Friday, November 22, 2013

Farm House Friday: Finished Floor Plans

It's Official!  Ground breaking will be in December, YEAH!  A few months sooner than expected and we couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present.  We don't have an exact date yet, that will depend on the availability of digging equipment (or I think its called a high lift?), but we know that it will be in December and I will definitely be there to take pictures.  The plans have evolved and I just wanted to share what we have.

Since my last post on our new adventure we have fine tuned the house plans.  And may I say, they are coming along very nicely!  Our architect is Awesome!  He continually shoots us texts and emails with new ideas and revisions to things we wanted to change.

Text Message Sketch
We went forth without a pantry in an effort to accommodate a large mudroom and walk-in Closet for the Master Bedroom.  You might say, no walk-in pantry?  But, my experience is that they can get really cluttered and unorganized so we opted for large pantry cabinets in the kitchen.

In addition to the large mudroom we added a covered porch.  This space will be enjoyed all year round and when we install a fireplace it will be a see through fireplace.  I say "when" we install a fireplace because due to budget constraints and other "needs" we have opted to wait on the fireplace.  This often happens when building, unless your budget is infinite, you have to make compromises and plan for future "wants".  Therefore, we will plan for the fireplace, but not actually install it.

Other changes: the stairs have been flip-flopped, the gathering space has been extended, and the master bedroom and bathroom have been tweaked to maximize the view of the backyard from the bed.

Main Floor (Finished Plans)
In the Basement we switched the location of the mechanical room with the studio/laundry room.  I don't mind because now I have a larger studio!  This was also necessary for our geothermal heat/cool system that will be installed.  More on that later, but let me say, it is an amazing system that saves money on heating and cooling a home.

Basement (Finished Plans)

Like most house builds and remodels, there will likely be more changes, but the walls are set and the appraisal is done so the changes will mostly be cosmetic.  My husband hates that I even talk about changes, but hey it's my prerogative.  I'm a woman!  (It probably doesn't help that I am on Pinterest and Houzz all the time:)

This Farm House is coming together!  Happy Friday!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wheat Belly: Week 3

I have decided to post weekly about my Wheat Belly challenge.

To start off, it was difficult sticking to my challenge.  I went to visit friends and that meant eating out and eating what someone else cooked.  I was dreading going out to dinner because gluten free eating is difficult at restaurants.  Much to my surprise, the restaurant my friends took me to was amazing!  This restaurant has put a modern twist on the traditional dinner.  Mainly hamburgers, but gourmet hamburgers with a gluten free bun option.  A really easy restaurant for gluten/wheat free diners.   Another awesome feature of the restaurant is that all the food was locally grown, therefore no preservatives!  So, if you ever venture to St. Louis eat at Bailey's Range.  You won't be disappointed!

This week is going well, but I am experiencing some withdrawal symptoms, headache most of all.  Another withdrawal that's pretty prevalent, cravings, cravings for processed foods, cravings for easy grab and go snacks like pretzels.  However, I have resisted the urge and fixed myself much healthier and gluten/wheat free snacks.

One of my favorites, which is really easy, is fresh vegetables and Greek yogurt ranch dip.  I typically buy a large bag of fresh veggies at Sam's Club.  The bag has broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.  Simply dip your veggies in your ranch dip and you have a yummy snack!

The ranch dip is easy.  I buy the Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Packets at the store, you can also make your own seasoning, I choose to buy it sometimes because its quicker.  Simply follow the directions on the back of the packet.  To make it healthier and add some protein to my snack I use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  It's really good, you should try it!

Additional recipes we tried this week: scones, crepes, fajitas.  I love scones and these were no exception!  The crepes were delicious as well. It took a while to get the technique down on how to make them because it differed from traditional crepes with gluten and wheat, however, once the technique was mastered I was flipping like hot cakes!  With the crepes we had a ricotta, lemon zest filling with strawberries on top.  We also tried a new breakfast sausage, straight from a local farm, no added ingredients or preservatives and gluten free.  Delicious!

Next week will definitely be the most challenging week thus far, we are going to Florida for the week.  My goal is to cook a totally gluten/wheat free Thanks Giving for my husband and our friends in Florida.  I am taking my cookbook with me and will meal plan on the plane.  Wish me luck, and look for the wonderful gluten free meal I put together.  Looking forward to this challenge!

Is your mouth watering?

Happy Eating! 


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Friday, November 15, 2013

Farm House Friday: Tomatoes, Tomatoes & Tomatoes, Oh My!

I've been doing a little summer reminiscing.  Don't get me wrong, I am a winter girl through and through.  I love winter and everything that comes with it, snow, snow skiing, snow board, snow sledding, Christmas, winter boots, winter clothes, cozy fires, my list can go on and on.  However, I wanted to share our summer garden harvest.  I've been thinking a lot about gardens because we are planning our new house and that is one of the things I am most excited for, to feed my family from the garden. This garden season was amazing. Just the right amount of rain at the right time and the garden flourished.   

The love I have for an Edible Garden is infinite!

This summer we were unable to plant our own garden, but we reaped the benefits of my Mother-In-Laws garden.  It is amazing. The amount of fresh produce taken everyday from the garden is beyond belief.  This years yield has been larger than years past, due to all the spring rain.  Even the dog was excited!

My Mother-In-Law sent me a picture the other day.  In just one day she picked enough tomatoes to Can 8 quarts and make 18 pints of salsa.  

So what to do with all those tomatoes?   Canning provides fresh tomatoes all year.  But, what we like most is fresh salsa and I came up with my own recipe.  I was inspired by the traditional Mexican Pico de Gallo.  It's basic, easy, versatile and only requires a little chopping (no cooking).  It also freezes well. 

Here is what I do:
  • Dice 7-8 fresh tomatoes 
  • Finely dice half (1/2) of an onion (I prefer the red sweet onion, but you can use white or yellow as well)
  • Finely chop a large fist full of cilantro
  • Dice 3-4 peppers (can use bell peppers or banana pepper, whatever you have fresh in your garden works)
  • If you want to add some heat...dice 2-3 jalapeño peppers.  (If you leave the seeds and pith the salsa will be more hot.)
  • Combine the tomato, onion and peppers.  Juice two limes over the mix and add cilantro and 1 teaspoon of garlic (optional).  Add salt and pepper to taste and you are done!

The longer the salsa sits the better it tastes!

I look forward to our farm house and planting an Organic Edible Garden.  A place I will love to walk through and enjoy cooking from.  

Happy Friday!

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wheat Belly: Days 11 + 12 + 13

I woke up this morning, like most mornings, thinking about food.  Yep, I'm one of those, a foodie! You know people who love food, people who love trying new things, cooking new things and always look forward to the next new food or even just the next meal.  Food makes me excited!  However, I haven't always been this way.

When I was younger it was straight chicken fingers and ketchup for this girl.  Sometimes even frozen chicken nuggets if my mom was cooking. Yuck, I know!  It wasn't that my mother was a bad cook, she is a great cook, but it took so long for the chicken nuggets to cool off when she cooked them that my twin sister and I would just eat them frozen.  

Anyway,  back to the foodie thing and why we could all be foodies if we wanted to, even our children.  I have a theory about why children eat only things like chicken nuggets, french fries, candy and the list goes on and on, it's because they aren't given real food.  As adults I believe we dumb down children or think that they are young they don't know as much, they couldn't possibly appreciate a good steak or steamed vegetables, when in reality they can.  Feed it to them!  It might take a couple tries for them to like it, and yes there will be certain things they can't palette, but start young, make them try everything and don't start feeding them processed foods and candy.  This is the key to non-picky eaters and children who will eat what you cook.

So you might say, "What does she know? She doesn't have children of her own."  No, I don't, but I have been a Nanny for nearly 5 years and been in charge of feeding multiple children breakfast and lunch.  From the outside looking in, and it's easier to look in because you are removed more than the parents, children will eat what you give them.  Start this practice early and they will continue to be good eaters.  But, give them processed food and candy and they will become addicted.  

Which lead me to Wheat Belly, not only is it wheat and gluten free, but it is also living a lifestyle free of processed foods.  This is proving to be a great benefit in my life. Like I've said before I have much more energy, and overall I feel really well, but the best part is I've lost weight.  I knew this might happen when I started this challenge, but as some of you might, I was holding my breath.  However, I have successfully lost 4 pounds in less than two weeks.  Yep, I weighed in this morning because my husband commented that I look like I had lost some weight.  (Ahh, thanks honey! He knows I've been trying to lose weight for a while.)  Four pounds by just changing my diet habits, minimal exercise, just walking and taking the stairs.  The biggest change was cutting out processed foods.

I've been chugging along on the recipes in the Wheat Belly Cookbook, still no complaints and fully satisfied!  Last night we did hear away and had a family favorite, Tacos, still gluten/wheat free and still delicious.  Tonight I'd say is a soup kind of night or maybe chili!?

P.S. For those who are looking for more inspiration and information about "real food", pop on over to  She's got a great blog about cutting out processed foods in your families diet and more.

Happy Eating!


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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fireplace Facelift

What do you think of when you see this picture?

I think of snow, winter, a cozy blanket and a good book, mostly I think of Christmas, my FAVORITE time of year!  So, with Fall just arriving and Winter right around the corner, I thought it appropriate to share an updated fireplace project we did for a client!

The fireplace was originally cladded in faux stone on the face and on the hearth.  Our clients wanted the fireplace to be a focal point of the room.  Surrounded by three large windows that open to the backyard and frame a beautiful lake, it was obvious we wanted to bring the outdoors in.  Our amazing slate tile mosaic.  Nothing says outdoors like natural stone.

We found this tile at  The vertical application takes a traditional material and gives it a modern twist, therefore we chose the same layout for the fireplace facelift.  However, we also wanted to add some glass to the mix.  Also found at The Tile Shop, we incorporated a purple glass linear mosaic with the slate.   This application can be tricky if your glass and field tile are different sizes.  

Cherry wood was used to frame the fireplace.  Cherry was chosen to compliment the pine mantle and oak floors.  The same cherry was used as accent strips when the wood floors were refinished.  Consider mixing woods in your renovation projects. Often it can be difficult to match existing wood tones and the use of different species adds depth to the room.


Whether your fireplace is inside or out enjoy cozying up and keeping warm! 

Happy Designing!

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thank You!

I want to thank and recognize a wonderful graphic artist who has helped me create the branding for Hagan Home Design.  Her endless ideas, creative criticism and accountability make her an easy person to work with and will take your brand identity to a new level.

Sarah Julton is a Graphic Artist and Professional Free-Lancer specializing in product branding, web development, and package and logo design.  Currently, Sarah resides in Kongsberg, Norway with her husband Øyvind, and their two children, David and Keeley Grace.  When there is a moment of down time, Sarah loves to read and spend time with her family.

Contact Sarah for your next project @  You can also review her work @

Thank you Sarah

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Wheat Belly: Days 6-10

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!  I must give myself a pat on the back for sticking with it through the first weekend.  Often our weekends include a meal out with friends and a few other indulgences.  But, I did not give in and I feel so amazing!  I even shared my challenge with a friend who is excited and intrigued by the idea.

Also, I want to admit that I went to Panera Bread Co., a nightmare for people with celiacs, gluten sensitivities and me who has cut gluten/wheat out of their diet.   So you might ask what on earth would possess you to tempt fate and walk into a place with such yummy smells and delicious looking meals?  The answer is Colton. Colton is the 14 month old I nanny. Occasionally I take him for a treat to Panera before our weekly, Wednesday toddler class.  Last week, on Friday, we did not have class, but we were by Panera, returning a few things, and he wanted a pumpkin muffie and he devoured it.  I, proud to say, did not even have one teensy weensy taste!  Go me!

Like I said I started the weekend off well and ended it well.  The tomato soup was amazing on Friday night.  And the fresh gluten/wheat free bread was also divine. We made grilled cheese to go with the tomato soup and the left over bread we all devoured the next day at breakfast.  To end the weekend I prepared another sandwich meal, these have become our favorites.  This time it was steak, arugula, roasted red peppers with home made horseradish sauce on foccacia.   It did not disappoint!  And this time there was enough for left overs.

Home Made Creamy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I am feeling amazing and I have even lost some weight.  Awesome to be feeling so well only after one week.  How many other diets or changes can you say make you feel that well that quick?  It only gets better from here.  I am sleeping better and have more energy and motivation than I have had in a long time.  Best of all my entire family is feeling this way and they have started to share it with others as well.

Remember how I said that following a gluten/wheat free lifestyle did not mean that all the food you would eat from here on out would taste like cardboard? Or that you had to give up all pastries, breads, and yummy desserts?  Well, I have backed it up now with the delicious bread we have had.  And now I want to tell you that this weekend I did a lot of baking and dessert making.  All of which were a big hit.

Saturday morning I made fresh home made pumpkin muffins.  Delicious!  Then Sunday evening we had home made chocolate mouse with whipped cream and raspberries.  You will never guess what the main ingredient in the chocolate mouse is?  Tofu Shhhhhh! Don't tell because no one will believe me, but it's true.  I would have never known if I hadn't made it myself.

On Monday I decided I wanted to try the chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Reason one...Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner and I want to enjoy a few sweets.  Reason two...I wanted to see how kid friendly these recipes truly are.  I don't have kids of my own to try it out with so I made chocolate chip cookies for the children I nanny.  (but didn't tell them what was in the  cookies until after they ate them)  Staying in sync with all the other yummy recipes, the chocolate chip cookies were a big hit and to top it off healthier than anything you could buy at the store!

That wraps up the first week of my challenge!  Please message or email if you have any question I can answer about my journey or the wheat/gluten free lifestyle.  Also, I'd love your feedback.

Happy Eating and stay warm! (it's really cold here in Columbia, MO)



P.S  Tonight's menu: Cod and thai noodle salad!

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Wheat Belly: Day 3 + 4 + 5

Day 3:  Tuesday

Eating was a bit more of a challenge today. I didn't have left overs to take to work and have yet to get the time to clean the pantry and stock up on healthy gluten/wheat free snacks and ingredients.  Work poses the most threat to this challenge.   Like a lot of people, the temptations at work are hard to ignore, but I did it.  I chose canned tuna.  With a little mustard, mayo and dill relish mixed in, tuna salad was on the menu for lunch.  This is a quick and easy way to eat wheat/gluten free and feel satisfied.  Be sure that your added ingredients remain gluten/wheat free.  Some condiments have flour or wheat/gluten based additives to thicken them or extend shelf life.

Tonights dinner is another recipe from Wheat Belly, Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice.  I am so looking forward to this and it's a great day for it with the cold and rain!

Day 4:  Wednesday

My oh my the soup was wonderful!  I now have my entire family eating it and they love it.  Honestly, I can't make enough.  We all want leftovers for lunch the next day, but so far there hasn't been enough, oh the predicament!  It used to be that every now and then leftovers would sit in the refrigerator and eventually be pushed down the drain to the garbage disposal.  Not anymore!  We will see what tonights dinner brings.  On the Menu...Meatloaf and green beans.

Also, I have planned out the menu for the rest of the week.   So tonight is meatloaf, Thursday night is Turkey and Brie Sandwiches, fresh garden salad with home made lemon oil garlic dressing, our favorite.  I'm a little iffy about this meal. I haven't eaten too much brie, so we will see.  Oh did I tell you, this lifestyle will make you feel adventurous.  Trying new things, cooking, using new tools in the kitchen...I love it!  One tip I will tell you: invest in a good food processor.  You will use it all the time and don't be cheap get a large one you won't be disappointed.

Finally, Friday, the day of days, the last day of the long week, the best day ever because Saturday comes next, therefore, it's only fitting that we have an awesome cold weather recipe and comfort food, Grilled Cheese and Creamy Tomato Soup!  I never thought that this would be considered a healthy lifestyle meal, but I will gobble it up!

Day 5:  Thursday

WOW!  That's all I can say and did say last night at dinner.  Turkey and Brie sandwiches with tomato are my new favorite! I didn't want to use a whole turkey because I thought it would be too much, so I purchased a fresh turkey breast from my local grocer and roasted it in the oven at 200○F for about 8 hours.  One mistake I made, probably not enough moisture surrounding the turkey.  So, use a big enough pan to fit the turkey in, but not too big that moisture, water or chicken broth, can't cover the turkey on all four sides. Take the turkey out so it has time to cool off.  You could cool it in the refrigerator, but if you are like me, let it cool to just room temperature for a warm home made sandwich.  I like warm sandwiches, mmmm:)

I haven't even gotten to the best part of this recipe...the bread!  I know I can't believe it either.  A lifestyle that allows you to eat bread. What did you say?  Bread?  How do you make bread without wheat?  Well, purchase Wheat Belly and find out!  You won't be disappointed!  I made home made, wheat/gluten free focaccia bread.   This bread is so good even my grandmother who loves her bread and pastries couldn't get enough of it.  She asked me when I would be making more.  Looks like I have a trip to the grocer in my near future:)  But that's fine. I love that my family is eating healthy and loving it!  Best part yet, there were just enough left overs for the cook to take to work for lunch.  That's me:)

Take a look at this, but I caution you, this image could cause extreme salivation!

Since we are scrounging and fighting over leftovers, my plan is to triple the recipe for Creamy Tomato Soup.

That's all for these three days, but stay tuned for my post on Grilled Cheese and Creamy Tomato Soup!

Happy Eating and Happy Friday!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wheat Belly: Day 2

It's day  2 of my 100 day challenge!  It's proving to be just that, a challenge.  Day 1 went well, day 2 I've started to experience a few symptoms of wheat/gluten withdrawal.  This is to be expected and varies for each person.  However, I believe it's worth it so I'll just keep trucking on!

  Like I said in my last post, I have tried gluten free before but always cheated.  This is truly 100 days of gluten free.  So that will probably mean less eating out, if any, fewer gatherings with friends, unless I cook, no beer :( but you can have wine (two 4 oz. glasses a day to be exact) and a whole new routine.  But hey, once I get it down theres only going up:)

So far I feel good minus the headaches and some cravings for things like crackers and candy.  A little tired this am, no bloating :), and fewer body aches especially in my wrist.  I forgot to mention that in my first post. One of the things I am hoping to see get better is the pain in my wrist.
For the past two years I have experienced joint and sometimes muscle pain in my right wrist, numbness and even reduced range of motion.  I was tested for carpal tunnel syndrome and the results were negative, which is good, but it still didn't explain the pain.   At first I chalked it up to school.  The endless days and nights I spend sitting in front of a computer putting finishing touches on my Interior Design Projects.  However, the pain didn't go away when I quit using the computer. Yes, it eased up but never fully went away.

Further reading of Wheat Belly has gotten me really excited.  I  am looking forward to feeling better and looking better.  Although I know this won't be the easiest thing I have ever done I do know that it will probably be one of the most rewarding!

You will find in the book several success stories of people who have taken the wheat free challenge.  Most have seen weight loss, all have experienced a new found energy and some who were living with diabetes, psoriasis, and mood disorders have had a complete recovery.  That's right, a man with diabetes no longer has diabetes since eliminating wheat from his diet.  (I couldn't believe this.  For most people diabetes is a debilitating disease that they will have the rest of their life.)

Yesterday was the first day.  I had oatmeal for breakfast with a handful of pecans and 8 raspberries on top.  Although oatmeal is gluten free it can cause those with celiacs or a severe gluten sensitivity to have issues.  Therefore, the book recommends that oats be consumed sparingly and not at all for those with celiacs or a gluten sensitivity.  That was something new that I learned.  I knew that oats were gluten free however, several brands found in the local grocer can contain trace amounts of gluten.  You can find truly gluten free oats, but oatmeal can increase blood sugar in some people and like I said is recommended in moderation.

For lunch it was baked, maple and citrus glazed chicken thigh with steamed amandine green beans and half of a baked potato.   I have found that potatoes are rarely mentioned in Wheat Belly.  This was surprising to me at first because I knew potatoes were inherently gluten free. My only guess is that potatoes are very starchy and high in carbohydrates so they should probably be consumed in moderation.  Oh, and on top of my potato I had ranch dressing. Be careful with pre-mixed dressings, they can often contain gluten.  The one I had said "gluten free", however its probably best that I start making my own dressing from fewer ingredients because it is much healthier.   One of my favorite, and my husbands favorite home made dressing is a lemon garlic dressing.  My husband asks for it every time I make salad.  I even introduced it to a few of our friends who have since called asking for the recipe.  So I am going to share the recipe with you.

Its simple, just five simple ingredients, a bowl and a whisk and you are done!


1 lemon (can alternate lime if you want)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Mince Garlic (fresh or canned)

1. Juice lemon into bowl.
2. Add 1/2 cup of EVOO (should be about 2:1, EVOO to Lemon juice)
3. 1-2 teaspoons of garlic (more if you like)
4. Salt and pepper to taste
5. Whisk it all together

Lastly, for dinner we had sweet potato and chicken quesadillas. I made home made gluten free tortillas (a recipe from Wheat Belly).  Once again, we had potatoes and still I am a little iffy about including these or not, but I intend to figure out if potatoes should or shouldn't be part of the lifestyle and why.  I felt very full and satisfied with just one 6" quesadilla.

Day one was a success!  I did not eat wheat and learned quit a bit more about the do's and do not's of eating wheat free.  Thing to remember most is don't feel like you are missing out. These recipes are very good to taste and even better for your health.

Side note:  Each day I will weigh in and keep track of my mood and any other changes. I don't intend to include this data in each post, but I hope to share my weight loss total when I am done with my 100 day challenge.

On the calendar for the weekend: convincing my entire family to do this with me so its easier to cook.  Oh and cleaning out the pantry. I'm actually looking forward to this.  I'll get to let my OCD go to good use.

Cheers to another day!



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Monday, November 4, 2013

100 Day Gluten Free Challenge: Wheat Belly

It was a couple years ago that I decided to change my diet and go Gluten Free.  My reason was health related as well as wanting to lead a healthier life.  I had developed poor eating, sleeping and exercise habits in college and as the years went on I experienced less energy as well as always feeling bloated and heavy.  My twin sister was the one to take the leap first.  I noticed how well she felt when she made the changes and figured we are twins, I would probably see similar changes in myself.

Note:  I have not been diagnosed with celiacs disease or a gluten sensitivity. However, both do exist and this is a personal choice to change my health and life.    

Some might think that going Gluten Free is a fad, much like low-fat, low-carb or other popular fad diets. Its possible that some think sooner or later "Gluten Free" will go out of style.  However, for those of us who have gluten sensitivities or full blown celiacs disease, we know that isn't the case.  Gluten free is a new lifestyle, a new way of cooking, shopping and nourishing you and your family.

Recently, I have fallen off the wagon, if you will, and fell back into old habits of starchy carbs and processed foods with preservatives, food dye and other toxins that aren't good for our bodies.  I have experienced low energy, lack of motivation, even my skin looked dull, old and quit frankly like a teenager going through puberty with lots of pimples.

Due to a few illnesses I started eating better, taking my vitamins and drinking more water.  I started feeling better and avoided catching air born illnesses from the children I nanny.  I credit this to healthy eating, mainly fresh fruit and vegetable, little carbs and cutting out most things with gluten in them.  I also noticed that my body was trimming up. I really hadn't done much exercise, but still noticed the fat around my belly diminishing and my skin, WOW, it looks 100 times better.  It's true what they say, "You are what you eat".  I was becoming junk food and looked like the oily processed c$@% I was feeding my body.

Which brings me to why I chose to do this challenge.  I want to be healthier.  Healthy body, skin and life. I'm not getting any younger and my body doesn't bounce back like it used to, therefore I need to pay more attention to what I feed my body and mind.

My challenge starts here, today!  I am beginning by reading Wheat Belly, by William Davis MD.  Also along with the book is a cookbook.  This cookbook is amazing!  I have already tried a few recipes.  Think gluten free means no bread, no pizza, no more delicious deserts like cupcakes? Think again!  I highly recommend anyone who is considering gluten free, or has to eat gluten free to read this book.

Here are a few of the main points that have really stood out to me so far are :

1. The wheat (which contains gluten) that is put into our products today has evolved.  Basically it has become a big, harry, green, monster and is no good for us.  Don't believe it?  Read the book and decide for your self.

2. Gluten free will change your health for the better; lower blood pressure, diminish or rid skin rashes, diminish or rid IBS or Irritable Bowl Syndrome, help with symptoms and control of diabetes.  These are just a few things people have seen improve with a gluten free diet.

3.  Changes mood, especially in children.   This one hits home for me. I don't have children yet, however I am a nanny.  The children eat a lot of junk food, candy, and processed foods.  I notice their behavior changes after eating these things and its not pretty. From temper tantrums to attitudes, hitting and biting they can completely loose it!

My intentions with this challenge is to provide a personal account of a gluten free diet and share it with others.  This is still a blog about design and I will incorporate the two into weekly posts. Starting with a post about organizing and designing your kitchen for a gluten free lifestyle.

So stay tuned and cheers to a healthy lifestyle!

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Thursday, May 9, 2013


I some how have developed an infatuation with tables!  You might think why tables, but I will tell you there are so many options out there and depending on the use you may or may not have that perfect table.  For example, some of you may have kids, small kids, and a coffee table with square corners isn't exactly suitable for a child learning to walk.  Maybe you have removed the table from the living room completely.  But I say why not find a more kid friendly table!  Now obviously no table is kid proof but consider the shape and material and it may make your life easier and your child safer.

My infatuation started with this table.  Indestructible materials and a round shape make it kid appropriate.  I also love the industrial and rustic style combination that it displays with a metal base and wood plank top.

If I were a single lady, meaning I could style my home with any table I wanted, I would have a living room that incorporates a very hollywood chic table, like the one seen in this living room.  However, I am not single and I wish to remain married so this one will have to wait for a very special "woman cave"!  Who said men were the only ones with a "man cave"? :)

Those were a few classics.  Now to introduce the modern tables that I absolutely adore.  And don't think that just because you have an all rustic or traditional style home you can't incorporate modern. I love to mix it up...eclectic as designers call it!  Show off what you love and don't be limited by time periods or styles.  I feel it adds more interest!

Another modern design is the C-table.  I think they look a lot like a TV table, but with a lot more style!  They are designed so that they can tuck under you sofa on the end or either in front of the sofa.  The one on the left could be made at home, if you are a DIYer!  It's West Elm's Pipe Table. 

Then you have the ever so popular stump tables.  In my opinion these are very versatile. They can be used as a side table, put two or three together and make a coffee table or use it as a stool or some extra seating for guests.  Also the style can go with rustic design or modern design.  These are also a good DIY project!

Next up, the indoor/outdoor table.  Most of them are ceramic or metal and have a modern flare to it.  They are great for adding a pop of color in your living room and better yet they can be utilized all year round.  So, each season you have a "new" table :)  Re-designing with items you already have is obviously cheap and can freshen up your home!  Buy pieces that work in multiple rooms and you will be one happy designer!

The next two tables are just a few extras that I love.  They each have a very unique style and I'm not quit sure I could find a place to put them in my home...again my husband does have a say:)  But, I wanted to show them anyways.  The first one is a driftwood table base with a glass top.  Not kid friendly, but very fun and would look AMAZING in a beach home:)  (Maybe some day I will have a beach home!)

Okay, back to reality!
I am also showing the palette table, a very popular trend happening in home design.  Palettes are versatile, cheap and do have a "I found this in the garbage, what can I do with it" kind of charm.  I like what they've done with the palette table making it into a planter.  It has a built in center piece!  Once again I love double duty design:)

Last, but not least, the ultimate table I will some day have.  It's sturdy, purdy, and I can build it myself...  The farmhouse table!  It will seat multiple people, has rustic charm and is basically indestructible with kids.  Besides the wear and tear kids do will add character to it!

I can't decide which one I like best, the all wood table or the metal base table...maybe I'll make both! 

There you have it, my table crush!  What table is your favorite?  If I didn't show your style shoot me a message with a picture of a table you have fallen in love with!  I'd love to see it:)

Until next time...

P.S.  I'd love to help make your table crush a reality.  Contact me for design services!

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Friday, May 3, 2013

We're Buying Land & Building a House!

That's right, we have taken the plunge into home building!  It's said that "If your marriage can survive building a custom home then your marriage can survive anything."  I do believe that we will be living proof of that:)

The process has begun!  We have found and the INK is DRY on 20 acres of beautiful ground 30 minutes from Columbia and about an hour from St. Louis!  Our home will sit on the edge of farmed acreage and back up to 13 acres of beautiful woods.  The land also has a creek flowing around it and a modest sized pond in the middle.  In the future, our plan is to increase the size of the pond, plant a beautiful and edible garden and settle down with our future children and two dogs.

Aerial view.  The red line indicates the property line. 

Pond Dam                     
Farmed acreage

ATV Trail

Private Drive.  The property is to the right in this picture.

Home building is a lengthy process.  The process of buying land has taken us a year.  We wanted to find a place that we could raise a family, be close to work and have a sanctuary to call home.  Next step, house plans!

Being an Interior Designer I have a well established list of what I want and what our family needs in a home.   My husband, who is a Construction Project Manager, also has his wants and needs. He has his list of priorities and I have my list.  Some things we agree on, some things we don't and some things we compromise on.  Give and take! Right? That's what marriage is all about and apparently home building too:)

Finally, after looking at several plans and picking out what we absolutely had to have, we have settled on a style we both like and preliminary house plans.  I love this part! It's so inspiring as a designer to design your own home from the ground up.  It's exciting to see our DREAMS coming true!

Here is a glimpse at the house plans thus far.  Like I said, these are preliminary plans, and in construction, plans usually and most likely will change.  In fact we have already changed where the house is going to sit...and I'm sure it will change again before we break ground.  But, isn't it EXCITING!

Main Floor Elevation
Basement Floor Plan

Front Elevation

The Adventure has just begun!  Looking forward to what the future holds.  Stay tuned for more details about our home build.

What do you think of the plans?  What's your favorite thing about it? Would you do anything different or did you do anything different when you built?  I'd love to hear from you so leave a comment!

P.S.  If you would like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Babies Nursery: Will it be a Boy or a Girl?

My Brother and Sister-In-Law are having their second child!  I am so excited to be an Auntie again.  So, I bet you can guess who they asked to help design the new nursery...yep me!  I am so thrilled to be able to help out and better yet the design is going to be AMAZING!  My Sister-In-Law was inspired by a show on HGTv called Sarah 101.  What a great show!  If you haven't seen it you should check it out.

Don't you just love the non-tradional lighting she added!  And her use of multiple patterns is flawless.

Obviously her designs are inspiring!  I love that she's not afraid to use multiple patterns and bold colors.  We took our cue from her and chose a wonderful pattern for the wall.  My first approach was wall paper.  However, my SIL (Sister-In-Law) was a little scared when I mentioned the word "wall paper".  Naturally so, wall paper has a bad reputation for sticking around way too long and being hard to remove.  So I suggested we use a stencil and paint an all over design on a feature wall.  It's easy to do, easy to change, and has the same impact as wall paper.  

You are probably wondering what kind of pattern we chose for our stencil. My SIL decided she wanted a modern, yet subtle, safari themed room. Now, I'm not one for themed rooms, but I think if you choose the right patterns, textures, finishes and accessories it can be very classic. Besides, this is a child's room, so have a little FUN!  

We chose a zebra patterned stencil.  Stencils are great.  You can choose the colors you want and aren't stuck to patterns and colors in a wall paper book.  The sky is the limits with stenciling so reach for the stars.  I can't wait to show you how we chose to work our stencil colors!

They also have patterns like the ever so popular chevron stripes!

I had worked with stenciling before in a clients living room.  (I'll post a picture of that in the future when the room is complete)  Therefore, I went back to the same supplier because I was very happy with the quality of stencil, the affordability (much cheaper than wall paper) and they have tutorials on their website that are very easy to follow as a beginner.  Go to and check out all the amazing patterns, inspiration and tips on stencils.

That's my bit about stencils, continuing on with the nursery.   With the concept of Modern Safari, I set out looking for some great staple pieces to anchor our design and a place to pop color.  Furniture is a great place to bring in a bold color choice and incorporate the modern style we want to achieve.  We have been on the hunt for a dresser.  One that can double as a changing station by simply adding a changing pad and some baskets for storage.  The great thing about a dresser as a changing table is it grows with the child and you aren't stuck with a changing table to get rid of when the child is grown.  

I have come across a few options on Craig's List...

The thriftyness in me has not purchased them yet. I am still haggling the price down.  But, either of these are viable options because they have good bones, style and functionality.  It's important to remember, when you are buying something second hand or from a flea market, not to look at the color, finish or hardware, but pay attention to the basics: is it sturdy, does it meet the dimensions you need, is the style what you want and think of the possibilities of what it could be.  With these two options I know we will paint, change the hardware and maybe add some texture to the drawer fronts.  You don't have to buy items and use them literally.  Get creative and see what you come up with.  In addition, this dresser will provide excellent storage and is perfect from baby to child.  It's also the right height for a changing table.  

Our plan for the dresser is to paint it.  I bet you will never guess what color.  Go ahead take a wild guess!  We chose........KELLY GREEN!  Perfect for a girl or a boy and a hot new color trend.  It will give us a great pop of color and anchor the room.  We plan on painting the crib this color as well.  

Valspar- Field Time Green

Along with the green we have also chosen the wall color.  For the entire room we will paint the walls light, cool toned gray, Valspar's Tempered Gray.  On the feature wall, where we will pain the stencil, Tempered Gray will be our base color and the stencil color will be a pearlized white.  It is going to look fantastic!

That is it for now. Look for my next installment on the nursery.  We will have finished pictures of the painted furniture. Fabric samples for the crib bedding and hopefully the walls will be painted. Until then...

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Shredded Beef Tacos!

It's true there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done! One way I make life easier on myself is to use the crock pot for dinners.  I want my nights to be free!  Free to either spend time with my family or take care of other tasks around the house.  Insert the crock pot into your life and you've found the perfect solution.  In this recipe I used the oven as my "crock pot".

The recipe was passed on to me by a friend.  She had made it one night for her family and I just happened to be there when it came out of the oven. The only thing I could say was "Wow!" It was so juicy and tender and it melted in your mouth.  So, I stole the recipe and planned the perfect night to use it...a Friday night!  I knew I wouldn't want to come home from work and cook, and with a busy weekend ahead I knew there would be left overs.

What a great idea I had, because my family ate four wonderful meals from one recipe!  That's five adults eating four meals...I know I couldn't believe it either.  Even better if you don't want to eat it for five days straight you can always freeze it and use it later!  Imagine if it was just you and your husband or you and your would probably turn into a taco from the amount of beef it makes.  The best part is you don't have to do just tacos...the options are endless!  Endless I tell ya...well at least it is for those who are creative with food.  That's where I struggle, but my husband is wonderful at it:)  Here's the recipe for tacos.

And this is how it looked on our dinner table!  I just love tacos...makes your plate so colorful!
That's right! see strawberries on the taco.  A delicious, sweet opposition the salty beef:)

My Wonderful Husband...Ladies don't swoon too fast!

As you can see the tacos are delicious and everyone enjoyed them.  I especially liked that they could feed a large family several meals or can be frozen.  We also made home made Beef Stroganoff with the leftovers.  Boil some noodles, gluten free for us, and steam some broccoli and you have another delicious meal.

Rescue Recycle Reinvent

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