Custom Invite - Happy Hour!

This is a one-of-a-kind invitation Mended Nest invitation created by Beau. The request was for a fun and funky, Louisiana style invite for a Happy Hour/get-together before weekend festivities for a couple's wedding. Created from scratch, I think that Beau did an amazing job, but more importantly so did the client!

The Mended Nest creates custom stationary, announcements or invitations for parties, births, weddings, save the dates, and almost everything in between. All invites/announcements are completely custom...and surprisingly cost efficient.

If you have questions about having The Mended Nest create YOUR next invite/announcement, please email us at TheMendedNest@gmail.com


Power Breakfast

Eggs and bacon, chicken and waffles, donuts, sausage casserole. There are endless possibilities when it comes to things I'd rather eat than peanut butter, honey, and toast... but I try to keep my breakfasts under 3000 calories.

I'm not saying it's not delicious, but let's be honest...donuts are WAY better. What's especially good about a breakfast like this is that it keeps you full. The biggest no-no in dieting is skipping meals. Not only does it mess with your metabolism, but it makes you so hungry that you end up binge eating anyway. Not cute.

With a breakfast like this (paired with coffee and orange/grapefruit/papaya juice) will keep you full and content until lunch. There are a few key things, though.

1. Whole wheat toast. NO WHITE (make sure to check the sugar level, too. Shouldn't have more than 3 grams)
2. NATURAL peanut butter. If you can't pronounce an ingredient on the back label, you shouldn't be eating it.
3. Honey. Obviously, this is optional, but it's SO good! Try to find local honey from farmer's markets, produce stands, etc. It tastes so much better, you're supporting your local community, and you know it hasn't been sitting on a shelf for three years weeks at a big box store.


Friday Finds - Wesley Bonner Photography

Happy Friday! Are you looking forward to the weekend as much as I am? Good Lord, I'm exhausted. The only thing that's keeping me going is knowing that I'll have 3...or 5 lbs. of crawfish with my name on them tonight! (btw - the spell checker wanted to change "crawfish" to crayfish". Where is this thing FROM?)

On to the find...
I met Wesley (above picture) via Facebook a while ago, and after chatting we discovered that we had a lot of similar interests. He's 25 years old (like me) and finishing up his last year in grad school (mmm...not like me). One passion that we both share, and the topic of this post, is photography - although we explore it through different avenues. I take pictures of mostly stationary objects. It's super hard for me to capture something in the moment without having the whole image come out cheesy or one big blurry mess. Wesley, on the other hand, has been doing freelance photography for over two years, and takes on much more ambitious projects: weddings, engagements pictures, family portraits, head shots, corporate/business images, etc.

Per my request, Wesley sent over a few images that I could use to sample of his work for my Friday Find. Photography is so important - especially for a wedding. Capturing moments from the most significant day(s) of peoples' lives is something I could NEVER take on. In fact, I've been asked before about my interest in wedding photography, and my answer is always the same: I love you, I'm flattered, but I don't think my blood pressure can handle it. Wesley seems to have no problems though. BTW - top right picture...is that not the best picture EVER?

Obviously, I recommend his services (otherwise he wouldn't be my Friday Find)! If you're interested in quotes or have questions about his services, please don't hesitate to contact him! 



This is going to burn a little...

Yesterday afternoon, I got my first chemical peel! Recently, I've been having a lot of problems with my skin (#adultacne?areyoukiddingme?!) so after trying several (unsuccessful) treatments, my dermatologist recommended a chemical peel to kickstart the clearing process. I thought to myself, "EEK! A chemical peel covered under insurance? Someone pinch me because I think I'm dreaming!"

It really wasn't too bad. First, you wash your face. Then they apply (what felt like) a heavy duty astringent to clear your entire face from oils. Then, with something similar to a Q-tip, the doctor applies the peel itself. I have no idea what it looked like, but it felt like an astringent in texture. In the interest of full disclosure, there were times when it burned pretty bad (especially on my forehead) and I just had to keep telling myself it was all worth it lol! How embarrassing for me considering thousands of people get these everyday.

While it looks like I've been in the tanning bed for 2 days in a 10 minute (if you've ever been tanning you know exactly what I'm talking about), I can already start to feel improvement. Now I'm just waiting for the fun part - when my entire face peels. Oh - and did I mention that I have friends coming in from Austin starting TONIGHT and staying through the weekend? I'm going to look 6 different kinds of gross while they're here...

PS: how much to you want to close that cabinet in the background?


DIY - Old Lamp; New Life

I've always disliked this lamp as it's shown in the before (second) picture. Really, there was nothing wrong with it - I just didn't care for the colors. The shape, on the other hand, I thought was pretty interesting. We have it next to our bed and sitting on a simple wooded bed side table that's finished with a super dark stain. With the lamp in it's original color, I thought it was too dark for the table, and too much of a contrast to our all white bedding. Soo...

Annie Sloan paint saves the day again! I'm telling you, this stuff is awesome. You can see how shiny and glossy the lamp was before - there's no way a regular paint would stick to that. However, I only had to use ONE coat of Annie Sloan's Versailles to cover the entire thing. (I chose this color because it's the closest thing to chartreuse...Beau's favorite color. plus, I knew it would help lighten up the table - especially with a silver clock and white picture frame) Once dry, I went over the lamp with clear wax first then added a touch of the dark (wiping off the excess) just to add a little bit of that antiqued look.

Total work tine: 10 minutes (plus one day for the paint to dry) What do you think? Pretty, right?


Pizza AGAIN?

Like you would complain! For no special occasion whatsoever, Beau and I (along with amigo, Ryan) cooked up some yummy pizzas last week. It's just so easy...and it helps that pizza is all three of our's favorite food. I'm telling you - this is the BEST thing to make when you're having company over. Sip on wine. Make a pizza. Sip on wine. Throw pizza in oven. Sip on wine. Make another pizza...so on and so forth. What was the best part?...cold pizza for breakfast!

Pizza ONE
Boboli crust
Base: olive oil, fresh pressed garlic, goat cheese
Cheese: smoked Gouda, extra shard cheddar, mozzarella, feta
Fresh Roma tomatoes
 - Bake for ~20 minutes @375/400 (depending on our oven)

Pizza TWO
Boboli crust
Base: olive oil, fresh pressed garlic, goat cheese
Sauteed Italian sausage
Cheese: mozzarella
Kalamata olives
Whole avocado (sliced)...my favorite part
4 sprigs of Rosemary
 - Bake for ~20 minutes @375/400 (depending on our oven)


Mended Furniture - Jeri's Dresser

I love these before and after photos - there's such a huge difference between the two! This is actually one of Jeri's pieces that was sitting in the TV room at my parents house. The dresser was pretty before, she wanted to kick some new life into it and move it to the living room.

Since she already has a lot of whites and other light colors in that room, I wanted to keep this piece consistent and not do something too over the top that would draw too much attention to it. As usual, I wanted it to be subtle yet special.

For the body of the dresser (except for the side panels) I went with one of my favorite colors: Annie Sloan's Country Grey. It's so soft and elegant and responds SO WELL to the waxes. For the side panels and the drawers, I used a color that I've never used before (and happens to be my favorite from the Annie Sloan collection IF I had to choose)...Versailles (ver - sigh)! It's a beautiful green that responds especially well to the Country Grey. They're similar, but offer just enough contrast to where it's not too obviou

Remember, if you have a piece of furniture that you'd like to get a quote on for us to refinish, send us an email! TheMendedNest@gmail.com.


Valentine's Day Dinner

OMG. I'm still SO FULL from last night. Beau and I had such a nice and relaxing evening - after running a few miles (to compensate for what was to come), we rode over to Whole Foods to pick out our Valentine's dinner. After perusing the store for a few minutes, we decided on a game plan and got to work grabbing all the ingredients. On the menu: 1 lb boneless ribeye steaks (each) topped with a blue cheese sauce, grilled portobello mushrooms, and rosemary/garlic whipped potatoes (instant - no one's perfect).

Rubbed with olive oil, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, and oregano...the grilled to perfection

Melted 2 Tbs of butter, added flour to thicken (didn't measure as usual), then mixed in 1/2 cup of blue cheese. Keep heat on low and let the cheese melt slowly

Rubbed both sides of mushrooms with olive oil, ans balsamic vinegar. Seasoned with Tony's, garlic powder, and oregano. Grilled until soft. Then sliced and served on the side

Whipped Potatoes:
Chopped fresh rosemary (4 sprigs) and 3 cloves of garlic. Added to instant mashed potatoes

*Served with 1 bottle of Malbec and one Cab. Obvi.


I Love You

Happy Valentine's Day! Beau and I tend to get bogged down with life's routine. I've written about this before, but the more successful The Mended Nest becomes (for which I am so thankful) and the the busier we get (socially speaking), Beau and I have less and less time to just enjoy our evenings by ourselves with absolutely no work. That's why tonight, we're staying in, not working on any projects, and none of our friends are allowed over (cue Ryan's eye roll). I would say we're even going to skip working out...but let's not get crazy.

After running, I'm going to stop by Whole Foods to grab something delicious (and still undecided) for dinner and a couple of bottles of wine to pair with it. I love holidays...even if Hallmark DID make them up.


Duke - NO COUCH!

Duke - NO COUCH! This is what we've been having to say for the last new weeks. In our old houses, Duke was able to get on the sofas and lay wherever he wanted. Then all at one time, we got Cooper, moved into a new house, and purchased a new sofa. Now with two great danes, Beau and I thought it would be best to not let the dogs on furniture in the new house (to help keep it from smelling like a barn) Surprisingly, there was no trouble whatsoever. Duke seemed to have no problem. Even at night when we were sleeping, he would stay off the new couch. Cooper was no problem because he was never allowed on the couch.

Well recently, Mr. Bob, Beau's stepdad, has been staying at our house a few nights a week while he works on a development project outside of Baton Rouge. Mr. Bob LOVES the danes, and spoils them too much (out of love, of course)! We would get home and find him and Duke sitting on the couch watching TV as if it was totally normal. Then we found that Duke would sneak up there and sleep on the sofa at night. So what's our solution? Throw a bunch or crap on it EVERY night to keep him off. I find that stools work best. Like...are we insane or what? But hey - it works!


Rosemary Red Potatoes

Easy? Check. Delicious? Check. Healthy?...undetermined.

This has to be one of the easiest recipes ever with barely no prep time and low maintenance cooking. Start by cutting baby new potatoes into quarters then toss in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil until potatoes are covers (no drenched). Add Tony's seasoning and a generous amount of rosemary - I generally add at least 3 sprigs (depending on the amount of potatoes) but I LOVE rosemary.

Then, there are 2 ways to cook:

1) A little bit more of a steaming method where the potatoes come out soft and more crumbly. Place in pot and cook on medium with the cover on the top of the pot. Cook until soft.

2) To get more of a fried consistency, place potatoes in a wide/shallow pot and cook on a higher temperature. Do not cover. Note: you may want to add a little more olive oil.


DIY - Annie Sloan (Mixing and Distressing)

Alrighty. These pictures were taken of a vanity I finished for a super sweet girl from Mandeville, LA. When it came to me, it was solid brown, and while still beautiful, it was just a little sad. We discussed different options for finishing techniques and this is what we came up with:

She knew she wanted something in the yellow family, so we mainly looked at Arles and Cream. She decided she wanted something more on the Cream side, but was interested in something a little more buttery in color. By adding 2 parts cream to one part Arles, I created this custom color (above) which was exactly what she was looking for. The paint was SO EASY to mix. I thought I was going to have to bring it to a hardware store to have them mix it up, but it was much simpler than that. I just poured the paints in one container and used the top of a brush to mix them together. It only took about one minute to get it perfect.

This part is totally optional, and in fact I've done many pieces where no distressing was involved at all. It just depends on the look you're going for. However, for this piece we decided on a more antiqued finish. After the paint was dry (but BEFORE applying the waxes) I lightly went over some of the edges and corners with a spongy sandpaper block. Try not to go crazy. Often times, less is more when it comes to distressing.

There are a million and one ways to apply wax, so I'm just going to stick to what I did for this particular piece. As I often do, I started by applying a thin coat of the clear way with an old T-shirt. Then, using a brush I applied the dark wax fairly heavily making sure that the bristles get into the nooks and crannies. Lastly, I used the same T-Shirt, scooped a little of the clear wax, and wiped off a generous amount of the dark wax that I applied. The allows the original color to come through while still leaving the dark wax in some areas - especially in the nooks and crannies. Note: Do this process area by area. Don't try to do the steps to the whole piece of furniture at once!


Toilet Talk

We've all been there, and I'm literally not sure if there is a worse situation. You're somewhere other than your own house and "the feeling" comes over you and you have no choice but to use the restroom. Not #1 (do you know what I'm saying?). After it's too late, you realize there's no toilet paper. THE WORST. Que panic, sweating, and all kinds of...creative solutions.

Please don't let this happen to your guests! Here's what I recommend: find a cute container and leave a few rolls out (in plain view). I'm not talking about throwing one or two on the back of the toilet. There are easy ways to make it look a little nicer than that! This is what we do (above). That way - if they're in that "situation" they'll be good to go!


Friday Finds - Capri Blue Candles

Is there an Anthropologie near you? There should be. Why? Because you NEED this candle. The brand is Capri Blue and the scent in Volcano (one of my favorites). Usually, the candle comes in a blue container, but Beau found the scent in in Mercury glass jar at Anthropologie In Perkins Rowe. I love it. The best part is that the candle actually serves it's purpose. There's nothing more annoying than buying a candle with a great scent that does absolutely nothing when lit. This candle's scent will fill up your entire house...if it's 1200 sq.ft. like mine.

Happy Friday!


Low-cal Rosemary/Bean Soup

Well. We've been running and working out and we're FINALLY starting to see some progress. There's no secret to losing weight. Diet and exercise. The trick is that you have to actually diet and you actually exercise. Exercise doesn't mean going on a one mile walk twice a week. Sweat a little! Dieting is actually the easy part. Just don't starve yourself. It's the worth thing you could possibly do because all that's going to happen is you're going to binge at the end of the day. There's nothing wrong with staying full and content...as long as it's the right foods.

Here's an excellent example of a super healthy dinner that's low-cal but still tastes great and (best of all) it will fill you up!

1. Baked chicken: Throw some seasoning on there! Who wants bland, boring chicken?

2. Salad: Go nuts. Eat as much as you want BUT watch your dressing. Look at the back of bottles and be smart. A creamy dressing PROBABLY isn't too great for you. What I recommend: 1 part olive oil to 2 parts balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper

3. Soup: Read below for this great recipe I made up. Notice this isn't a cream based soup!

- one can Great Northern Beans
- ~3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- one can diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- dash of Tony's seasoning
- dash of cumin
- dash of red curry powder
- 2 pressed garlic cloves

Cook on stove (medium heat) for about 20 minutes


Mended Furniture - Provence!

How much do you love this color?? I've worked with it before, but because it's so bright, I usually dull it down a little by going over it with a mixture of gray or white and water. It's called Provence and is from the Annie Sloan Collection. Since this is a smaller piece, I decided to go all out with Provence and apply no paints over it. I really didn't even use too much dark wax. I applied the clear all over then went in the corners and applied a LITTLE dark over it. (the true color is most like the second picture)

I love the finished product. I think it's really funky and fun - it completely turns the piece (that was originally very traditional) into something that would fit right in to a more modern home - something with a lot of white (rug, bedspread, walls, etc) and lots of mirrored surfaces with clean, cool lines.

Note: this item is FOR SALE (and even at a discounted price!) The back of the table has a small piece of the back broken off. It's not obvious at all and is very easily disguised. If you're interested, please email us at TheMendedNest@gmail.com!