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  • Sprucing up the living room? A fireplace adds approximately 12% value to a home.
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    November 21, 2014
    Best Thanksgiving Time-Savers

    We know we shouldn’t over-commit on our Thanksgiving menus, but we do it anyways. I find the best strategy for getting things done is to make anything I can ahead of time. Here are a few of my favorite make-ahead recipes and one cheat to help you through the holiday.

    1) Make and Freeze Pie Crusts The Weekend Before - If you just can’t do without homemade pie crust (I know I can’t), you can simply make them ahead of time and pop them in the freezer for the convenience of the store-bought stuff. Get Martha Stewart’s make-ahead pie crust recipe here.

    2) Make Mac & Cheese The Night Before and Keep it in the Fridge – I think mac & cheese is actually better when it sits over night before the final baking. It gives the flavors time to meld. I usually go with this recipe from Martha Stewart and add the crumb topping just before baking.

    3) Make Soups Ahead a Few Days Ahead – I find that soups, like mac & cheese, taste better after a night or two in the fridge.

    4) Replace Turkey with an Alternative Main – I have a deep dark secret: I’ve never cooked a turkey. A few years ago, my family discovered that none of us really likes turkey that much. Instead, we’ve begun replacing the traditional bird with other meats. I like to go for something that I can’t do at home – like a brisket from a local BBQ joint, or a smoked ham. But other time-saving options would be a roast chicken or duck – both of which take much less time to cook. Or, if you can’t do without turkey, go buy one. In my home town, most of the BBQ restaurants sell smoked turkeys – which, for turkey, are pretty amazing.


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    November 17, 2014
    Mushroom for More

    Super cute Amanita Second Helping Storage Jar, $28 at Mod Cloth.


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    November 12, 2014
    Double the Pick-Me-Up

    Sometimes a bad morning calls for more pick-me-up than plain old caffeine has to offer. These inspirational mugs would definitely fit the bill. Crown Leaf Mugs, $12 each at Anthropologie.


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    November 6, 2014
    Form and Function

    These Crest brass bottle openers from Unison are so pretty you’ll probably want to hang them on the wall. $60 each. Via the Curbly stocking stuffer guide (yes, we’re apparently skipping directly to Christmas this year).


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    November 3, 2014
    Yes Please: Croissant Bread

    I have wanted to try making my own croissants for years. If you’ve ever read a croissant recipe, you know why I’ve been putting it off. Complicated doesn’t begin to cover it. But seeing this breakfast loaf made from croissant dough scraps may change my mind. Get the recipe at Not Without Salt.


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    October 21, 2014
    Multifaceted

    Drink a Diamond glass set (includes 2), $34 at Urban Outfitters.

     


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    October 14, 2014
    Make it a Double

    This beechwood coffee scoop pulls double duty as a bag clip. Which comes in handy since I recently learned I’m not supposed to be keeping my coffee beans in the freezer. $12 each.


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    October 13, 2014
    Coasting Along

    Coasters are meant to stop condensation from putting rings on your furniture. Which makes me wonder why most coasters are made of plastic, glass or ceramic. All three materials end up stuck to the bottom of a dripping glass. Maybe it’s time for me to order some of these leather gem coasters from Urban Outfitters. $45 for the set of 4.


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    October 1, 2014
    Another Deco Reco

    Here’s another Art Deco find – the Deco Wine Rack from West Elm. $49 each.


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    September 25, 2014
    Etsy Find: Pigeon Toe Ceramics

    If you like simple, modern ceramics, check out Pigeon Toe. The pieces are gorgeous and the prices are really quite reasonable. Above, Square Handle Basket, $110. Below, Bronze Handle Butter Dish, also $110.


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