Mixed Print Book Club

In our recently formed “Mixed Print Book Club,” we try to pick books for the group that are charming, fun, and an escape from reality (for better or for worse). The group consists of mostly working women (and yes, that includes full-time mamas!), so when we have a few minutes to slip away into another world, it helps when the main characters are swoon-worthy and silly.

Our picks so far have included:

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Next Read: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

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Attachments: A Novel, by Rainbow Rowell – Oh holy night, this is a heart-swelling, laugh-and-cry-out loud, swoony moony charming book. It’s told mostly through emails, so it reads quickly, and we guarantee you’ll be cheering by the end.

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The Rosie Project: A Novel,
by Graeme Simsion
 – This quirky romcom novel is fairly predictable but oh so enjoyable! The narrator is a man with Asperger’s, who is determined to find the perfect life partner, using a complicated set of rules and regulations. Also a quick read, and part of a series, for those who can’t get enough of Don.

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Kiss Carlo: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani – Our friend, book clubber, and surrogate sister Missy loves loves loves the author Adriana Trigiani, and has gotten us hooked. The Big Stone Gap series series is ten thumbs up! Kiss Carlo is a sumptuous throwback with beautiful descriptions and a world to definitely get lost in.

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel – The book that kicked it all off! Hands down, across the board, a winner. Told in a series of emails and letters, this Seattle-set satire is funny, smart, and delightful. Plus, that cover!

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What are you reading? Interested in joining in from afar? Message us and we can set up a post for commenting on each book!

{featured photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash}

Working Girl Cake

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Cakes. Birthday cakes, baby cakes, wedding cakes, cookie cakes, naked cakes, drip cakes, vintage cakes, meringue cakes…you name it, I’ve pinned it. I have the best intentions of making Nicole and I the most grandiose, sparkling and macron themed birthday cake, but then every year our birthday pops up OUT OF NOWHERE and I just make us cocktails.

This past weekend I hosted a baby shower and I had all intentions of making the most grandiose sparkling blueberry drip cake, and then as everything else, the date popped up OUT OF NOWHERE. Bound and determined to still make a cake, but knowing I didn’t have time with my 438 jobs I currently have, I had a creative working girl solution.

I found an inspiration photo on Pinterest.

Then, I ordered (from a local grocery store) a 3 tiered chocolate cake that was just iced. No piping. No decoration. Just iced. It was $17. That is the greatest time and mess saver and I will never, ever bake a cake again after coming up with this genius plan.

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Then, I made a ganache. It’s easy. Equal parts chocolate and heavy whipping cream. Melt slowly in the microwave with 25 second increments until melted and smooth.

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Next, the drizzle. Spoon it around the edges of the cake to give it the drip look. Mine got a bit wonky on some spots, but that’s the charm of home made.

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Then, fill in the top.

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Since it was a baby boy shower, I decided to top the cake with blueberries and blackberries. Just pile them on. No rhyme or reason.

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Tada! They will think you worked days in the kitchen, when in reality, it was more like 15 minutes. And all under $25. They will love it. Here’s proof.

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If you are a more tactile, flip-through-the book kind of baker, here are some of my favorites from my home collection:

Butter Celebrates!: Delicious Recipes for Special Occasions

Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes From a Little Neighborhood Bakery

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking

The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Anything But Neutral: Home Inspiration from the Movies

Both of us are OBSESSED with charming, cozy, European home design. The quirkier and more colorful, the better. I think we both know our husbands will only allow *so* much whimsy in our house. Therefore, we live vicariously.

PADDINGTON BEAR is making the rounds in our family. I read the first book to my kiddos earlier and thought it was a delight. OF COURSE the movie is, too. The set design and use of color reminds me a lot of my all time favorite movie, Amelie. So it’s no wonder I want to dive in and live in The Brown’s colorful house.

Take a peek:

A charming cherry tree mural, winding with the spiral stair case!

A red bedroom with matching upholstered headboard! Reminds me of another favorite room…

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colourful paddington bear movie interior set design

A carousel horse in the office!

Midcentury lamps mixed with tear-drop chandeliers!

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Candy-striped wallpaper! Painted furniture! Art everywhere! Hanging at crooked angles! (Reminds me of my house, actually…)

Oh, the color, the whimsy, the charm.

Excuse me. I’m going to run to the store to pick up some blue paint…or go shopping using this fun site, Film & Furniture.

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Little doses of Paddington inspiration:

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Read “A Bear Called Paddingtonto your kiddos.

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A cherry blossom umbrella! For those of us who might not be able to wrap our spiral staircase with a mural…

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Market baskets to keep all your books and plants in, and to use while walking down charming British streets. {I actually do have about 1000 of these in my house…}

Book Love: Folk Art Techniques

My personal artistic style is messy, dreamy, and intuitive. I very rarely sketch out ideas or work with a final image in mind. This might be why I’m compelled to buy every art-technique book out there, because the process is so foreign and fascinating.

I LOVE folk art, and folk design, from all regions of the world. Lately a few new books have been published with step-by-step techniques and ideas, and are welcome additions to my collection.

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Imagine A Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art

Enchanting folk art! Mermaids and sirens, beetles and butterflies! Wallpaper inspiration for daysssss. Usually I check out a book from the library before purchasing, but I went with my gut and bought it. So happy I did!

Then, it wasn’t enough. I needed MORE. So, again, sight unseen, I purchased Creative Folk Art and Beyond:

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This fun book caters toward those who require more instruction and steps to create their work. It’s like a sketchbook and journal all in one. Also a good keeper!

If you are wanting to add even MORE folk art instruction books, here’s a list I found:

Folklorique: A Folk Art Coloring Book: A Unique Antistress Coloring Gift for Men, Women, Teenagers & Seniors with Relaxing Patterns, Stress Relieving … Relief, Mindful Meditation & Relaxation)

Modern Folk Embroidery: 30 Contemporary Projects for Folk Art Inspired Designs

European Folk Art Designs (Dover Pictorial Archive)

Etchart: Hidden Forest: Reveal the wonders of the wild in 9 amazing Etchart scenes

I’ve also put together a Pinterest Board on swoon-worthy folk art, both traditional and contemporary.

One snowy day, sitting by the fire, I decided to try my hand at folk-style art. This was extremely satisfying, and maybe now I should set my career sights as a wallpaper artist? Yeah? Maybe.

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pattern play by Nicole Chilton

Everything is Coming Up Bagel Salt!

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Avocado toast. Put it on!

Fried egg sandwich? Add it!

Roasted vegetables? Sprinkle that stuff all over the place.

I’m talkin’, Fishs Eddy’s Everything Bagel Salt. Your culinary world will never be the same. There’s something about this particular mix of sea salt, sesame seeds, caraway seeds, and poppy seeds that’s just extra everything. I’ve purchased quite a few different types of Everything Bagel Salt, but I keep coming back to this one.

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the little caraway seeds look like faces on my fried egg and avocado sandwich!

Enjoy!

Favorite Things

Highlights of some of our favorite things, and where to find them!

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Plum and Punch Bright Eyed Yellow Pencil Holder (or zipper cactus holder…) – More fun planters found HERE.

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212 Everything Bagel Salt

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Ranunculus flowers. These papery, delicate flowers are inspirational as an artist and creator. Their symmetry and ombre color reflects just how mesmerizing nature can be. Test your hand at growing your own…or do like I do and call a florist. –Nicole {photo from @nikosaur on IG}

{featured photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash }

Golden Milk

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Flu season has been no joke. Having kids in elementary school and an office job is practically the same as living inside a petri dish.

I don’t want to get sick, and I don’t want my kiddos to get sick, so I’ve been eating raw garlic until my breath bursts into flames, and then cool it down with clementines and water. When I want something *really* wonderful, I make Golden Milk. It’s a sweet and spicy chai-like creamy drink. It’s golden, because of the turmeric, which has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. It does wonders. Make it. Drink it. Brag about how earthy you are. Recipe below.