2015 Design Trends

Now that we have adjusted to the design trends that are dwindling away, it’s time to upgrade our spaces with just a few items that will have you feeling fresh. It’s safe to say that our living spaces affect the way we present ourselves and how we live out our daily lives. For those of you that have New Years Resolutions, having a space that you love will help you accomplish who you want to be, what you want to change, and keep your resolutions in check the entire year.

Simplicity. The first trend you are going to see is simplicity. I do not mean minimalism. I mean using tone-on-tone throughout the space. In the photo below, you can see the simplicity in the design, yet it doesn’t look “sterile.” Just clean, comforting, warm, and inviting. The designer used a palette of grays while mixing in a few different tones and textures to create interest.

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Bold Color and Pattern Mixing. This is almost the opposite of the first trend but still is considered a big trend this year. Designers and clients are not afraid to use color, and not just create an accent wall, but bold color throughout a space. Some colors trends that you are going to see this year are stunning olive greens, bold cobalt blues, and bright turquoise. Personally, I am a fan of cobalt blue throughout a space. Bold color also goes hand-in-hand with bold pattern mixing. Most spaces that you’ve seen throughout 2014 had a neutral color with a couple patterns thrown in. Get ready to get creative and colorful this year, while still achieving a styled, well put together space.

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Juxtaposition. One of my favorite things to do throughout design, is to create juxtaposition in choice of materials and product. Mixing old or classic pieces with new or contemporary pieces create a space that is different. Taking a classic Queen Anne chair and upholstering it with a contemporary fabric or having a contemporary living room with an oil portrait painting, creates an interest that the mind wouldn’t normally pair together. Classic or traditional design styles with a twist of contemporary accents will be a favorite trend of mine this year.

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These were just a few of what 2015 has in store for us. Let me know in the comments below of what you want to hear next! Happy New Year!

Xo,
Jessica Calkins

DIY HOLIDAY GIFTS

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 With Christmas right around the corner, many of you are probably scrambling around trying to find the perfect last minute gifts for your loved ones. You are on the internet, looking at the hottest deals, or running through the mall trying to find the right sizes. It gets very hectic around this time, especially when you feel the pressure of trying to find the most wonderful gift for those who have helped you to have a wonderful year. It makes sense. But why must the most incredible gifts be the most expensive?

I understand that many people do not have one artistic bone in their bodies. I am one of those people. I recently took up a ceramics class for my last semester of college, and while I do enjoy making bowls and cups, and cute little tea cups, I struggle a lot. I worked my butt off to get a good grade in the class, but my bowls always seemed to have a little TOO MUCH personality, if you know what I mean.

I made a total of five bowls, a teacup, and a abstract box. I brought the bowls home with me and my mother said that they would make wonderful gifts. I wasn’t even thinking about turning them into gifts, but it is such a wonderful idea. I worked my butt off to make those bowls and teacups as beautiful as I could make them. I worked at the wheel for hours until I finally liked one. It took up a lot of my time, but I really enjoyed it, and why not share with others what I enjoy (even if I may be terrible at it)?.

Now, I am not saying go buy a wheel or take a new pottery class, but Do IT Yourself gifts are really the best. Make a photo album, candles, jewelry. Knit some scarves. Bake some cookies. And maybe if you decide to do it, your bank accounts will not hurt as much 😉

For great ideas, check out Pinterest. It has many creative and loving ways to put a smile on your families faces!

…and if all else fails, buy something from Bare and Me;)

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Home for the Holidays

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One of the biggest things I miss about being home is the smell of my house. I am pretty sure my mom has something baking or on the stove at all hours of the day, because that is just who she is. She has a knack for cooking and baking, and someday I hope I am as talented as she is.

My favorite is when I come home and I smell cookies baking in the oven, especially around the holidays.

So for this post, here is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe found on pinterest!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened (use cream cheese in a block or spreadable, don’t use fat-free, light or whipped)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used 1 cup chips and 1 1/4 cups chunks)

DIRECTIONS:

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese (measure it by smooshing it into a 1/4-cup measure), sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use an electric hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes).

Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
Add chocolate chips and chunks, and beat momentarily to incorporate, or fold in by hand.

Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds (I made 28). Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly with your palm, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.

Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or spray with cooking spray and place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet). Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 10 minutes as cookies will firm up as they cool (The cookies shown in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled overnight, allowed to come to room temp for 15 minutes, and were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark. They have chewy edges with soft, pillowy centers). Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

This is not an original recipe, although I wish it was.

ENJOY

Thought Catalog: On Being Happy

f3fa3f36addbfbef6695c23d1313004bEverybody has their morning agenda, and by that, I mean the things that you do without even realizing it. For instance. Every morning when my eyes open from a long night sleep, I click snooze on my phone exactly three times before I realize that I need to be an actual human being and do actual human being things.

I sit up, let me feet dangle over the bed while I gather my surroundings, because lord knows I am still half asleep from my rough night of studying and writing silly papers for silly college. Once my surroundings are a bit in place, I take that first eager yet still a bit hesitant, step. I make my way to the bathroom, tripping over a couple of shoes on the way, and YOWWW, who put those heels there? Once I make it to the bathroom I examine myself in the mirror and shake my head because I forgot to wash my makeup off from the night before AGAIN! Why do I always do this? Laziness at its finest people. I wipe off the mascara and the eyeliner, brush my teeth for two minutes, gargle some mouthwash, and here is where it gets interesting. I put the water in the facet on the coldest it could possibly get. I wait for it to get to maximum coldness so I put the toilet seat down and sit, and wait, and sit and wait. Once I think the water is as cold as possible, I form my hands into a makeshift bowl and go to town. I think I throw water on my face about ten times before the job of waking up is really done. The makeup is gone, the eyes aren’t puffy, and best of all, the color is back in my cheeks. There she is. There is Haley. Then, I make my way back to my room, turn on my curling iron, and while that is heating up, I make a cup of coffee.

I am very particular about my coffee, as I am sure most everyone is. My mother got me hooked sophomore year of high school, and I have been a goner ever since. And as I sit here writing this, I am thinking to myself, “Why in the hell would you brush your teeth and then drink coffee?” Oh gosh, that just is silly. I really need to rethink my morning rituals.

Like I said, coffee. Drinking coffee. I love Hazelnut creamer, so after the coffee is done brewing I poor the creamer in for exactly three seconds. 1 mississippi 2 mississippi 3 mississippi. And there you have it. A lot of creamer and a little coffee.

I come back upstairs, coffee in hand, and go to my favorite website. Thought Catalog. Oh, how I love this site.

“Launched 1 February 2010, Thought Catalog is a website dedicated to your stories and ideas”

Thought Catalog is a blog site where many different people can put their thoughts into words, and share those words with the world.

It is an amazing idea, and that is why I read it each and every day.

Many of the posts are funny, fun loving, thoughtful, and just downright weird. But many make you think. And that is what I really love.

So today, like many other days, I am skimming through the blogs when I come across a title that stands out to me.

“How to Not Be Terrified of Being Happy”

The author speaks of happiness being this utopia, or this mystical world that  nobody truly understands the concept of. That somehow, some shape or form, we are always trying to do better than we already have. That we cant stop moving or doing more because things will just fall apart, “like a house of cards”.

Instead of being happy for the things that are going well in our lives, many of us worry about when it will be taken from us, like a game of hide and seek.

I have this problem where sometimes I feel like I do not deserve to be happy. That the people around me deserve better. Because of that feeling, I have a lot of anxiety. Anxiety about life, relationships, friendships, family, school. Everything scares me. It doesn’t mean I stop going about my daily routine, but sometimes I think that I don’t take things for what they are. I over think. “Things are amazing now, but that wont last.”

You may get your heart broken.

People may not like you.

You might not get your dream job.

You might upset your loved ones.

But that will pass, and you will once again, be happy.

“Avoiding happiness just so you can avoid the sting of eventually losing it will ruin you.”

Periods of Joy

Periods of Difficulty

Periods of Love

Periods of Heartbreak

I do not think I have ever read something that has hit so close to home for me. You can learn so much from a 500 word blog. I hope that one day I can meet the writer and thank them for opening my eyes to a world that can be full of happiness and love.

So. Morning rituals can be robotic, and boring, and annoying, but this particular morning, it was a great one.

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Do you ever read over something so captivating, that you just keep reading it over and over again. Like you want it to progress but its almost too perfect to even do that?

I think that sometimes we fail to take a step back in life and think about all the things and people that we love. We so often forget about the good, and focus on the bad. Why have we gotten to this point? Why have we taken for granted the things that have become to effortless to us? Life is a beautiful thing and we must not take for granted the parts that have become so effortless for us. And please, please remember, we are all in this together, whether we like it or not.

As you read over this quote, think about the things in your life that you have taken for granted.

“I don’t think I love very many things but here are the ones I can think of:

I love the first sip of coffee in the morning

I love reading someone else’s words and finding a connection in them

I love the feeling a good song invokes

I love wondering

I love driving at night with no destination

I love the gentle kind of sadness like a reminder that I can feel”

-Unknown

I don’t know what it is, but this really stuck with me. I wrote down in the notes in my phone as a reminder that at least I am here, and at least I can feel.

Hope you have a wonderful day.

THANKSGIVING FESTIVITIES!!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I have lots on my mind, but specifically, FOOD. I know that there is the typical food that is included in the dinner festivities, like the turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. This year, why not try mixing things up a bit and trying different types of foods, and starting new traditions. I know for me and my family, holidays have always been really important to us. Not only was it a time for everyone to finally be together for a night, but we could also participate in something we all know and love so much, eating. LOL.

This year I will not be with my family because I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his family, but I am sure my mom will have something extravagant up her sleeves for the dinner portion of the night. No surprise there.

I am not that good at cooking unless I have a very specific recipe and a right hand man there to help out, but earlier today while I was on Pinterest I noticed so many different foods that looked so amazing, and especially on a holiday like Thanksgiving.

Here are a couple pictures of what could potentially be some wonderful dishes for Thanksgiving night. Your bellies sure will be HAPPY!

Start with a nice salad to begin the dishes.

Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad

Ingredients
  • 6 cups salad (I used a combination of arugula and baby spinach, any spring green mix will do)
  • 1 red apple
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (such as Diamond of California)
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
dressing (see note)
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar in a pinch)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • scant ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup oil

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UGHHH so delicious…

Next we have some Crunchy Holiday Stuffing

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups celery
1 1/2 cups carrots
1 (14 oz.) pkg. stuffing
2 cups FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup Water

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease 3-quart baking dish; set aside. Melt butter in large pot; stir in vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes.
ADD stuffing, broth and water and stir until moistened. Gently stir in French Fried Onions. Spoon stuffing into 3-quart baking dish.
COVER and bake for 10 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Onions. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until Onions are golden.

The results come out to an amazing looking dish, and what I love is that it is crunchier than all the stuffing I have ever had.

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And lastly, but could never forget, THE TURKEY!

Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter & Roasted Shallots

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15-to-16 pound turkey
  • Salt and pepper to season cavity
  • 1 1/4 lb. shallots, peeled and cut in half through the root
  • 1 carrot, unpeeled
  • 1 large celery stalk, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cups (approximately) chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together softened butter, sage, thyme and parsley until well combined.
  3. Remove the neck and other innards from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the carrot, celery and onion quarters into the cavity of the turkey.
  4. Tie the turkey legs together and tuck the wings underneath the turkey, using small skewers to secure, if necessary.
  5. Starting at the neck end, slide your hands under the breast skin to loosen. Smear 3 tablespoons of the herb butter underneath the breast skin. Smear another 4 tablespoons of the herb butter over the entire topside of the turkey.
  6. Place the turkey in the roasting pan, breast side up. Scatter the shallots around the turkey, on the bottom of the roasting pan.
  7. Cover the breasts with foil and place the turkey in the oven. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, basting it with 1/2 cup chicken broth every 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the foil from the breast. If you find that the legs are browning too much, cover each drumstick with foil. Roast the turkey until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh (be sure not to hit the bone) registers 170 degrees F, basting every 30 minutes with the pan drippings, about 1 hour total.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a platter, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  10. Remove the carrot, celery and onion from the cavity and discard.
  11. Remove the shallots from the pan and serve with the gravy. Use the remaining brown bits on the bottom of the pan and the remaining herb butter to make the gravy.

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And wow, is that a good lookin turkey!

Ps: These recipes and and directions are found from sites on Pinterest, and are just some of the wonderful dishes I have tried before. Pinterest always has some great pins for the Holiday seasons especially when it has to do with food!

Hope you all enjoy, and potentially use these recipes!

Don’t Vote? Don’t Complain

086df05ad89d0ec7bb7231aa0c29c301Obviously democracy has been around for thousands and thousands of years, and has been a primary force in how society is viewed. Election day is such an important day for people to put their opinion out there about who they want to be in charge.

You should go vote today, because well, why not. There really is no reason why you shouldn’t be voting. It is the easiest way to show your civic duty and lets be real, it is a lot better than participating in that awful jury duty.

Most importantly though, and this is directly centered towards women…Once upon a time, we were not allowed to vote. Someone made it their dream and primary goal to make it possible for us to have a say in who governs our country. We have always voiced our opinions on gender stereotypes and inequalities, but when change has been made, we do not participate in the most relevant cause.

Think about it, some people have died to make voting possible for the future, and we need to take it much more seriously.

Lets not be the generation that does not participate in such an important part of history.

Obviously many of you aren’t that passionate about voting, but you should be passionate about having your opinions heard. Voice your opinions and take a stand. Stop sitting back and waiting for everyone around you to make history.

Be inspired…

Do what you love and love what you do…

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Sometimes without even knowing it you are causing a ripple effect with dreaming your dream and just doing it.

I myself, hope that I do this with my children. Working hard in life in any manner builds character and just tells your spirit you can do anything if you try.

I can honesty say, I love what I do everyday.  I may be a little stressed out at times or want to just take a stay vacation and say “calgon, take me away”!

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You younger generation have no idea what I am talking about but the “hip older generation does”…

If I did not design jewels everyday, I think I would have missed my calling. I know why I am here and what I am supposed to do,  I think?

5 Tips to help you run a successful business…

I am not the expert on success but what I am an expert on is “working hard”!

I do not work for money, I work because I love what I do. I have a few tips to help you find success in your life that translates to accomplishment in your financial life.

1. Find what you love…

That could mean, you love people.

You love to invest money.

You love the rush of jumping out of a plane. (Cray, Cray people)

You love to write.

*Find a way to JUST DO IT! 

2. Develop a plan…

Look, dreaming about doing something in your head will never get you anywhere, it’s a dream. Take that dream out of your head and put it on paper. It may take you weeks to figure out exactly what that dream is on paper but it developes into a plan with out you even realizing it. It is your roadmap.

3. Do not work for money…

The minute you start your roadmap and all you can think about is “money”, it will never work. You have to think of this as a labor of love and “love is in the details”. Sometimes when the main focus is money, you look at it like; what is the fasted way I can accomplish this? Wrong approach. There is “no overnight success” and if there is, it is very rare.

4. If you can, always own your own business…

Work for someone else, develop your plan in baby steps. Leave, take your chance on yourself…

Doing something right is the most important thing you can do. Make everyday, a day forward to where you will be working for your own business and loving what you do.

5. Work Hard and I mean hard…

My husband often asks me: Do you really need the money that bad?

Note: We own and operate several restaurants in MD, VA. They are successful because we worked for 10 years very hard. The first 5 years, my husband worked 18 hours a day, one day off. I did all of the financials from home to raise our children. Was it my dream? No, it was my husbands, so I worked as hard as him to help him achieve this life long dream of owning and operating a business to be proud of.

My dream was to be a jewelry designer. I have designed for 15 years but just did shows here and their. I knew I was talented because I loved it and I sold everything out every-time.

I taught myself day and night new techniques and would just sit for hours upon hours creating these little sparklers. I love what I do and very big things are happening for our little train that could.

The truth is; I do not do this for the money, I do this because I am involved in so many of life’s special moments it is unreal. My jewelry is worn, loved and passed along as gifts, moments in time to be remembered.

Like a Bride designing a necklace for her “bridesmaids”. (They will always remember, where/how/who gave this to them.) It’s almost like a song that brings you back to a very special moment or a place in time.

A wife purchasing a “love link” bracelet for her husband that shows her devotion and love to him.

A friend who purchases our Initial birthstone necklace for a new mother to be. Emotional, loving and I get to be there without being there.

A Mother who designs a “keepsake” necklace for her daughter that has her initial on one side and the daughter on the other. Cherished for life.

I want to create and be part of memories in people’s lives. It makes me happy and fulfilled….

Musical Clarity

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Have you ever listened to song and gotten so lost in the lyrics that for a moment you take a step away from reality and just think? Think about it. There has to be that one song that brings back feelings from a past relationship, a family member, and things about yourself that you never really wanted to think about again. It is like you hate it but you cannot stop thinking about it because it is so captivating in itself, but it also is a reminder of what had once been such a big or important part of your life.

Music has always been a huge part of my life, so I may be a little bit biased about this one post, but I believe that a good song, or a good piece of music, can always hit you a certain way. It can make you happy, sad, confused, liberated, determined, and scared. Music can be taken so many different ways, and that decision is truly in the hands of the audience.

Picture this. You are in a crowded room and everyone is talking about unimportant things like the “he said, she said” dramatic tangents that have so easily taken control of almost all conversations. You cannot stand the thought of being interested in these conversations, but you aren’t really sure how to get away from them. You walk away but somehow these conversations seem to be stuck in your mind, and you feel like the walls are caving in on you. As you start getting aggravated and slightly paranoid, you realize that you have your earphones in your pocket of your jacket that in a way seems to be suffocating you. You take them out and you put on your favorite song. This song helps you to get away from what is making you feel so disgusted. It takes you away from the reality of the situation and you can finally just think.

Music, as silly as this may sound, is the saving grace in many peoples lives. How can one not fully appreciate music. It has so many different emotions in just 3 minutes and a couple verses. It tells a story, whether it be about love, triumph, sadness, and loss. A song is equivalent to a 500 page book, in my eyes. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and somewhere in all that mix you get lost in something so much bigger.

Music is a dance party, a cry session, and everything in between. It is about love, heartbreak, and some points…drinking a beer and riding that big green tractor.

Music is a message sent out to masses, and I think that’s beautiful.