during construction carnage is just as awesome as it sounds.

Here's where we are now. Completely unstaged and real-life-d up for you.
 Because who reads blogs to see pretty pictures?

To be honest, it drives me bananas having to wait to finish the project. 
Looking at those floors every day is like a perpetual stab in the eye. 
but I deal.
adulting is still hard 
but perspective is a funny thing. 
you get a little and a lot changes.
so I choose to see what's awesome
and you know what,
I think we can all agree we're off to a good start. 

David hated the brass pulls at first but
I think he's starting to get it now.
The man wore pleated, tapered pants when I met him. 
Sometimes these things just take time. 

One day I'll use my real camera but for now I'm just jazzed that I remembered how to type with both hands.

progress is slow, my friends. 

White to Bright: Entryway Style Board

Monday, February 9, 2015

Internet dust-bunnies.
It's totally a thing. And I have them. 
I also have real ones but who's looking.

We're making slow but somewhat steady progress on the house and I'll eventually get around to showing you.
But today I have a fun entry style board to share.
Because inspiration is good. And style boards are easier than rooms. 

I'll admit: I'm on a white walls kick right now. 
White walls, black accents, neutral wood. 
It's my jam.
I'm afraid of color. 
and commitment. 
and color is commitment soooo I stay clear of it. 

But I was challenged to take a room from white to bright using one of Chairish's gorgeous rugs as inspiration. 
Have you heard of Chairish? I hadn't either but boy I'm sure glad I know now. It's like the best estate sale you've ever found and it's all online.
Which we can all agree is amazing because you don't have to wake up super early on a weekend to battle crazies.
Dreamy for any design-lover. If you're into cool vintage/used pieces that is.
Which, uh, yea, you should be. 

White to bright?
Take a risk? Use color?
I can do this. 
Because it's on paper, er, internets. 
I can be brave on the web. 
Be brave with me, won't you?

I selected this gorgeous vintage rug. 
I love kilim. 
But my scared-brain got cold sweats with the bold pattern and COLOR.
so much scary color. red. orange. gold. green. ahhhhh!

I did it anyway. 
Listened to my gut. 
I picked this rug and made it my bestie.
So brave.
Go ahead, paint my face blue. 

Here's what I came up with for an entryway:

sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 9

Like the rug, I chose things I'm drawn to that I might otherwise talk myself out of.
It was a BLAST! For real.
Bravery rocks. An imaginary, unlimited budget was pretty awesome too. 

Here's the breakdown:

1. removable wall paper in this great black and white speckle. Yes, I said "removable". A non-committal's favorite words. Wallpaper doesn't have to be scary anymore. I love how it's both modern and ballsy without being crazy in-yo-face. I also love the b&w. And how it the smaller scale works with the rug. I'm seriously gonna get this wallpaper for my house. Love, love, love.

2. This crazy blue and white vase with a gold base. I love how the pattern flows as opposed to being rigid and geometric. The cobalt blue is such a fun punch of color. Also, every entry needs fresh flowers. Word to ya motha. 

3. You know what else every entry needs? A mirror. And this crazy cool one has me swooning. It has a beautiful antiqued feel without being stuffy. It's shape and finish are a nod to the vintage rug without being stiff and heavy. I love the eclair shaped columns. Yes, I said eclair. I watched The Great British Bake-Off earlier today. I see eclairs everywhere.

4. I'm obsessed with throw blankets. I think every  house should be stocked with blankets. And this one is lovely with the fringe and mint. I love me some fringe. I also think the color is a lovely contrast with the reds in the rug and helps balance those saturated, warm colors. 

5. This tribal basket is another must-have piece for any entry. I love how it marries a modern silhouette with beautiful black and white weaving. Modern and classic. Can't go wrong. Drape that mint blanket over the side, toss your shoes or an umbrella inside and it's a beautiful yet functional piece.

6. I was so drawn to the teal and terracotta on this planter. And the hope that one day I too can grow a succulent. People say those are harder to kill. People are wrong. But still, I dream. I love how the cooler blue/greens help balance the reds and oranges in the rug. Such a great contrast.

7. Agate art. Um, yes. Sign me up. The organic shapes that are somehow both natural and geometric. And all of those beautiful, rich colors. Art is a great way to experiment with color and this one is a show-stopper. I'm feeling less afraid of color, y'all. It's coming. 

8. This amazing geometric light fixture is a perfect balance to some of the more rustic and vintage aspects of the design. I love how it brings black to the ceiling in a very clean and modern way. The fixture has both a modern and vintage 70's vibe but its smooth clean lines are such beautiful contrast to the busyness of the rug.

9. This console table is a thing of dreams. When I saw it my heart fluttered. The natural wood is stunning and the detail on the legs is complete perfection. Understated yet bold, I think this piece pairs perfectly with the rug. I love everything about it. It's the perfect piece to unite the entire design: classic, rustic, chic; vintage.

Boom. Nailed it.

I really loved not worrying about my usual design fears. It was so fun. I'm thinking I might not be as afraid of color as I was before.

Be bold, friends. Go with what speaks to you. If you design with things you love, it'll all come together in the end.
Preaching to myself.

If you'd like to see more of what Chairish has to offer by browsing their fantastic rug collection, I've attached a link HERE.
It might be my new favorite online design shop. I almost didn't want you to know.
But I'm a giver.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

sporadic everything-ing

Friday, December 12, 2014

I'm hoping to turn sporadic blogging into a thing.
like sporadic workouts or shaving in winter.
i kid. i totally shave all winter long.

December slammed into us messily.
case in point: i have pumpkins proudly displayed on my front porch.
our neighbors have synchronized lights and nativities and holiday swag.
we have pumpkins. 
i don't know either.

hopefully i'll get a wreath and a few lights up in time for the new year. 
sporadic holiday-ing.
another thing i'm totally rockin'. 

here's our Christmas card photo.
that i ordered too late. or at least that's what the Christmas card people told me... after they were purchased. sad day.
so enjoy a peek at our new years(?) picture. 
at least the boy is smiling.

so there's been some developments in the house that i hope to share soon.
soon (as we all know by now) is a completely relative term. but still.
we have gallery walls and hanging rugs and paint and, okay, really it's not so grand but updates are updates gosh-darn it.
i'm jazzed about the result and can't wait to show you.
plus, we've got some new projects in the work. eeeck!! (that's a happy 'eeck!')

also, i had every intention of sharing Lucas's first birthday party with you...but I dropped the ball pictures. yea.
who forgets to take pictures of their kids first birthday?
the mom who's never done this before and oh, it's freezing outside, and oh the sausage burned, and oh the fireplace won't start, and oh we have to pick up the coffee...etc ad nauseum.
morning parties leave little time for back up.
side note: my grandma is a rock-star and helped me pull the day off. seriously would have been lost without her. 

i'm kinda heartbroken about the no picture thing, though. i won't lie.
mother fail #187.

i'm going to be a cookie-baking fiend this weekend so i might...if i have time and think about the recipes next week. {chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, macadamia and peanut butter chocolate chunk} woot!
if i don't though, there's a good chance I'll have something on Instagram so let's be friends there too, mkay? i'm better at that anyway.

Baby is awake now. gotta run...
Happy Friday, friends!!

Rustic Floral Baby Shower

Friday, November 7, 2014

My kid is napping. Let's see if I can knock this post out before the monster awakes.

A few weekends ago, two friends and I threw a baby shower for our sweet friend, Natalie.
Usually, I like to work alone. I'm a crazy type-A person who has lists for my lists. A real fun gal to plan with, clearly. But my friends Megan and Jenny were amazing. They're each so talented and we pulled off a beautiful afternoon celebration.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day:

Disclaimer: I did NOT take any of these photos. My friend and co-hostess, Jenny was the photographer and sweetly let me borrow her images. 


Jenny is also a crazy-talented artist /designer and made the invites, a video for the special mama, and this crazy gorgeous door sign.
I'm so glad she didn't get a shot of my peeling front door paint.

Megan made all the rosettes and poms. My fingers hurt just thinking about it. Also, my sanity.
basically Megan's a rockstar.


I made this menu. and then spent the day staring at it wondering why I write like a boy.
can i have pretty handwriting for christmas?

i was in charge of food and drinkage: simple catered sandwiches, an easy recipe for apple spice caramel corn, a cookie bar and other treats.

I also washi-ed the heck out of the cups and made glitter arrows for the straws.
i'm obsessed with straws.

I made the floral heart with carnations and, you guessed it, more washi tape.
i kinda love how it turned out. i kept it up for days until the flowers totally wilted and dried. even then i might have kept it up longer if david didn't threaten me.

I made homemade salted caramel sauce for favors. honestly I was a little nervous about how they would turn out. I made them in the crockpot and couldn't taste test since I pre-sealed the jars.
personally, my jar could have used some extra salt but overall i thought these were so cute.

clearly, the above two were taken by yours truly on my cell as I realized i never got a good shot of them. but i loved the adorable monogram gift tag from tiny prints.

i have a love/hate relationship with this fresh apple cake. it's like crazy delicious but every time i make it {or any bundt cake for that matter} i can't get it out of the pan. this was no exception. the guests arrived and, like any great hostess, i was in the kitchen banging on the pan and cursing like a sailor.
fortunately, jenny called her husband {who's got mad kitchen skills} and his suggestion saved the day.

To check out Jenny's full image gallery, go HERE

Happy Friday, friends.
I'll be back soon with updates on the house and other life things.

Life update

Friday, October 24, 2014

October is almost over.
dumbfounded stare.

I am prepared for life.

Things get busy and I get forgetful. That's really the name of the game. Forgetful and lazy. Because ya, that happens too. So before I get too far behind, let's catch up.


so many swatches but we finally decided on a wall color for behind the sofa. 
charcoal gray for the win. 
{update coming} it looks so different now.

we used that same color to paint the wall behind our {unmade} bed. 
i like to keep it classy for you.

our little rugrat is 11 months old now. 
i shall henceforth mourn and weep uncontrollably. how can my sweet baby almost be a year old?

oh and that cast? yea, he fractured his arm a few weeks ago. i took it harder than he did. let's hope this not a sign of things to come.

Lucas and I went to hang out with his great-grandparents a few weeks ago. 
this picture makes my heart explode. 

selfie. just because

I've been busy planning a friend's baby shower AND Lucas's first birthday party. 
good thing parties are so much fun because if they weren't I'd be too exhausted to ever host again.
I also can't get over how much I love his birthday party invites from Paperless Post.  

just because. 

i entered a neighborhood baking competition last week. 
there was prize money involved. 
i'm competitive so of course i whipped out the best pumpkin pie in the world 
{apple butter pumpkin pie - scratch pie, scratch crust, scratch whipped cream}
...and didn't place.

whatevs. my neighborhood is full of retired people. 
grandmas always win. 

a few friends and I are throwing another good friend a baby shower tomorrow 
so today I'm finalizing plans, making cakes and getting all my party supplies and crafts finished. 
I'll probably be all over instagram with pics because this party is gonna be amazing, y'all. 


Happy Friday, friends! Have a wonderful weekend.

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground