Inspired by…home of Lauren Conrad

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Todo…we’re not in Laguna Beach anymore.

Ever since first watching Lauren Conrad on MTV in “The Real OC” and then promptly following her reality TV career to The Hills, I have enjoyed her. Her no-nonsense approach to drama, her innocence and naivety with men and her impeccable sense of style in both fashion and interiors. She really is someone I have grown up watching and a celebrity I have come to admire in many ways.

Her new LA Penthouse is no different. In an interview and tour with In Style Magazine, Conrad opens up her new home, one she shares with her new husband, William Tell, and lets readers know why she chose all the girly details.

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Stacks of fashion books are a mainstay in Conrad’s home office. The rug is made from recycled silk saris; the couch is upholstered in a complementary punchy shade. “I always gravitate toward feminine details,” said Conrad. “On a garment it’s a bow; on a sofa it’s tufting.”

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When she was planning the master bathroom, a designated area for hair and makeup was a priority. “For years we’d have to do it in the kitchen because it had the best counters and light,” says her longtime makeup artist, Amy Nadine. “I’d always think, ‘One day can you build a real vanity in your bathroom, please?'”

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“This is my dark and sexy room,” Conrad says of the mirrored cocktail bar with a black lacquered ceiling.

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To keep her kitchen organized, Conrad stacks her all-white everyday dishes on the open shelves above the sink. “All food looks more appealing on white plates,” she says.

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“I wanted the living room to feel like an airy New York loft,” says Conrad of the space, which boasts a soaring ceiling and is awash in neutrals, with touches of pink and gold.

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“William likes modern, masculine interiors, and I’d be happy in a place that’s all white and pink with gold accents.”

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“In my last apartment I turned a bedroom into a closet, so I knew I needed at least that much space,” she says. “When I did that again here, my dad almost had a heart attack. He said, ‘Do you know what you’re doing to the value of your house?'”

 

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Plum Tarts

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I had such a great weekend! Some of my best girlfriends came down from Seattle with their hubbies for some wine tasting in the Columbia Gorge. The weather could not have been more perfect, the wineries were stunning, the wine was fabulous (correction…is fabulous, as I’m drinking some right now) and the company, amazing. I have the best group of friends a girl could ask for and being that I don’t see them very often, it was so nice to relax and get caught up.

We did our wine tour through Wine Dirt, which is owned and operated by my friend’s mom, Mary. If you love wine and prefer some knowledge and education with your wine tasting, be sure to check her out. Not only did we taste some great wines at wineries we probably wouldn’t have come across on our own, but Mary has so much knowledge and experience in the wine industry that you leave each winery with a true appreciation for what they do.

I think my favorite winery had to be Syncline Wine Cellars. Their tasting area is situated amongst vineyards and oak trees, complete with Adirondack chairs, picnic tables and hammocks, so you can fully relax while you sip away.

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And now, a yummy Sunday night dinner at home with my hubs followed by an even yummier dessert, these plum tarts with honey & pepper. I know, I know…pepper? On dessert? Yes! The sweetness of the plums and the honey really balance it out, trust me! And, they are so quick and easy to prepare.

Plum Tarts w/ Honey & Pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
1 pound red plums, cut into 1/2″ wedges
1/4 cup sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp honey
flakey sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Cut pastry into six 4″ squares, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and prick all over with a fork. Top each square with plums, leaving a 1/2″ border. Sprinkle each square with sugar and a few grinds of pepper.
3. Bake tarts until edges of pastry are puffed and golden brown, 25-30 minutes.
4. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with salt just before serving.

Original recipe from Bon Appétit.

 

Painted Chandelier

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This is one of the first things I did when we moved into our house and it didn’t start out as a DIY project at all. Initially I hated this chandelier and was simply going to take it down and replace it with something else but my mom was visiting, and we decided, on a whim, to get a little creative before spending to money on a new chandelier. What the heck…why not, right?

I apologize up front for the “before” photo. Since I didn’t know it would be a DIY project, I wasn’t exactly prepared…

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Once we disconnected the chandelier, and stared at it on the ground for a while, we decided it might look completely different in a new color. This was such a random and un-thought-out project that the steps are as simple as it can get and kind of turned out as the easiest update ever.

Supplies
semi-gloss interior paint in your color choice
paint brush
ceiling medallion

There are many different sizes and styles of ceiling medallion on Lowes.com and they are fairly easy to install. Once the light fixture is taken down, the medallion is secured directly into the ceiling and the light fixture can be put right back.

I didn’t do any prep to the chandelier itself before painting. Depending on what material it is made of, you may want to apply one coat of primer first. It took just 2 coats of black semi-gloss paint fully coat the fixture. Then I replaced the frosted glass light bulb covers (these can easily be updated as well, home improvement stores have many different shapes and sizes) and voila! a beautifully updated light fixture.

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Favorite Things…September 17

Favorite Outdoor Space
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Favorite Living Room
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Favorite Fireplace Mantle
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Favorite Master Bathroom
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Favorite Table Setting
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Favorite Recipe
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Favorite Look
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Shrimp & Corn Chowder

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It’s official, I’m back in the working world! I spent last week trying to get myself back on a schedule, waking up at a normal time instead of sleeping in and being lazy for the first few hours of the day. Cramming as much painting, projects and recipes into each day as I could. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m going from having all the time in the world to do whatever I please to not having enough time to think twice about what I’m going to wear today (which I usually think about 10 times over). I also have a new best friend, my daily (a.k.a. hourly) planner which now looks like Samantha’s planner on Sex and the City in the episode where Carrie gets broken up with on a post-it.

So, here goes nothing. My attempt to essentially work 2 full-time jobs…and still be successful at both.

I want to thank all of you who have faithfully followed me for the first few months of this fun little journey. I have loved sharing my posts with you and hearing your feedback and feeling the love. You have helped make this a very fun experience and I hope I have at least inspired you to try something new, in your cooking or in your home.

Ok, ok…onto the chowder. I have really come to love buying Cooking Light magazine every month. Their recipes are so tasty, easy and for the most part very quick to make (usually less than 40 minutes from prep to taking your first bite) and this chowder was no different. It took much less time than I anticipated and the flavor was delicious!

Shrimp & Corn Chowder
(makes approx. 6 cups)
4 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
4 green onions
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced fat milk
1 1/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
1 (10 ounce) bag frozen corn kernels, thawed

1. Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat 6 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon, reserve drippings.
2. Thinly slice green onions; reserve 2 Tbsp dark green parts. Add white and light green onion parts, thyme and garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 2 minutes.
3. Sprinkle flour over onion mixture, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
4. Stir in milk, stock and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook 2 minutes.
5. Stir in salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, shrimp and corn; simmer 4 minutes or until shrimp are done.
6. Discard bay leaf. Divide soup evenly among 4 bowls; sprinkle with bacon and reserved 2 Tbsp green onions and serve with crusty bread.

Original recipe from Cooking Light.