...because home doesn't happen overnight.

levis legging

Lately I’ve had a lot of people asking me (in real life and on the blog) about my jeans. They’re Levi’s. I discovered them two years ago and they’re my favorite. It only took me 30+ years to find the perfect jeans! Haha. The thing I love about Levi’s is once you find a style you like it makes shopping so much easier. I just grab my style, size and color preference and, BOOM!, they work every time.

The two styles I return to time and time again are the 535 leggings and the demi curve skinnies. I’m petite with a bit of a boyish figure and I like the way these styles give me a curvier look. I have a short torso and I like the low rise of these styles, too. They aren’t low enough to let it all hang out but they are low enough to avoid the dreaded mom jean look. They have the teensiest bit of stretch in them so they hold their shape really well wear after wear, wash after wash, year after year. I have some that are 2+ years old and they look and fit like they’re brand-new.

I like to roll the 535’s and wear them with ankle boots.

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The demi curve skinnies look great with flats or my trusty leather boots. These boots are five years old and they just keep getting better.

So, yeah, I’m always on the lookout for Levi’s. When I find a pair marked down in my style and my size, I have a hard time not scooping them up because I know I will have them for years. Just the other day I found a pair on sale thanks to PoachIt. Have you heard of PoachIt?

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PoachIt is a free service that lets you track your favorite items for price drops and it gives you access to coupon codes (that actually work) across the web. Basically, you never miss a sale again. You can follow over 5,000 merchants like Anthropologie, Nordstrom and Shopbop. Use a tracking button in your browser (much like the Pin It! button) to track specific items from other sites. When one of the items you’re tracking goes on sale, PoachIt sends you an email and saves you time, energy and money. There’s also an app to Poach on the go.

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Right now I’m following Levi’s, Target, Madewell, H&M, ASOS, Forever 21 and West Elm. I’m also tracking a few cold weather-specific items like snow boots, hats and leg warmers. We got our first snow of the season last week and I realized how NOT READY I am for winter. My birthday was Saturday and I have a little money burning a hole in my pocket so I’m really hoping those Sorel boots go on sale soon. I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life and I’ve never owned a decent pair of snow boots. As a kid, I always tugged on four pairs of wool socks and wore my dad’s Red Wings to play in the snow!

With Black Friday only four days away, I’m curious: do you do the Thanksgiving / Black Friday shopping thing? I used to when I was younger but it’s such a hassle now. I feel bad for the employees. I know what it’s like to work retail. I was listening to an NPR report this past weekend which revealed that many of the in-store Black Friday deals are recycled from the previous year(s)…same products, same prices. Meaning Black Friday shoppers could actually be paying more for outdated products. No thank you. Plus, I’d really rather spend the day at home with my family. This year, maybe I’ll check PoachIt to see if there are any deals to be had. Would you like to try it too? Lucky for you, PoachIt is offering up a $100 giftcard to spend on anything you want! Find entry details below.

PRIZE: one $100 American Express giftcard

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Click here and sign up for a free PoachIt account. Then leave a link in the comments section sharing what you would purchase with the $100.

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Monday, December 1st. One random winner will be announced Tuesday, December 2nd.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: I shared my favorite jeans, now it’s your turn! What are your favorite go-to jeans? I recently introduced my friend to Levi’s. She used to buy pricey, designer jeans but all it took was one pair of Levi’s that fit her like a glove to change her mind. She was leery at first because we don’t have the same body types. She’s taller and curvy in all the right places. She found a style that suits her and now she’s a convert!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Let’s start this one off with a bit of eye candy, shall we? Feast your eyes on the Asher sectional

Interior Define asher display

 

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When I was sourcing furniture for our home, I did a ton of shopping online. Buying online is really convenient for me because I don’t have to worry about my kids messing up displays, pretending to be ninjas, needing restroom breaks, wandering off or generally wreaking havoc in a store. I like that I can browse and compare prices from the comfort of my own home, on my own time. However, buying a big ticket item sight unseen can be daunting. Some online sources are really good at showcasing their inventory in true to life images and offering upholstery swatches to look over in person. Others are not so great and their images can be misleading. One company that is taking the fear and guesswork out of shopping for furniture online is Interior Define.

interior define

The company offers realistic imagery, complimentary swatches, customizable furniture and quality craftsmanship…all at a price point generally 30%-40% less than comparable retailers. To suit your individual needs and preferred aesthetic, you can choose the size, configuration, material, cushion fill and legs on almost every piece. Most pieces are available in 40-60 different fabrics! You can place custom orders online, via phone or in person at the flagship showroom in Chicago.

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When you order swatches, you also receive a product card for each item you’re considering. The front of the card includes an image of the item and the back lists pertinent info such as measurements and design details.

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The swatches and cards come bound together so you can stash them in your bag for reference when you’re out shopping for coordinating accent furniture and accessories in brick and mortar stores. When I’m piecing together a room I find it helpful to carry a small tape measure, pen, notepad and my phone (for pictures of the space I’m working on and potential items).

interior define pillows

Interior Define mainly focuses on sofas and sectionals but be sure to check out their chair and pillow selections as well. They sent me pillow samples to photograph in real life so you could see how the online store images compare. Spot on! And they are super soft to boot.

I’m not in need of any furniture at the moment but I couldn’t stop myself from dreaming up an imaginary living room inspired by some of Interior Define’s pieces. I haven’t shared a mood board in ages so I thought it might be fun to share one today. I was inspired to create a simple, scaled back living room with modern lines, natural wood tones and a comfy vibe. Take a look!

interior define living room

 

Sources: ceiling light // artwork // Walters sectional in navy // gray linen pillow // wide stripe pillow // kilim pillow // stitch stripe pillow // floor lamp // coffee table // vase // rug // accent table // sconce // chair (currently unavailable) // hanging planter // blanket

Are you inspired to create a look around one of Interior Define’s pieces? How about a store credit to bring your vision to life? Interior Define is offering up $1,000 in store credit! Find entry details below.

If you’re interested in knowing my favorites, I curated a collection of Interior Define pieces right here.

PRIZE: one $1,000 online credit to Interior Define. Credit must be used by 5/1/15 on the purchase of a sofa, sectional or chair in a single purchase. (Sorry, you can’t buy a truckload of pillows. I know. It’s a travesty.) Any returns will be refunded as store credit minus any applicable restocking fee.

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the continental U.S. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Visit Interior Define here and register your email address. Browse the selection then leave a comment on this post linking to your favorite item(s).

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, November 27th. One random winner will be announced Friday, November 28th.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Receive $100 off any order over $1,500 by using the discount code HT100. Offer expires 12/1/14.

Best of luck!

images: 1-3) Interior Define 4-9) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

blue apron 11-6

I don’t know about you but after a sugar-filled weekend I’m ready for some homemade food. I recently made a butternut squash & caramelized fennel pizza that was a delicious, seasonal meal.

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Steve is away on an extended business trip so I signed up for another Blue Apron delivery. I tried Blue Apron for the first time earlier this year after Steve’s appendectomy and it was a lifesaver during that busy, stressful time. I knew it would come in equally handy during a week of single-parenting. Skipping a grocery trip with kids in favor of farm-fresh ingredients delivered right to my doorstep? I’ll take it! It’s a little ridiculous how excited I am to open the refrigerated box and read over the three yummy, chef-designed recipes for the week.

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The ingredients are pre-measured to avoid waste. Even the smallest amounts of herbs and spices are included. (You only need olive oil, salt and pepper on hand.) It’s pretty foolproof.

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I’ve said it before… cooking isn’t in my wheelhouse. I’m not like my mom. I can’t scan ingredients in my pantry and fridge then whip up a meal in minutes with little mental effort and lots of cheery humming. Cooking doesn’t come naturally to me that way. (I wish it did.) I need a plan of action. Thankfully, Blue Apron includes a detailed recipe card for each meal.

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My kids are little foodies and they enjoy helping me prepare meals. It’s fun to see them discover new foods. Confession: I had never cooked a fennel bulb before trying this recipe. Eek!

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I also learned a little more about goat cheese. Did you know goat cheese has only become a popular food in American cuisine within the last 30 years? Did you know that when a recipe calls for crumbled goat cheese, it’s best to buy it in log form and crumble it yourself? The log is creamier and less dry than the pre-crumbled bits. (A reader recently brought this to my attention.) Choosing a high quality goat cheese is a good idea, too.

Vermont Creamery supplied the goat cheese for this recipe. The dairy is located in Websterville, Vermont. Allison Hooper and Bob Reese invested $1,200 each to start the company in 1984. They hired Adeline Druart, a native French woman and cheese expert (naturally), as an intern originally then later promoted her to general manager. Allison’s son oversees Ayers Brook, a nearby farm that supplies the dairy with goat milk. I love hearing the stories behind businesses like this. And I like knowing where my food comes from. I’m so happy to know Blue Apron supports local businesses and farmers. You can learn more about Vermont Creamery and see how they make great goat cheese by watching the video above.

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Anyhow, the pizza was so good… and beautiful. Not being anything close to a chef, I would have never thought of combining these ingredients to make a rustic, autumnal dish. Two out of my three kids loved it. (One has aversions to onions and parmesan cheese so it was a no-go for him.) And, of course, I devoured it. The fennel-parsley salad and spiced honey drizzle were the perfect final toppings. The recipe claims the pizza serves three but we have half of it left over. I know what I’m eating for lunch this week! I am a total leftover dinner for lunch eater.

Are you interested in giving Blue Apron a try? The first 50 readers to sign up here will receive two free meals on their first order! Shipping is available to most of the country and it’s free. There’s no commitment and you can always skip or cancel your service at any time.

Happy eating!

*This post sponsored in part by Blue Apron. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support this blog!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Linzy! She’s tackling a bathroom reno soon and is in need of lighting and hardware so this gift card should come in handy.

schoolhouse electric hardware 1

I’ve always loved the idea of adding special hardware to the Ikea vanity in the master bathroom, but it’s never been a necessity as the standard plastic pulls (mounted to the top of the drawers) functioned well. I was more than content waiting for the perfect handles to find me. And find me they did – just a few weeks ago in the form of the 11″ edgecliff pull from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. They were a bit of a splurge but they instantly brought the vanity’s level of sophistication up a notch. Totally worth the wait.

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Installation was easy enough. Two screws per pull (which were included with the purchase) screwed into two pilot holes and that was it. (The new pulls are mounted 2½” from the top of each drawer.) The handles are quite substantial and feel hefty underhand. They’re one of the those subtle details that bring a sense of luxury to the space and they’re used so frequently that they really do make a regular, mundane task (opening a drawer) feel special.

I don’t think I’ll tire of the gray-brass combo anytime soon. And, yes!, you CAN mix finishes in a small bathroom! The brass pulls pick up on the gold vase and wall urchins but they don’t “match” the chrome finishes in the rest of the bathroom. THAT’S OKAY.

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I love our new pulls so much that I asked Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. if they would be interested in a giveaway. They were kind enough to offer up a store credit! The timing couldn’t be better. The company just released their fall ’14 collection today. Like the rest of the inventory, the new items blend seamlessly with traditional or modern décor and the quality is superb.

schoolhouse electric fall 2014

sources: metal hoop stand // round brass tray // brass rail // Jack loveseat in nubby tweed

I’ve got my eye on the metal hoop stand. Even though we converted the original wood-burning fireplace to gas in the living room, I like the idea of displaying stacked split logs for an organic vibe.

See anything you like? Check out the full collection here and keep reading to enter to win a $100 gift certificate!

PRIZE: one $100 gift certificate to Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “SCHOOL ME!” and let me know which item(s) you would put the $100 toward.

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the continental U.S. One entry per email address.

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, September 21st. One random winner will be announced Monday, September 22nd.

Good luck!

images: 1 & 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 3 & 4) Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.