Hi! Are you still there?? I just wanted to pop in to let you know that I'm still here. I'm everywhere except in front of my computer putting blog posts together. This week is a busy month at work, so after work I've only had the energy to relax, dig into this new book, and work my way through those September issues you see there. Those issues are making me even more excited about fall! On the weekends I've been devoting more time my friends and crawling out of my introvert shell to try new things. I tried this AMAZING cardio class on Saturday and I absolutely loved it. I pretty much couldn't move yesterday, but it was a good kind of sore ya know? I'll definitely be going back!

Anyway, hang in there with me for the next few weeks if you can. There may or may not be random posting here or there when time permits! Otherwise you can find me on Facebook (I post lots of updates there!), Instagram and on Pinterest.  Thank you for following along!


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Tessa Neustadt Photography
Remember me talking about my master bedroom makeover- the one that's almost finished that I need to show you?? Well my real holdup is my photography experience or lack thereof... I really want to take photos of the space myself instead of hiring someone, but it's been quite a challenge. Taking photographs of interiors is a lot harder for me than taking photos of food, so I've been practicing with the camera and finding tips and inspiration online. One photographer I'm incredibly inspired by is Tessa Neustadt. Photographing interiors (I think) is all about making sure you have the right lighting, the right equipment (a wide-angle lens and sometimes a tri-pod are key I think), and the right composition. Styling is a big factor, too... I think Tessa has all of that down! Here are a few examples for you to feast your eyes on...

Tessa Neustadt Photography
Tessa Neustadt Photography
Tessa Neustadt Photography
Tessa Neustadt Photography

All images by Tessa Neustadt
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How To Make An All-Natural Homemade Air Freshener | Savor Home
So I had company over last week and the first thing they said when they entered my house was, "I wish my house smelled like yours!" The truth was that it can. And the other truth was that just hours before my company arrived, my house had the lingering smell of the dinner I made the night before. Don't you hate when the smell of what you cook just hangs out in your house?? Plug-ins and some candles give me a headache, so I don't like to use them. So what I like to do is raid my fridge and pantry to see what I fragrance I can "cook up" to freshen the air in the house. My favorite little potion is this simple mix of oranges, lemons, and cinnamon. It creates a really fresh, clean scent with a hint of warmth from the cinnamon. The smell stays in the house for a few days (assuming you don't replace it with another smell). It smells so good! Sometimes I use apples, strawberries or blueberries that are about to go bad, star anise, nutmeg, vanilla, rosemary - just any fruit, spice, or herb that gives off a beautiful smell when it's heated up. The technique (see below) is super simple and works on a variety of different fruits and spices, so feel free to experiment with whatever you have on hand! 

How To Make An All-Natural Homemade Air Freshener | Savor Home
How To Make An All-Natural Homemade Air Freshener | Savor Home

How To Make An All-Natural Homemade Air Freshener | Savor Home

Here is what you need to do (see ingredients in the photo above):

Squeeze the juice of the lemons and the oranges into a pot. Add the squeezed oranges and lemons to the pot as well. Add the cinnamon sticks. Sometimes I break them in half so they release their fragrance a bit faster. Cover the mixture with water. Bring the mixture up to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Simmer it on low for about an hour. Your home should smell lovely! The liquid reduces as it simmers, so keep an eye out for it!

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Hi there! Hope you had a great week! This week flew by fast for me, which means I was quite busy. And that means I'm thrilled, as always, for the weekend. I've got nothing but a workout, a dinner, and some major relaxation (i.e. catching up on some of these) on the agenda. I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy the links!

Good Finds
Adorable flats for fall...
And a good end-of-summer sale... 
How I will probably feel on Monday morning... 
The most helpful & accurate GPS app I've found... 

Good Spaces
Traditional design at its finest...
Another one of their beautiful remodels...
This is both crazy and fascinating all in one...

Good Reads
Six places you should clean every day...
13 things you might not know about Costco...
What electronics are really doing to your skin...

Good Food
I'm still thinking about how good this was...
Press play for a perfect end-of summer dressing... 
I made these for my lunch this week. So good and easy to make!

Image via No Glitter No Glory

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So I am so happy to say that I have read more books this year than I have in the past few years combined! I'm quite excited about that accomplishment! That has all been in part to actually having more time to reading and making more time to read. My Kindle lives in my purse now instead of on my nightstand. So instead of tinkering with my phone, I read during lunch, when I'm waiting for an appointment, and at night before bed. If I'm too tired to read (because there is such a thing), I've resorted to something entertaining and sometimes educational on Netflix - because prime time TV in the summer can be horrific. Here are a few of my favorites as of late...

1. Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey: Design Chic just happens to be one of my favorite design blogs and the blogger behind that blog is now one of my favorite authors. The most enjoyable books (and TV shows for that matter) for me are those that involve relationship and family issues - and the ultimate resolution of the issues. It's a treat if the resolution proves a good moral. This book has all of that. The simple moral of this story is that things happen when and how they are supposed to happen - and they happen all in God's perfect timing. Khaki, an interior designer and mother of one is dying to have another baby, but her endometriosis is making it difficult. Jodi, Khaki's husband's cousin, is a recovering alcoholic who ends up pregnant, alone, and broke. Jodi's new baby girl ultimately brings these two mothers together in such an emotional and beautiful way. Once the baby is born, they both take on new lives that neither one of them ever imagined that they would have. It's just a beautifully written piece of Southern fiction that has easily become one of my favorite books...

2. The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner: The cool thing about owning a Kindle and being an Amazon Prime member is that you get to download one free book a month. And the choices they give you are always interesting! This book was my free download for August and it's gonna be a good one! In this psychological thriller, Sarah moves to a beautiful town in Washington state and settles in comfortably with her new husband. Tragedy strikes soon after the move and she begins to question everything - her marriage, her friends, and her neighbors. Apparently it begs the question, "Just who can you trust?"

3. Lawyer for the Dog by Lee Robinson: I found this book via Bookbub (a site that I LOVE). Sally is one of Charleston S.C.'s most esteemed attorneys who seems to have her life sort of figured out. Then her ex-husband, a judge, appoints her to be the attorney for Sherman, a miniature schnauzer involved in one of his divorce cases. She deals with the dog, her mother who has Alzheimers, her crazy ex-husband, and her new attraction to the dog's vet, all at once- which begins to make her question everything she ever thought about marriage and love - and pets. If you are a pet-lover like me, then this might be a good one...

4. Dessert for Two by Christina Lane: You know I had to throw a cookbook in here! Sometimes after lunch or dinner on the weekends, I just want a little something sweet. But I don't quite have the knowledge of how to correctly break down a recipe so that it makes enough for just me or me and one other person. Ya know? This cookbook does just that. Christina turns really good desserts like Mississippi Mud Bars, a Banana Split Cheesecake, and Oatmeal Cream Pies into desserts that are just enough for two people. Love that...

5. Chef's Table: If you have an appreciation- a real appreciation- for good food, then you need to watch this Netflix series. The series highlights six chefs of award-winning restaurants who have made and continue to make ultimate sacrifices to pursue their passion for food and cooking. I knew that being a chef was hard work, but the amazing cinematography in this documentary shows you how hard it really is. But it also shows you that hard work pays off and that hard work can be enjoyable when you are working on your passion. This documentary will leave you with a bigger appreciation for the art of food - and a little hungry to say the least... :)

6. Bloodline: As I mentioned, I love a good family drama. This Netfix show is just that - a whole lot of good suspenseful family drama. The show revolves around Danny, the oldest son and black sheep of a prominent family in the Florida Keys. Danny has caused nothing but trouble his whole life and his family has always helped him out only for him to disappoint them once again. But he's finally ready to turn things around and come home to help run the family business. But once he comes home, he exposes the family's dark past - and it ain't pretty - but it's really good to watch.

What are you reading and/or watching these days?

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Strawberry Brownie Cake | Savor Home
Hello! How's it going? Well I'm back after a bit of an unplanned week away from this computer. Some projects at home and work left me with just enough energy at the end of each day to do mindless things like watch TV and read before falling asleep about 30 minutes later. The struggle is real sometimes when you work full time and blog on the side! But it's all good. I've learned to honor and listen to my body when it's tired and take time away from blogging when necessary - and not feel bad about it. Ya know what I mean?

Anyway, one of the books I was reading last week was Endless Summer Cookbook, a new cookbook by Katie Lee. I adore Katie Lee. She has a knack for simple entertaining and making simple recipes to go along with it. She also has great taste in both the fashion and interior design departments. Her new home in the Hamptons is stunning to say the least. One recipe that really caught my eye in her new cookbook was this Strawberry Brownie Cake. I needed something really easy to make to get back into the swing of blogging, and this recipe was just that. If you have a few boxes of brownies (or ingredients for your favorite homemade brownie) some fresh strawberries, and some whipped cream or Cool Whip in your kitchen, then you can whip this FABULOUS dessert up in no time. The combination of the moist brownies (I like a cakey-fudgy texture), the summer fresh strawberries (that are 2 for $5 right about now), and the freshly whipped cream in the photos you see there were just heaven in my mouth. It's the perfect little "fake-out" recipe that will leave your family or dinner party guests feeling quite impressed, inspired, and fully satisfied. :)

Strawberry Brownie Cake | Savor Home
Strawberry Brownie Cake | Savor Home
Strawberry Brownie Cake | Savor Home

Here is what you need and what to do:

2 boxes of your favorite brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli)
Packages of chocolate syrup (if included with brownie mix)
4 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream or 2 cups Cool Whip
1 cup sour cream, at almost room temperature
1lb strawberries, hulled & sliced

1. Preheat the oven to the temperature stated on the box of brownies. Line the bottom of two 8in round cake pans with parchment paper. I use these cake pans and love them. They are the real deal. Spray the bottom and sides of the pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Add the brownie mix, eggs, water, and oil, and chocolate syrup (if it was in the box) to the bowl of an electric mixer that is fitted with a paddle attachment. Once all of the ingredients are combined, divide the batter between each pan. Bake according to the instructions on the box. I baked mine for about 35 minutes so that they would be a little fudgy. Let them cool completely in the pans. Once they have cooled, carefully turn them out of the pan. You might need to run a paring knife around the sides to make sure they release easily.

3. To make the fresh whipped cream, pour the heavy cream into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip until you almost have stiff peaks. Fold in the sour cream with a spatula. If using cool whip, simply fold in the sour cream.

4. Place one layer of the brownie on the bottom of a cake server. Spread about half of the cream on top of the brownie. Top the cream with strawberries. Place the second layer of the brownie on top of the first layer and top it with the remaining cream and strawberries.

5. Slice it (it will be a little messy, but thats the way it should be!), and serve with little side of strawberries and extra whipped cream.


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