Homemade Banana Bread Recipe

It seems with warmer weather, my bananas always seem to ripen a lot faster than I'd anticipated. Without fail, by the end of the week, I find myself with a handful of really brown, practically baby-food-soft bananas that just aren't appetizing to eat.

Unless of course, they're in banana bread.

Which is how I've been making use of these lately. Enjoy!

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or regular milk will do, too)
1/4 cup canola oil
3 medium or 2.5 large well-ripened bananas
2 cups whole wheat flour (preferably freshly milled)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl. (As you know, I've been milling my own whole wheat flour for the past couple of months now, thanks to my electric WonderMill Grain Mill.)

Using a hand mixer, blend all the ingredients so that they are smooth. Alternatively you can run the mixture through a food processor, but I find the mixer is sufficient.

Lightly grease a loaf pan (I like to use my Misto). Pour the mixture into the loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for an hour, until golden. I like to turn off heat and let it sit in the warm oven for another 10 or 15 minutes so that it fully sets without worrying about it getting too brown or tough.

Remove from oven, and let cool before slicing. (This is the bread knife I use and recommend.)


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Explore the Archives: October 2010 on Life Blessons

I'm still plugging away at manually creating a browser-friendly archives page for all my past blog posts, month by month. Here's a look at what was going on in my life, way back in October 2010. From persistent prayers for daily bread&msash;in the form of a full-time job&msash;to reminiscing on the Old Testament story of Nehemiah, I hope you enjoy getting to take a little step back in time with me:

Archive Posts from October 2010

I'll share another post in a couple of weeks with the next installment of archives, but you can always jump ahead and browse all the posts in the archive.

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Our Love Story: Things Get Off to a Rocky Start

(This is the story of how my husband and I met and fell in love. If you are just now jumping in, you can catch up on last week's post here or start back at the beginning.)
As I documented before, my first words ever to the cute-new-guy-at-church-who-would-later-become-my-husband were as humbling as any: “Hi, I’m Carmen, and I need to apologize for what happened earlier…”

(If you need to catch up on what prompted the apology, you can read about it here.)

So I guess even from the beginning, God was really helping me to stick to my no-flirting vow. Because I don’t think having to apologize and admit you were wrong is going to get you very many numbers at a bar.

Since it was summer, every Sunday night the youth group got together just for the sole purpose of having fun. There was water balloon capture the flag, a night of playing cards, and plenty of impromptu trips to Sonic for milkshakes and mozzarella sticks. The youth group wasn’t especially big, so there weren’t very many adult volunteers—maybe a dozen, max. Sometimes we’d both be there and sometimes we’d chat, but it was never for any length of time at all, really. Because we were there to hang out with the teens. More often than not, if I wasn’t playing spoons with the kids, I was hanging out with the other women leaders.

About a month after we’d met, there was a weeklong youth-group trip planned to Illinois, and we both signed up to go as chaperones. As we geared up for the trip, the youth minister wanted to have a big kick-off party the night beforehand, complete with a bonfire and songs. My husband plays guitar and has even put out a CD, so he was the natural choice to lead worship for the event.

A week or so beforehand, he sent me a message on Facebook, asking what kinds of songs I thought might be good for him to play. I tried not to read too much into the question, telling myself that he was asking me because I’d been helping out with the youth group longer and knew the girls well.

So I suggested my at-the-time favorite Christian artist (who remains a personal favorite of mine to this day), John Mark McMillan. I had just gotten his cd with the song “How He Loves,” which was before David Crowder Band had covered it and it was hitting airwaves in a major way. Meaning, that not too many were familiar with it, so I made a copy of it and the next week at church, I offered it to him, as a way to help him learn the songs.

He declined and told me he wasn’t into burning music.

I know he did it in a gracious way, but at the time, it caught me off guard and felt like a complete rejection. So do you know what I replied? “Oh, well, if you have morals or something…”

Oh my.

It still makes me cringe thinking about it to this day and still makes my husband laugh and laugh. (Although at the time he was certain I couldn't stand him, which of course was the furthest thing from the truth.)

He ended up taking the cd (because, like I said, he’s a gracious guy) and singing the song at the bonfire. But it was just another proof that God was totally at work helping me stick to my no-flirting vow. Almost too much, it might seem!

Click here to read the next part in Our Love Story.

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Listening to that Still, Small Voice

Following God can be confusing.

Because sometimes, he tells us in big, bold, you-can’t-miss messages what it is he’s doing and how he wants us to follow him or where he wants us to go next. Sometimes it’s just incredibly, refreshingly, undoubtedly obvious.

But then there are those times when you pray and you pray and you just don’t know what he wants you to do next or whether he’s speaking to you. When you try everything you can think of to hear what he’s saying to you, and the line just continues to crackle with silence.

There are times in my life when I’ve been absolutely certain about what God was telling me to do. When Scripture lined up with my heart’s desire, when I was overwhelmed by an only-from-God sense of peace about a decision, when words of confirmation came raining down on me in every direction.

Yet, those times, when it almost seems like God had a bullhorn he was using to keep my attention, are exceedingly rare, especially the longer and further I go in my faith.

In the Old Testament we’re introduced to the idea that God exists not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire but instead in a quiet whisper—what has been translated in other places as “the still, small voice.”

There’s a comfort in this, that even when God isn’t banging on a drum or blasting a trumpet in our ear, he’s still reaching out and leading and guiding us. He’s still speaking to us and beckoning us, it’s just with a more subtle approach. Sometimes, he’s just waiting for us to stop, listen and—this can almost be the hardest part—trust that still, small voice.

Because with such a still, small voice, sometimes it isn’t clear or obvious that what we’re hearing or thinking is from God. What if it’s from me? Even worse, what if it’s from Satan?!

Fortunately, though, Jesus tells us that “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else.” (John 10:27-29)

Through much of Scripture, we see this assurance that, like the psalter wrote, “You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.” (Psalm 73:24)

Sometimes we just have to trust that if we are following God and obeying him and loving him and reaping the fruits of the Spirit, that he is guiding us and speaking to us—even when all we’re getting is the faintest whisper and an inkling of what to do next.

For me, it’s a matter of taking the Lord at his Word—literally, trusting that these things he’s said in Scripture are true—and then taking the step to be “faithful with little,” like we see in the parable of the talents (Luke 19).

What I mean by that is that when some vague idea to serve Him or to follow Him or to reach out and show love to another comes to mind—assuming it is not violating Scripture or the fruits of the Spirit—then I choose to trust that it is from the Lord and take a step in faith to pursue it.

For instance, an aquaintance of mine was recently walking through a heartbreaking time. We’re not super close and I’ve never experienced what she’s going through. I don’t have the words to say, and since I’m not really that close to her anyway, what good would it do to say anything anyway?

And yet, as I was praying over her situation, I felt like I ought to send her a card and, instead of trying to say something that made sense of the situation, to just tell her how much she meant to me and how much I appreciated the friendship she has shown me.

I don’t know if it helped, if it encouraged or if she just tossed it out without caring much about it.

But for me, that’s not really the point.

The point is that I choose to credit the idea to the Lord and to take it as an opportunity to, in one tiny way, follow and obey him. Because, as he said while he was here on earth, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me.” (John 14:23-24)

So in that instance—and many others—where I have a vague notion of serving Him in some—often seemingly random—way but I’m not certain whether it’s truly from the Holy Spirit, I make the choice to trust that it is.

And so I wrote and mailed it—my attempt to be “faithful with little”—and trust the rest to Him.

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My Latest Home Project: Staining the Deck

We’ve now lived in our house for about eight months. And over that time, we’ve been slowly making updates to add personality to blank walls (like when we painted our kitchen), decorate rooms that reflect us (like when we gussied up the guest-bedroom), transform furniture (like my media-cabinet overhaul) and lots of other projects and crafts here and there, which I’ve documented in full here.

One of the big overhauls that awaits us is taming our yard, which I talked about in this post. Down the road, that’ll entail quite a bit of dirt and digging, but in the meantime, we decided to take on another outdoor project that was a ton easier and delivered a much-needed makeover: Staining our deck.

The previous owners had built it not too long before they put the house on the market, so it was in good, structural shape, but it still retained its raw, pressure-treated wood state that just looked unfinished, especially sitting up against the house itself, which is cedar-sided. Here’s what it looked like:

The light-on-dark wood just clashed terribly and was something of an eyesore. Plus, since the wood wasn’t stained at all, it was absorbing lots of stains and molds that aren’t good for it in the long-term.

So, we decided we wanted to stain it to give it more longevity and a freshly polished appearance. When I sat down to do some research, I came across BEHR’s exterior deck stain products in their Premium Wood Coatings line.

One thing that immediately jumped out to me is that some of their stains are guaranteed to last 10 years on deck surfaces and 25 years on fences and other vertical surfaces. While I love a good craft, I don’t want to have to spend every other summer re-staining my deck, so I was thrilled to discover this possibility!

That satisfaction guarantee comes with their solid-color stains, which go a long way to cover up any blemishes or imperfections in your wood (especially the markings that were visible on some of our pressure-treated wood) and is self-priming. It lets some of the wood grain show through, but gives it a uniform appearance. (If you do want more of a visible wood grain, you can also choose their semi-transparent and transparent stains, which come with 6- and 4-year deck guarantees.)

I took the color chart provided and tried to match the color up to our existing siding, electing to go with the Tugboat color. (There are more than 50 solid-color and semi-transparent stain hues to choose from, as well as 6 transparent stain colors—for more than 100 to give you the exact look you’re going for!)

BEHR provides a complete weatherproofing line of products, including the products you’ll need to prep the surfaces as well as the stains themselves. So for this project, I got some of the Tugboat solid-color stain from the BEHR Premium Wood Coatings line, along with their All-in-One Wood Cleaner.

The first step was prepping the wood surface, which had gotten pretty stained and weathered from sitting unstained for the past year or so. Using the All-in-One Wood Cleaner, I mixed it up with water and sprayed it over the surface and then scrubbed it into the wood grain.

You let it sit for a few minutes and then hose it off. It’s incredible the difference the cleaner made to the wood; it really did make it look like new again! (The great thing about the cleaner is that it eliminates the need to pressure-wash the wood, so no machines to rent or worry about!)

I let the deck dry sufficiently for about 36 hours before I started staining, because you want the stain to adhere to dry wood. Then, I just started brushing it on, working it into the wood grain as I went. I’d read a lot online that you have to be really careful with stains because they can leave “lap marks,” but I found that the solid stain color was incredibly forgiving and I didn’t have a problem with it at all. It went on smoothly and dried pretty quickly, leaving the wood a beautiful chocolate-y brown hue:

Within 24 hours, you can start walking on the deck (light traffic only is recommended) and by 72 hours, it’s fully cured. I worked on it a couple hours a day over a few days, working in the morning before it got too hot (and the bugs came out!), and it proved to be a really straightforward DIY project that I was able to complete all on my own. And here’s what it looked like afterward:

I love how professional the solid-color stain makes the deck look and how well it makes it blend in with the house.

A few days later, it rained and I was able to see the stain in action, making the water pool on the surface rather than soak into the wood itself:

Next project on the to-do list? Get some patio furniture so that we can sufficiently enjoy our new-to-us deck in style!

For more information about BEHR’s complete weatherproofing line of products, visit their website here. You can also find out about all of their paint products (including interior and exterior paints) here, or you can follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

Our Love Story: The Prelude

Last week, my husband and I celebrated three years of marriage, which on the one hand seems like hardly anything at all but also like forever. It is a good thing and one that still takes me by awe some days when I realize how good we have it.

In celebration, I thought it’d be fun to take a couple of trips down memory lane about the early stages of our relationship.

In case you’ve missed it, I have written a few posts here and there on the subject, most notably documenting the first time we met (which was about as unromantic as it could get) and a lesson I learned early on in our relationship when we were grocery shopping together as well as how I knew my husband was “the one.”

So, where to begin? Well, at the beginning, I suppose…

Before my husband and I even met, I was in a season of intentionally praying for a husband after my latest failed relationship had left me broken hearted and wounded. One of the things I determined during that time was that in my next relationship, I would not try to force anything, whether it was getting someone to notice me or try to meet him or anything. I had done that in the past and every time it had ended miserably.

I had to trust that God knew who was better for me than I did. I had dated different “Christian” guys who seemed great on the outside but on the inside, they didn’t stand up to the test of how a godly man ought to act. Looking back on my past record, it was clear that I had no idea what kind of guy was right for me. I could look at his resume and say, “Well he sounds like a great Christian guy!” but then still be disappointed and hurt in the end.

So, I decided to take an incredibly hands-off approach to dating, which may or may not be the right decision for everyone. In a book I can heartily recommend, Get Married, Candace Watters talks about getting yourself noticed by a man you’re interested in and how it can be done in a godly manner without overstepping a man's role as the one doing the pursuing. It’s kind of that whole Ruth-and-Boaz dance where Ruth took the reins to let Boaz know she was interested in him—and that can be completely biblical. But for me, at that time, it was not. The Holy Spirit was telling me to step back and let him do the leading this time.

Admittedly, that proved hard to live out upon meeting my someday-husband.

From the first time I saw him (toting a bucket filled with water balloons at a youth-group event), I was attracted to him. I remember, I had picked up one of the youth group girls to take her to the event and when we drove in and I saw him standing there, I blatantly checked him out. I caught myself immediately, totally embarrassed, because what kind of role model is that?!

All that to say, from day one, this guy had caught my eye.

Click here to read the next part in Our Love Story.

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My Rules for What to Wear to Work as a Creative (Plus, a Chance to Win $100 from Lily of France)

As a professional writer, there are a few rules I try to live by in the workplace. The first is that when it comes to my writing, I strive to be invisible. What I mean is that when you read what I write, I want to disappear so that all you pay attention to is the story, the emotions, the characters—not to me. You notice the writer when clunky phrasing or awkward word choices or grammatical gaffes crop up. Instead of focusing on the prose, you end up trying to figure out what the writer was intending to do there—and like the curtain being pulled back on the wizard of Oz, the magic of the moment is shattered.

The same thing can be said for dressing for the workplace. There are certain, shall we say, “underpinnings” that ought to work behind the scenes—and stay that way. The foundation of a good outfit is that it ought to call attention to the outfit itself, not what’s going on beneath it. Like that whole invisibility cloak that I talked about when it comes to my writing, I think undergarments ought to play by the same rules.

When I’m wearing an outfit, I want you to notice the outfit, not what’s underneath. That’s why it’s important to choose undergarments that don’t pucker or stick out or show through. Lily of France got in touch with me and sent me a couple bras to try out, and one of my favorite things about these was that they both come with tons of flexibility—straps switch and rearrange so I can get the perfect fit to keep them out of sight while I’m showing off the other parts of the outfit that I intend to show off. (Their Extreme Options bra converts 62+ ways. That's a lot of options!)

The bras are also ultra-comfortable (made with special linings) so you can wear them all day without having to do all that tugging and pulling that can be so common with other bras. Plus, they are smooth and flat so that—even though they come in bright shades and prints—the bras themselves will skim over your skin without puckering. Just make sure to wear dark or heavy clothes over some of the more adventurous colors and prints! (Find out more about Lily of France’s latest bras on theirwebsite.)

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, Lily of France wanted me to take some time to talk about my rules for dressing as a creative in the workplace, specifically about how I’ve learned to meld a professional presentation with just enough panache to showcase my own personality at work. That’s been one of my favorite things about having worked in creative workplaces (namely publishing houses): there’s not only creativity in the work you create between the nine to five of it, but there’s creativity in the way you can present yourself there.

So, here are a couple examples of my favorite work-ready outfits, with Lily of France bras at the base and fun, functional pieces on top that, together, let my creativity shine so I can get back to doing what I do best: being creative.

I am a big believer in figuring out what works best for your body and what you find most comfortable, and then going all out with that. For instance, for most women, workplace wear means high heels. But frankly I don’t like them. So? I don’t wear them. My closet is filled with flats, and I have ones in funky shades that are comfy and coy and suit me to a tee.

I also tend to shy away from high-neck shirts because I find them unflattering for my body type; instead I only buy scoop- or v-neck shirts. Because that’s what looks best on me and makes me feel my best when I’m working 'round the clock. Stick to what works for you, and embrace it!

I love layering, whether it’s adding a scarf or a cardigan. A lot of my wardrobe is filled with solid colors, so even if I don’t mix a print into a given outfit, I can still add interest simply by layering different pieces in a limited range of colors. Figure out what your preferred color palette is and then look for items in those hues. For me, I gravitate toward navy blue, cream, dark brown and jewel-toned colors.

Even at work, I feel like an outfit should have something unexpected, whether it’s a pop of color or a pattern or an accessory that makes it memorable. I tend to prefer understated statement pieces, like the shirt with a graphic bird print on it above (paired with a cute, always-appropriate skirt and flats) or the fun peep-toe flats in the second example. A lot of it simply comes down to experimenting and having fun with what you wear.

Now, Lily of France wants to help you have fun with your wardrobe, too, so they’re sponsoring a giveaway for one Life Blessons reader to receive a $100 Visa gift card.

To enter, visit the Lily of France website and then let me know in a comment which bra appeals most to you. A winner will be randomly chosen and emailed, so please include a way to get in touch with you in your comment.

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post, b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post, c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post, d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 7/18 to 8/15/2012. Be sure to visit the Lily of France brand page on BlogHer.com, where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!


Homemade Whole Wheat Hot Dog Bun Recipe

What is summer without a good, grilled hot dog? Let me tell you, it's eating that hot dog on a homemade bun!

And, it's a lot easier than you might think!

This whole wheat hot dog bun is another that takes advantage of my already-established favorite kitchen: my bread maker. I use it to mix together the dough, and once that cycle’s completed, I can come back and shape the dough into the buns to bake in the oven. (If you’re looking for some other recipes to take advantage of using a bread maker, some of my favorites include making whole wheat sandwich bread, pizza dough, soft pretzels, and bagels.)

As I've mentioned before, I've recently started milling my own whole wheat flour, as well, thanks to my electric WonderMill Grain Mill, so that I can have super-fresh flour, anytime I need it. (You can read more about why I have started milling my own flour in this post here.)

So, without further ado, here's how to bake up a batch on your own!

1 cup warm-ish water
1 egg (if you don't have an egg handy, find an easy substitute here)
¾ tsp. salt
¼ cup butter, melted (alternatively, you can also use canola oil)
¼ cup sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour, preferably freshly milled
3 tsp. bread machine yeast

If you're milling your own whole wheat flour, measure out ⅔ cup of wheat berries and grind in your grain mill of choice (I use the electric WonderMill Grain Mill) to a fine flour, suitable for bread-making.

In your bread machine (mine is similar to this one), add ingredients from the water to the flours, in the order given in the recipe. (So, you'll add the water first and the whole wheat flour last.) 

Once you've added the last of the flour, use a spoon to hollow out a little dent in the middle of the flour. Into this, add your yeast. Program your bread machine on the "Dough" cycle. Press Start.

Let the bread machine mix the dough and go through the rising cycle. At the end, it will beep. Remove the ball of dough from the bread machine's pan, and turn dough out onto a lightly floured countertop. Using a dough scraper (or a sharp knife), divide dough into 12 equal pieces for regular-sized hot-dog buns. Alternately, if you plan on using jumbo-sized franks, only cut the dough into 10 pieces.

Place each rope onto a lightly floured baking stone (here's the baking stone I use) or cookie sheet, leaving about two inches of space between buns. (For adequate spacing, you might need to use two baking stones.)

Here's how mine looks at this point:

Cover dough with a cotton dish towel or cloth napkin, and set in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes. (For an easy way to let your bread rise, read my breadmaking tips and tricks article.)

Turn your oven on to bake at 400-degrees. Remove the dish towel from the dough, and let it bake in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and let cool.

Once cool, split buns in half along the top, cutting only about three-fourths of the way deep, making sure not to cut all the way through. (Meaning, both halves of the bun should still be connected along the bottom.) Then, you can slide a hotdog into the slit, like this:

Store slices in a sealed bag or airtight container for up to a week, preferably in the fridge, or you can keep them in the freezer if you aren’t planning on using them right away. Makes 12 hot dog buns.

If you like this recipe, click here to pin it to Pinterest. You can also follow me on Pinterest here.

(Plus, take a peek at my breadmaking tips and trick article, which will provide some good insights about how to overcome common problems, easy substitutions you can make if you run out of some ingredients, and some of my favorite breadmaking essentials. Read the article here.

P.S. If you are new to this blog, thank you so much for stopping by! You can feel free to browse all my other posts about my journey toward a lifestyle of simplicity and DIY, as well as some of the ways my husband and I are learning to save money. I also write about my faith, my marriage and everything in between, which you can explore in the archives.

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Make the Most of Your Wardrobe Series in Review

For the past month or so, I've been sharing some of my favorite sewing tutorials for ways to make over items in your closet as part of my Make the Most of Your Wardrobe series.

In case you've missed any of the posts, here's a recap of what we learned:
(You can check out my favorite sewing and crafting supplies, including the sewing machine I use, here.)

Most of those tutorials are geared toward bringing structural change to your clothing items (which can involve extra sewing), but you can see some other examples of clothes I've revamped with simple changes such as cutting off straps of a dress to make it a skirt, shortening a dress hem to make a tunic, cuffing too-long sweater sleeves, adding a piece of lace trim to a boring cardigan, and removing sequins from a Mexican-inspired skirt. Many of them didn't even require a sewing machine, simply a pair of scissors and some needle and thread, so there is something for everyone at any level.

The hardest part is just getting started! (But if you're too scared to go at it alone, why not rally support and make a date with girlfriends to create a craft-night party, like I did with some friends a couple years ago?)

Part of what prompted this series was the fact that last spring, I decided to get rid of half my closet. I found that I had been holding on too many items that I simply never wore and wanted to break away from it all. So I looked at my closet, decided what were the items that I loved and threw the rest into garbage bags that I dropped off at Goodwill.

Since that Great Purge, I've endeavored to be more meticulous about what I buy, and I recently took a look back to review all the things I'd bought since then. There were a few purchases I regretted, but for the most part, I learned my lesson and only added things to the "love" pile.

I hope all of those ideas will help inspire you to take a good look at your closet and see if there's anything sitting in there being unworn that you can play with to breathe into it new life and give it new life in your own closet's "love" pile.

Have any of these posts inspired you to get crafting in your closet? If so, I'd love to see some of what you've recreated; feel free to link-up to your own wardrobe-related tutorials or examples in the comments below!

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Redecorating the Guest Bedroom: The Finishing Touches and Big Reveal!

The guest bedroom has been the latest decorating undertaking here at chez moi. I’ve documented how I DIY’ed the wall paint color and how I created the headboard with the Greek key detailing. This post is about all the other details and how the room as a whole has come together.

First up, some wide-angle shots to give you an idea of the entire room (although the middle two photos make the paint color look MUCH more purple than it really is; the others are much more realistic-looking):

It’s really not a big room, so we tried to set it up in a way that made it feel roomier than it really is and to take advantage of what space there is.

When we moved in and slept in here while we were working on our master bedroom, we positioned our bed on the wall catty-corner to this one. Our bed is a full and this one is a queen and somehow placing the bed on that other wall dwarfed the room immensely. So we decided to try this bed here, and I think it works really well! There’s still enough space that you can walk comfortably around the bed.

One of the things I wanted to do was add some touches that would make this room feel more like a home-away-from-home, rather than a leftover-room, so I made sure to stock the dresser with things like tissues and a notepad and pen. And if you need some more bedding, it’s right here and waiting in vintage luggage that I’ve used to prop up the floor-length mirror.

I also wanted to put some fun reading material in here, so I stocked it with some of my back issues of different magazines—Lucky, Better Homes and Gardens, Popular Science, Dwell. Hopefully something for everybody!

It’s nice to have somewhere to throw your purse or an outfit, so I took an old office chair that we aren’t using and draped it with an old jersey sheet and pom-pom trimmed curtain to make it feel more bedroom-appropriate. I love the layered effect the materials and how breezy it looks.

The bed is outfitted with the extra throw pillows I got when we purchased the bed-in-a-bag bedding for our master bedroom. Having it all in the master bedroom felt a little too matchy-matchy for me, so I was happy to put those ruffled throw pillows to good use in here!

Since it’s summertime here in Atlanta, I skipped the comforter and just topped the bed with a bedspread I got a few years ago at Urban Outfitters. (It’s what they call their “tapestries.” I think they make perfect top sheets for the summer and really want to get some for our master bedroom, too!)

So, there you have it. That's how the guest bedroom which has gone from this:

To this:

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