Happy last Friday of May folks!

What a whirlwind month it's been and now it's already time for Best Of The Nest!

Did you get any great projects accomplished?  
If so Kris, Jennifer, Pam and I want to hear about them!

My own favorite project from the month of May was the refreshing of a client living room that incorporated the existing wall color, rug and several pieces of furniture.  It feels like a completely different space with just a few key updates and best of all, my clients love it.
You can find me here…...

Kris shared some pretty and creative solutions for tricky windows from her parents' beautiful home - this box pleat one is my favorite and I'm already planning to use it for a client space!
Kris @ Driven by Décor 

Jennifer signed up for the One Room Challenge craziness too and gave her master bedroom a colorful makeover, complete with a new fireplace, custom drapes, new headboard, and so many other details!
Jennifer @ Dimples & Tangles

Pam refreshed a bedroom for a client for the One Room Challenge with lots of Craigslist scores and gorgeous details like this amazing ceiling!  What a transformation from the before!
Pam @ Simple Details 

Tag - you're it!  Share and inspire with your ONE BEST 
art/craft project, tablescape, room design, home improvement or recipe from April by linking up below.

Not a blogger? Join us on Instagram by using the hashtag #bestofthenestparty 
and tagging at least one of the link party hosts:
Lisa (@lisashineyourlight)  -  Kris (@drivenbydecor)
Pam (@pamsimpledetails)  -  Jennifer (@jenniferdimplesandtangles)

LINK TO YOUR POST URL, not your blog home page.

We're taking the summer off from Best Of The Nest (June - July - August) so we'll have summer show and tell come September!  Enjoy the weekend friends.  XO LS


Easy Peasy Spinach Pesto

I'm strong to the finish, 'cause I eats me my spinach. 
(a gold star for the right guess!)

Spinach pesto, have you ever made it?
It's so good!

This is a great recipe to have on hand for summer barbecues, 
or to use up that bag of spinach in your fridge.
Like basil pesto that I'll start making when my deck planting takes off, spinach pesto is great as a dressing for pasta salad, a topping for grilled chicken, a drizzle on sliced tomatoes and mozzarella, and tons of other recipes you can add it to.  

Super easy to make, so flavorful, 
and a bit healthier than creamy pasta salad dressings!

5 oz. pkg. baby spinach
juice from 1/2 of a lemon
1 clove garlic
1/4 freshly shredded parmesan
pinch of kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Throw spinach into a blender or Cuisinart and blend until finely chopped. 
Use a rubber spatula to push spinach down.
Add lemon juice, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper; blend.
With blender or Cuisinart running, slowly add olive oil.
 Over the years we've modified this recipe to use only one glove of garlic so we don't taste it for the next 24 hours or assault anyone with our breath!  

 I love how bright green this pesto is!

I like to toss the pesto with freshly drained pasta while it's still hot, then refrigerate.  
To this tortellini salad I added roasted asparagus and broccoli, but you can add just about any veggies depending on what you have in the fridge!

Pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays and then added to sauces, soups, and pasta dishes for a punch of flavor.

If you grow a great batch of fresh basil this summer, check out this recipe!


Thoughts On Entertaining When Your House Is Less Than Perfect

Hi friends!!  Did you have a great weekend??

I was thinking about those of you who along with me really love tinkering around your house and making things pretty.  For many of us our homes are our canvas and we have millions of ideas of things we'd like to do to tweak it.

This weekend we had a houseful of family and it was tons of fun!  Even though our house was far from picture perfect.....

......there is still a mountain of mulch on our driveway (along with the wheel barrel)....

......some of the annuals I picked up didn't get quite get planted (they're just thrown in the pot for now).....

.......and our overnight guests had a mirror-less bathroom to use since this baby sat in the hallway all weekend.  (yep that's the mirror I bought for our living room, change of plans, now it's going in the kids' bathroom.  We fly by the seat of our pants around here.)

10 or even 5 years ago, I would made myself crazy getting every single thing on my to-do list done before we hosted something at our house.  Because I'm a nester and I love the little details.
But sometimes my urge to make everything pretty and fix up our house and make it all look the way I want it used to make me feel like I wasn't ready to host.  EVER.  Because there were still 50 million things I had to do.  

Do you put a lot of pressure like that on yourself too?

But here's the funny thing - 
NO ONE CARES about all those little things (or even the big things) not getting done BUT ME - 
so why should I stress out about them?

YES if my house looks amazing everyone will ooooh and ahhhh.
But does it make the time we are having more fun?  NO.

YES it would be ideal to have all the finishing touches done before everyone walks through the door.
But if I don't have lanterns hanging on hooks on my deck and urns spilling over with gorgeous flowers and Trader Joe's flowers grouped en masse in vases and all the candles lit and a cute striped runner on the table and karate chopped 22" down filled pillows on the couches, will that ruin the evening? 

 Not so much.

Here's what DOES matter when you entertain:::::

Not being a stressed out host that apologizes to everyone for the house not looking perfect.

Giving yourself a little time to get ready and feel good about your appearance.

Having the bathroom spotlessly clean (the only part of your house that must be really clean, because otherwise - gross.  Agreed?)

Having your public areas of your house generally picked up (for me this means taking a laundry basket and chucking random things in it an hour before guests arrive, and then stashing it on top of the washing machine - anyone else?? :) )

Taking a deep breath when the doorbell rings and letting go of any cute little ideas you had that you just ran out of time for.  It's okay.  You can do it next time.  

Having something for guests to nibble on when they walk in the door (nuts, veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, etc.)

Offering your guests a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) within moments of their arrival.  

Putting a smile on your face, making your guests feel welcome and at ease, 
and having fun at your own party!!!!

(Do you have any to add?)

The older I get, the more I realize hosting isn't about having our home look pulled together all the time (although come on - that would be wonderful!!) - it's about giving our guests an enjoyable experience.  And sometimes that means getting done what you can, and then letting go of the things you didn't and being a warm and gracious host.

Good food, yummy drinks and lots of supermarket flowers can make up for many a house imperfection!!!!
Cute palm pillow above is part of the deck spruce up that didn't happen quite yet.

Thankfully not getting every single thing crossed off the to-do list does not hinder

hula hoop races....

headstand competitions.....

sign making....

 .....jumping, flipping and laughing.....

and joyful memory making!

To those of you who put a lot of pressure on yourself to make your home just so, 

don't let your half done projects prohibit you from enjoying your home!!!!!

Don't let all the images you see of beautiful and perfect homes on blogs and Pinterest keep you from feeling that your home is worthy of entertaining!!!!!

Because it is!!!!  

Let go of perfect because the projects will get done eventually -
your guests won't care -
you have good times and happy memories to make!



Working Around "Almond" Bathroom Fixtures & Other Hideousness

Hi friends!!  

This week I'm tackling a long-neglected space -
our hallway bathroom that the kids share and overnight guests use.  

 Eventually we'd like to remodel it altogether, but it's waaaaaay down on the home improvement list.  

Our house was built in the 80s and it looks like this bathroom has already been remodeled once so it's  in pretty good shape - but it has one element that I know many of you face as well.....
dated almond fixtures.

Oh it's soooooo hard to be me with my endless supply of clean running water and my almond bathroom fixtures.  Woe is me.  

I actually feel pretty darn lucky that the bathrooms in this house are not more outdated but there's no reason they can't be made more aesthetically pleasing.

Here is the kids' bathroom at our inspection.  
In addition to all that cabinetry, there is also a huge closet behind the door.  Tons of storage space.
When we moved in I painted the peach walls white, and replaced the knobs and accessories with brushed nickel - those changes alone brightened up the space so much!

Side note: did anyone else out there think that if they installed one of these open toilet paper holders, their kids might actually replace the roll? Only to discover that not only do the sweet little munchkins NOT replace the roll, the roll frequently falls off the handle and rolls across the bathroom floor, essentially TPing your bathroom????  HA.

I spray painted the light fixture and changed out the glass shades, 
but honestly I've never been sure which version is more repulsive - what's your vote??
I know - I'm sorry to assault your eyes!!  I should have warned you!!!!

AND I spray painted the faucet.  It has looked *okay* for the past 5 years but after daily use by 3 kids and a whole lot of scrubbing over the years, this is happening - 

The biggest designer's challenge 
is that the vanity and cabinets are off white and the shower......
 *cue the Alfred Hitchcock Psycho music while I pull back the shower curtain*

is "almond".  

The original toilet was almond too, but when we replaced it I bought a white one that will work with a future non-almond bathroom.  

Because white.  
It's the only color bathroom fixtures should be.  
Not almond. Not avocado green. Not black. Not pink. Not navy blue.
Just clean, classic, timeless white.
Would you agree?

Now we have a vanilla creamsicle yawnfest - the almond shower, creamy vanity and counter, tile floor that leans towards peach, and a white toilet.

The big expensive part of this project (to the tune of $900) is going towards fans for both this bathroom and our master bath.  You know what happens in a bathroom without a fan.....

Mildew.  I know - it's really gross!!!  And unhealthy.  YUCK.

I spent three hours bleaching the heck out of every bit of the walls, ceiling, doors, trim, cabinetry, and shower yesterday (for about the millionth time since we moved here!) and it's sparkling and clean today.  New fans that will exhaust through the attic to the outside get installed on Friday - not all that exciting to the look of the bathroom, but a huge improvement to the functionality!!!!!

This week I am tackling
 how to make the almond tub surround, the off-white cabinetry and the white toilet 
live in perfect harmony.

We've been really happy with our master bath that faces the same issues (almond/off-white/white hodgepodge of fixtures and flooring).  Knowing that we will eventually gut and remodel this space entirely also, I didn't want to put a lot of money into it, but a few tweaks made it feel a lot less dated until the bathroom remodels happen someday.

Our tiny master bath started like this:
 and now looks something like this (photos taken a couple years ago)....


long story short, I am going to be the most boring person on earth and do what works!

Use the almond as part of the color scheme, but lighten it up with a lot of white.  

Maybe just maybe replace that no-way-around-it-hideous light fixture.

Upgrade this shower curtain and rod situation. 
 (Please note the sparkling clean walls and ceiling!!  Thank you.)

And all by the time our very welcomed company arrives Saturday morning!!!!!!

Stay tuned for part two of working around almond bathroom fixtures (and other hideousness)!

Have a great day lovelies!


A Cape Cod Shop & Rustic Wood Love

Last weekend when Mark and I snuck away to the Cape
we made an impromptu stop at this shop in Chatham.  

OH MY GOSH!!!!  We were both dying the second we walked in the door.  

GORGEOUS reclaimed wood tables.  The wood for all the tabletops, at least a hundred years old.
 All the finished table tops are loose from the bases they are on 
so you can pick and choose the top and base you like best.  

How gorgeous is this table top with all of that patina?  
It was already sold and heading to a Cape Cod home.

All the products from the this wood shop are made from authentic reclaimed wood from barns and structures throughout New England.  They use various species of wood that start out like this block below - notice the Roman numeral markings on the top that indicated this piece's placement in a structure long ago.

I love pieces that have the original markings preserved.  How cool is that!

The shop takes all kinds of custom orders, from tables to benches, consoles, and coffee tables.

We chatted with the shop owner about having a barn wood countertop made for the beverage center we are planning as part of our kitchen renovation.  He showed us some pictures of countertops they have made and installed in some really gorgeous homes on the Cape.

I love the character a bit of rustic wood brings to a new kitchen!

We'll see if we still have money in the budget to add a bit of reclaimed wood in the form of a counter or ceiling beams after knocking down walls, rerouting plumbing and electricity, installing hardwood flooring, and buying all new appliances and cabinetry!  
HA HA HA HA  I think we both know how that's going to go!

If you're in the Chatham area and have a thing for the smell of freshly sawed wood 
and the touch of varnished wood that is smooth as butter, 
then I highly recommend you make a stop here!

1731 Main Street, Chatham, Massachusetts