Tyler Candle Co.

Since moving into our house, Beau and I have been working very hard to keep that I-own-huge-dogs-and-have-given-up-on-cleaning look and smell out of our house. I have to admit, sometimes I just want to throw in the towel and say, "Screw it!" However, since Beau basically has a nervous breakdown if the house isn't immaculate, we literally clean almost every single day. So while we're battling the dirty floors, we let Tyler handle the odor.

Tyler candles have become my favorite candle company EVER. There are roughly a million scents to choose from, and I've only found a few that I don't love. They last forever, and are great for pet owners (like us) who want to really mask that pet smell. (I feel like I should say - we do NOT have a smelly house whatsoever. However, with two big dogs, it's never going to be perfect) Anyway, our favorite scents are Paris, Tyler, and Original, but I know other people swear by French Market and Wisteria Lane. Check them out! I know locally in Baton Rouge, you can find these candles at The Royal Standard, Earthly Concerns, and in the Mall of Louisiana.

Note: These candles smell great, and they look fantastic, too. The colors of the waxes are very chic and sophisticated, so you really can use it as decoration, too. Does this sound like the Glade commercial with that faux-candle paper crap where you're supposed to use it as decor?! Ummm...no.


Baked Salmon and Mashed...Cauliflower?

On a date night a few days ago, Beau and I decided to go all out and cook a yummy (yet healthy) dinner instead of going out to a restaurant. One catch: we couldn't use chicken. After looking back at some of the old recipes, it gives the impression that we eat nothing but chicken and hummus. So to switch it up, Beau bought two gorgeous salmon fillets from Whole Foods along with the necessities for this dish...cauliflower, dill weed, lemons,... and wine. What we made was baked salmon with a lemon and dill sauce paired with rosemary and garlic mashed cauliflower (healthier than based potatoes). If you haven't tried this yet you must. It's so, so good!
- 1 pound salmon fillets

- 1/4 cup Brummel and Brown yogurt butter, melted
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- sea salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Place salmon in greased baking dish, drizzle sauce. Cook for ~25 minutes

Mashed Cauliflower (mashed potato substitute)
- 1 head of cauliflower (steamed until soft) - add to food processor
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
- salt/pepper
- dash of white truffle oil

This salmon was pretty easy, and it really came out great! Unfortunately (yet typically), I added WAY too much garlic to the point to where it almost spicy. Oh well - they were definitely edible, but i strongly recommend sticking to the 2 cloves! Note: the total prep and cook time was only about 35 minutes so this it totally something you could make on the fly! Hope you enjoy!

Salmon Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com


Avenue Rouge Fashion Show

Last Thursday, Beau and I (along with friends, Johnny and Patrick - the two inside in the picture above) attended 225 Magazine and InRegister's Avenue Rouge Fashion Show. I have to say - we were very impressed with the whole production, and we had a great time! The venue was one of the coolest parts. (For readers outside of Baton Rouge, movies are staring to be filmed here instead of LA or Hollywood because of tax credits and other financial incentives.) Celtic Media Center is where many of the movies are filmed here, in Baton Rouge, and it was the perfect backdrop for the night's events.

This year, New York designer, BB Dakota was the show's main designer, but local boutiques also participated in the runway show. Beau, myself, and our friend, Patrick were actually asked to walk in the show for a local men's suit shop, but in the end, Beau and I didn't make the cut. Bummer! So from the perspective of a viewer, everything from hair and make-up to the clothes to the runway felt to surreal and NOT Baton Rogue. It was pretty incredible. Then, there's the icing on the cake: open bar and complimentary food. Umm...let's just say I didn't drive home...



I can't believe this is the first post about Duke and Cooper! These guys are our two great danes, and we love them! Yes, they keep it extremely challenging to keep a clean house, but they're totally worth it. Duke (blue) is about 2.5 years old and weighs about 140 lbs. Cooper (fawn) is already almost just as big, but the funny thing is that Cooper is only 7 months old! He's going to be HUGE! We're so blessed to still have Cooper. When he was just a few months old, he contracted Parvo, a very deadly disease in puppies, and he nearly died. However, after about a week at the vet's office, Cooper returned as good as new! That's how we got the nickname Re-Cooper (after recuperate).

Like I said earlier, it's stressful to have 220 lbs of dog running around, but we love them very, very much. If it was up to me, I'd have a dane in every color! Unfortunately, Beau (and my wallet) have something to say about that...


Snip Snip

After about three months of looking at our overgrown azaleas and thinking to myself how I really should trim them back, I FINALLY got off my butt and did it. It was getting really bad. Like, random stems were popping up everywhere, and they were even starting to grow together in some places. Right now, they look a little funny (like a little boy's fresh haircut circa Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber) but after about a month they'll be looking really good. For now, we (and our neighbors) will have to endure goofy looking azaleas. Sorry, Y'all!

While I was doing all this, Beau was busting butt in the back yard getting rid of all the weeds including the vines that have started growing up our house. Even more importantly, he pulled up the crab grass (my arch nemesis) that's been growing in-between the patio pavers. We still haven't put the new one in yet, so for now, we at LEAST have to keep it somewhat presentable, right?!


Hangover, Party for two

Last night, Beau and I attended the Avenue Rouge Fashion Show put on by 225 Magazine and InRegister - 2 of the magazines that Beau works for. It was so much fun, and I'm going to dedicate a whole post to it next week. However, let me just say this one thing: OPEN BAR. After enjoying the night with a million a few glasses of wine, Beau and I are completely feeling it this morning. So what the best hangover cure? FOOD!

Not a whole wheat bagel. Not a salad. I need a big, greasy, fattening burger STAT. Since I haven't been to a fast food restaurant in years, I refuse to start now. So what to do...? Fat Cow Burgers in Baton Rouge is a truly amazing (and literally instant) hangover cure, and since they're open at 10:30a.m., I don't have to wait to long in this misery.

Their burger menu is nothing short of marvelous, with options ranging from burgers with foie gras and truffle oil (Hundred Dollar Burger) to a good 'ole Bacon Cheeseburger (shown above). One of my favorite parts of the menu are the duck fat and parmesan fries (above). Do I really need to explain. I strongly suggest you check out the menu, and if you're in the Baton Rouge area, you DEFINITELY need to stop by. It's a really cool, unique eatery, with an open kitchen, swanky interior, and even has the option for patio dining. Note: there's no server - you just order at a counter, so you can be in and out fairly quickly if need be. It's my favorite hangover cure!


DIY - Towel Shelf

Since moving into our house, we've realized that space is a little bit of an issue. Not a big one - for the most part we're alright, but every once in a while, we find ourselves without a place to store something. As you know, we recently bought a set of towels from Pottery Barn, and we don't want to store them under the sinks because we don't want them to end up like our old towels: with that cabinet smell...you know what I mean?

I wish I could take even a little bit of credit for this, but it is all Beau. He came up with the idea of keeping the towels exposed on a DIY shelf where an old towel bar was before. Similar to the theme with the chalkboard we made for our kitchen, he wanted to keep it looking industrial by using steel piping and connectors (vs. using an L bracket or something similar) to hold the shelf up. For the shelf itself, Beau just got someone to cut a piece of wood from Lowe's and then he stained it an ebony color. Finally, he sealed the wood with polyurethane. It looks amazing and I am completely thrilled. One thing I love is that it's located close enough to the shower so that if I forget to grab a towel before I get in the shower, I don't have to walk around cold and wet to get one! Ahh the little things...

I hope you like this idea and try it out yourself! Take a look around at Lowe's or any other hardware store. There are so many interesting little things you can pick up and re-purpose for your home. Email us some pictures at themendednest@gmail.com- we'd love to see what y'all come up with!


Rosemary Chicken Salad

Please be aware that this is my FAVORITE recipe of all time. I could probably eat this every single day of my life and not get bored with it. This is not an exaggeration.

Sorry - I got a little bit crazy for a second there, but seriously this is SO good. Chicken salad is great for so many occasions - anytime finger foods are appropriate, really. Birthday parties, wedding showers, graduation parties, teacher appreciation, holiday parties, etc. Just have pre-made mini sandwiches and you're ready to go! It's an easy recipe that is pretty difficult to mess up. Check this out!

- Rotisserie Chicken (from local supermarket)
- 4 sprigs of Rosemary
- 1/2 a container of crumbled blue cheese
- 1 pack of chopped walnuts or almonds (toasted)
- 1/4 chopped red onion
- Salt and pepper
- Drizzle olive oil - enough to hold ingredients together
- Add a touch of mayo

Part of what gives this recipe such a good taste is the flavor of the rotisserie chicken. They have so much more flavor than some plain chicken that would go into an other chicken salad recipe. Also, it makes it that much easier because there's no actual cooking involved! Just remember to serve on a whole wheat ciabatta bun or multi grain cracker. Oh. My. God. You REALLY have to try this. I've never been more confident that you'll like a dish than this!!


Around-the-House Shower (Elizabeth and Miles)

Beau and I we're invited to help celebrate our friend/old roommate, Elizabeth and her fiancée, Miles' engagement by attending their "around the house" shower this past Saturday. Did that make sense? Either way, we had so much fun! Both Elizabeth and Miles are such wonderful people as well as their family and friends, and we couldn't have felt more at home - if our home was a BEAUTIFUL home on a perfect street in the middle of one of the most desirable parts of Baton Rouge. Seriously - this house was a dream come true for us. Clean, crisp, comfortable, and chic. What more can I say?

The house offered both inside and patio seating, food, and drinks, so we were never more than a few steps away from another glass of wine! With somewhat cooler Louisiana evenings, Beau and I spent the majority of the night outside, engaging in hilarious conversations surrounded by welcoming, friendly company. Elizabeth's family and Beau go way back, so we had a wonderful time catching up with them, sharing old (and hilarious) stories. Especially after that night, we are REALLY looking forward to the wedding!


Black and White

This weekend, we took on a major (and very necessary) house project: pressure washing the entire exterior. In theory, our house was white white with black shutters when we bought it, but in reality, it was more of an off white thanks to years of pollen and dirt build up. I'm exaggerating, but it DID need to be cleaned (or repainted) regardless. Since we don't have the money to throw at some painters (and we certainly weren't going to do it ourselves) we decided that pressure washing was the best temporary solution.

Just like painting the whole interior of a house, I am never pressure washing my house again! It was the biggest pain - partially because we only have ONE hose hookup. My process was as follows: Screw the hose into the sprayer that contained a bleach-based formula to clean the house. Spray the house. Walk back to the faucet and turn the hose off. Walk back to the hose and take that attachment off (and get sprayed in the face with the extra water). Screw the hose into the pressure washer. Walk BACK to the hose to turn it on. Walk back to the pressure washer and clean that ONE part of the house. Then walk back to the hose, turn it off. Walk back to the pressure washer and unscrew the hose (and get sprayed in the face again). Screw the hose back into the bleach mixture and repeat...over and over and over. Special.

I'm glad we did it, though because it looks to much better! It's definitely not as nice as a fresh coat of paint, but Beau and I are satisfied knowing that our house is at LEAST clean. Now we can honestly say "We're on Capital Heights, right past Florence on the right. It's the white house with the black shutters".


Jar it Up

We've always loved the idea of glass front cabinets that expose the contents behind the doors. It gives a fun, industrial, warehouse "district-esque" vibe. Since we're not about to rip off our cabinet doors and replace them with a glass front, I think it's better/smarter to start small and discrete. What Beau and I have done is find glass jars that we use in our bathrooms to hold Q-tips and cotton balls. 

I love, love, love these jars! They remind me of the old Ball jam jars used to use homemade jams during Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can literally find them everywhere. We bought ours from World Market, but you can get everywhere from Walmart to Crate&Barrel

Hope this inspires. Happy Friday, y'all!


Paint Can Present

Since we've been talking about weddings, engagement parties, and showers, I'd like to share another (more unique) gift idea for when you're getting presents for these occasions. Certainly, I cannot take credit for this - I got the idea from my Aunt Jamie, but basically what you do is get a blank paint can and use it rather than a wrapped box for a present. Please don't grab an old, used paint can out of your garage with your old house paint colors. Or if it has rust - no rust, please. Also, I would go as far to say that the paint can is not enough by itself, so wrap a ribbon or raffia around it. Then you're done!

What I loved about the one I received (pictures above) is the tissue paper on the inside. I LOVE that shade of blue - it really complimented the shiny metal paint can. Even the little ceramic birdie salt and pepper shakers seemed to match the whole ensemble. Definitely try this out next time you're giving a present! The one here is just a quart size, and it was perfect - I don't know how a full gallon would look, but check it out and let me know!


Monogram It

As most mothers know, monogramming can be both artistic AND essential. You don't want your kid to bring home the wrong backpack...or shirt...or socks...or bow...I could go on and on (let's be honest - it can get ridiculous!). Okay - being honest, stores like Pottery Barn, Crate&Barrel, and Restoration Hardware have helped make monogramming just as cool and necessary as bedazzled clothing in the early 90's (you know you did it). Only this time, it's chic and mature.

Everything from towels (bath and hand) to bottle openers to serving ware and plates can be monogrammed now a days, but I now have a now monogramming must: barware! The glasses above are Pottery Barn's Classic Barware monogrammed with a "C" for Caragliano. I love these glasses, and I think you would to. Only problem - Beau and I have different last names (Caragliano and Moss). Solution moving forward - "M" for Matthew and Moss?...we'll see about that!


Gift Ideas: Olive Bowls

Sunday afternoon, Beau and I attended a "couples shower" for one of my oldest and closest friends, Amanda and her fiance, Luke. Our families have known each other for years (in fact, her mom taught me in pre-k), and when we all get together we have so much fun! It was held at Pinetta's in Baton Rouge - my FAVORITE Italian/European restaurant in the area - because her aunt, Dianne is the owner. Since it was a serve-yourself kind of party (in terms of food), there wasn't much food that the restaurant normally serves, but it was delicious none-the-less!

However, what I want to focus on for this post is not the food (shocking, I know), but rather gift ideas for the next shower or house warming party you'll be attending. The idea behind this shower was to bring gifts related to making them the perfect hosts, and everyone was supposed to also write down a recipe to go along with the gift. Although my recipe for a Rosemary Chicken Salad doesn't coordinate with ceramic bowls for olives and the pits, I COULDN'T pass them up...for a second time.

A few weeks ago, I was shopping in Pottery Barn for an engagement party gift and I ran across these little ceramic bowls and I fell in love! I think they're so cute and completely my style. So, when I got the invitation for Amanda's party, I rushed out and bought the same exact thing. I'm kind of obsessed, and so mad at myself because I got the last set from the store for Amanda! Online shopping...here I come! They're PERFECT for entertaining - how much better does this look than eating olives out of a jar and having to look at the pits on a plate?! Yuck.


Keep it Out

Another Jeri's Corner post! How exciting, right? Creating a little space in your kitchen for oils, vinegars, salts and peppers, etc. is an easy way to decorate without cluttering up your kitchen with useless crap. I should have prefaced by saying that this may not always work for you, and there are a few conditions, but if your kitchen does meet the requirements, I would definitely give it a try. This picture is from Jeri's house - it's on top of her counter, but off to the side, and not in the way of all the major kitchen traffic. This is important - you don't want to have all this stuff in the middle of where you chop veggies or in the middle of where you prepare meals.

Keep in mind, this wouldn't really work for all kitchens. If you have a super tight galley kitchen, this is not a great idea. We had one before, and EVERYthing that was out on the counters kept it looking cluttered and messy. Also, if you have a modern home with streamline everything where absolutely nothing is on the counters, then keep that trend going and avoid a random grouping of oils, etc. Keep them behind closed cabinets.

Also (and this is KEY), please make sure to put the oils, vinegars, etc. into some kind of a cute container - unless the original bottle isn't tragic. It doesn't quite have the same effect is a bottle of Great Value olive oil is sitting on your counters! Finally, even though it's hard to tell in this picture, group everything together by placing all the little containers on some sort of silver, pewter, etc. tray.


Love White

Chartreuse, brown, tan - we've HAD some towel colors over the years. It's one of those things where at the time (especially in the store) the colors look great, but after a while of use, just looking at the color irks you. Not only that, but Beau and I, in an attempt to be fiscally responsible, would go for a cheaper towel option. The problem is that they would lose their softness after a year worth of washing and drying.

This is why Beau and I decided to purchase a set of the Pottery Barn Classic towels...in stark white of course! The goal is to keep these towels for a while. It's obvious how much of a better quality these are compared to a standard towel from BB&B, so I'm assuming/hoping that they'll last that much longer. We chose the white for two main reasons: 1. We think white look great in a bathroom by keeping things clean, simple, and neat. 2. In two years, we won't be tired of the color we chose...because there's no color.

So far so good. If you're in need of towels, we would totally recommend these. They're a little pricier, but totally worth it! Happy Friday!


Art by Scott Finch

Last night, Beau and I and one of our best friends, Ryan attended an art show in Baton Rouge featuring several local artists including our friend, Scott Finch. Okay, let me see if I can get this...Scott is the husband of my friend/boss/former landlord, Angela Finch. Not only is Scott incredibly talented as an artist, but the both of two of them together are an incredibly sweet, genuine, and fun couple!

This was the first art show/viewing we had been to in Baton Rouge, and we had a great time! We love finding new things to do without having to leave the city or state. It was completely free and had several food and beverage options...could you ask for anything else? It was hosted at the Baton Rouge Art Gallery, and I think I remember someone saying this event goes on once a month - although I believe they artists that are featured vary. Regardless, we had a great time, and I hope you love the pictures we took of his art.

If you have any questions about Scott or his art, please email us at TheMendedNest@gmail.com!


DIY - Bar Stools (Annie Sloan Paint)

This past weekend was one of the best I've had in a while. It was a three day weekend because of Labor Day, so that's already a good start. On top of that, a tropical storm was blowing through Baton Rouge the whole time which meant lots of rain. To me - it meant a weekend completely free and clear of any type of yard work. Darn. So what to do during an extended weekend with absolutely no responsibilities? Relax! Redo furniture! We've had these bar stools for years, and I've never loved them. For a while, they even sat outside because there was no room for them at one of our rental houses. Then, they got moved back inside and were funkier than ever.

I am so, so, so excited because I purchased my first quart of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint along with both the light and dark waxes! The color I chose was Duck Egg Blue, and I am obsessed. It's light and cheery, but not too in-your-face. The process started by applying two coats of the paint to the bar stools. I applied two coats because I didn't care for the color of the original wood. Had it been a dark, pretty wood, I would have applied one coat to allow the original wood to show through. After they were dry, I applied a combination of the clear and dark wax* to create a subtle antiquing affect without altering the original color too much. I applied the wax with sponges instead of brushes to keep it looking more organic, but another option is to apply the waxes with a brush then wipe with a rag.

*The Waxes: There are two waxes you can buy for this paint: clear and dark. They create different affects which you can read about here.

I have to say, I LOVE how the stools came out. Starting now, I am going to start refinishing pieces of furniture I pick up from antique and thrift stores around town, and then sell them. Also, if you have a piece that you'd like for me to refinish, please contact me at themendednest@gmail.com, and I'll be happy to give you a quote.

Keep in mind that you can only purchase Annie Sloan paint from an Annie Sloan "Stockist". Stockists are few and far between, but I've found the one in Baton Rouge! Her name is Cyndee Layman of Layman Smith Interiors, and she is sweet as can be. We love her! To contact: 225-936-3411 or laymansmithinteriors@gmail.com. Don't forget to mention The Mended Nest!


Cilantro Hummus

With my food processor, I've made about a million variations of one of my favorite foods: hummus. This time, I tried to make a super light hummus using refreshing ingredients and serve chilled. I started my throwing the typical hummus ingredients in: chick peas, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt/pepper, lemon juice (extra in this case) - then I added a squeeze of lime juice, and lots and lots of cilantro. It is SO GOOD and is a perfect appetizer because no one gets too full.

Note - to keep this dish even lighter and healthier, serve with fresh chilled cucumber, and you're good to go...just remember to invite me over!


Cali Trip - Antiquing

LA is great for many things, but one of my favorite parts of the city is the plethora of vintage clothing and furniture. Our friend, Trent (the guy with whom we stayed) is a buyer for an antique store called Vintage Tini, and that happened to be our first stop upon arrival (pics above). This was more of an upscale antique store where many of the pieces carried a hefty price tag. However, the store had some interesting and fresh pieces. Honestly, it's probably best this store is thousands of miles away from me...and my wallet.

The very last day of our trip, before we headed to the airport to catch our 6p.m. flight, Trent took us to an outdoor flea market - one of the places he utilizes to find furniture and other miscellaneous items for Vintage Tini. This was right up our alley because not only did we get to enjoy the magnificent California weather, but the market was filled with funky, vintage, one-of-a-kind things. Even better - there was a little outdoor food stations including a burrito stand and crepe stand.


All I can say is that next time, I'm going back with an extra suitcase. I had to pass up WAY to many amazing deals. Ugh!


Fashion: Everything Jean

Jean on jean. Chambray on jean. Obsession. Obsession. After spending time in LA, I feel more inspired in terms of clothing. It was nice to go somewhere where girls wear more than Nike shorts paired with an over sized tee and guys steer clear of everything Levi's and Polo. One of my favorite looks I saw over and over was a lighter chambray shirt paired with a darker pair on jeans. What I love about this look it that it's completely unisex, and can be pulled together in so many looks. For example...

- Fitted Chambray military inspired shirt (3/4 sleeves), NO BELT, tucked in, dark skinny jeans (cuffed or not) with a simple camel or black heel (leopard for more fun)
- Boyfriend Chambray shirt loosely cuffed at forearm, tucked into slightly darker casual jean shorts, skinny braided belt, brown gladiator sandals.

- Similar to women's style one: slightly fitted Chambray shirt, darker jeans, NO BELT, and a military or chukka boot
- Chambray shirt unbuttoned over a white v-neck shirt, dark skinny jeans (cuffed) with burlap toms or military inspired boots


Simple Things

As I'm running around the Capital Heights neighborhood this morning in preparation for the half marathon that Beau and I are training for, I noticed the beautiful scenery all around me. A few days ago, I finally bit the bullet and ordered a years worth of contacts after being without them for several months. I do have a pair of glasses, but I can't use them while I run, so now that I can actually see, it's like I'm running on a whole new route (i haven't had contacts since I've been running in Capital Heights). The point is, I could actually enjoy my neighborhood during my morning run instead of seeing a bunch of blur. Oh the simple things...