Maximizing your holiday decor

OMG you guys!  I finally have a hot minute to sit down and write something.  First of all, I’m sorry for neglecting Domicile, fortunately I have been out straight with real estate and training some amazing new people on my team this past spring and summer.  Oh, and we took a 2-week trip to Ireland (like 5 posts coming on those adventures)!

Anyway, the other day I decided to break out my holiday/winter throw pillows and organize my addiction as well as change out all the summer bedding at the house.   It’s a little too early for Christmas décor so how do you maximize your purchases for more than just 1 month a year?

First off don’t spend a ton.  Home Goods, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, and even Hobby Lobby or Michael’s can have good deals on holiday décor especially if it’s after the season and you can stock up for next year!  Second try to choose prints that will carry through winter and just have a few extra Christmassy/Holiday ones for an extra pop of color.  Even the sheet sets at Home Goods are to die for and totally affordable.  I tend to alternate with a lot of neutral tones so I can mix in the same pillows/sheets/throws throughout the different seasons.  I also have the Ektorp IKEA couches so I like to switch out the slip covers for different seasons as well and with 2 Golden Retrievers that aren’t even allowed on the couches they still need to be washed frequently!

See below for some inspired fall and holiday décor that you can maximize this season!  Happy decorating!

 

Tans, whites, some sweet $39 antler sheets from Marshall’s and this gorgeous wool throw blanket I brought back from the Blarney Woollen Mills in Ireland!  Just flip the Merry pillow around if it’s not December yet! holidaybedding-1holidaybedding-3holidaybedding-6holidaybedding-7

 

More antlers, some buffalo check from IKEA, and a mix of grays set a fall tone.  holidaybedding-9holidaybedding-11holidaybedding-12

 

I saw this trick years ago maybe it was in Martha Stewart but I thought it was brilliant… you put a fitted sheet over the box-spring mattress.  1. If it’s ugly it hides it, and 2. you can even change that out for the seasons and to match your other bedding!  This old flannel one matched perfectly with the Buffalo check duvet set from IKEA!holidaybedding-17holidaybedding-19holidaybedding-21holidaybedding-22

 

I’m legit obsessed with these skier sheets from Ralph Lauren.  I picked them up last year at Home Goods and the only downside is that I can use them year round!

 

White slip covers!  Love love love them, BUT they are not easy to keep clean and I don’t even have kids!  I just can’t get enough of a white couch!  I also use 3-4 of these pillows throughout the year.holidaybedding-26holidaybedding-27

I hope this gave you some inspiration for the holiday season!  Wishing you and yours all the holiday feels, vibes, and whatever else the kids say these days!

xoxo,

-Erin

 

Helpful Tips on Servicing a Tankless Water Heater

Hey guys!  I’ve been crazy busy Realtoring during this spring market that I really haven’t had much of a chance to get any articles out, but my husband Tony wanted to share some helpful information on servicing tankless water heaters.  I have to be honest I always tell him that I appreciate the “magic” that he makes happen… you know like running water, heat, and electricity.  Without him I’d be living in a really nicely decorated cardboard box! 

 Anyway enjoy and hopefully this helps you all out! 

 -Tony & Erin

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In Food

The Domicile Mapletini-It’s what’s on tap!

Tis’ the season here in New England for this delectable concoction!  It’s Sugaring season and we just recently were fortunate enough to go up to Vermont with some longtime friends for the weekend and help them collect sap and make some liquid gold!

Before we left I was hyper-focused on trying to nail down the perfect Mapletini recipe using fresh sap as a base.  Back in the day I used to bar-tend so from time to time I like to come up with new cocktail ideas or signature drinks for parties and events.  I had a few weeks to play around with getting it right before our annual Saint Patrick’s Day open house which worked out well because my first go-round left a little something to be desired!

As it turned out the Vermont Gold Vodka was too sharp to use as the main liquor.  I tried cutting it initially with some other stuff and it just wasn’t good.  I mean you could drink it but it certainly was not something I would be comfortable putting my name on that’s for sure!

I happened to be at the liquor store a couple days before our party picking up some staple supplies when I came across the Metcalfe’s Maple Cream Liqueur.  I usually am not a “cream liquor” kind of person, I just don’t like milk products in my drinks but I decided to experiment with it anyway and I’m glad I did because I think it ended up being the missing ingredient!  The new recipe was great and it was even husband approved so I decided to make a huge batch for the party.  It ended up being a big hit!

I like to think that this cocktail is a festive reminder that spring is on its way, especially after the crazy winter we have had!  We are eagerly awaiting her arrival.  I hope you enjoy!

 

The Domicile Mapletini

4 oz Fresh Maple Sap (ask your local sugar shack or tap some trees yourself)!

1 ¾ oz Metcalfe’s Maple Cream Liqueur

1 oz. Vermont Gold Vodka

½ oz. Flag Hill Maple Liqueur

1 teaspoon real maple syrup

Maple sugar – for rimming the glass

 

In Food

The Best Caesar Salad Dressing

I’m going to take you back to 1995.  My first job was as a “busser” and “Caesar salad/Banana’s Foster cart girl” at the now long closed down Pond View Restaurant in Kingston NH, which was a popular steak and seafood spot for decades. They were known for pumping out some great food, had a cool and quirky atmosphere (they would give the bill in an old music box, had queen Anne chairs, and all the plates were mis-matched vintage Victorian patterns… I mean they were doing Pinterest stuff before it was en vogue)!

Anyway, one of the things they were known for was making homemade table-side Caesar salad and it was my job to do that for the patrons when an order came in for it.  It was the more glamorous part of the job so of course I loved it!  To be fully honest, this little recipe has also come in handy over the years.  I’d whip it up when I wanted to impress a boyfriend and then of course he would actually think that I was an amazing cook….. ha ha ha!  My husband told me it was totally false advertising!

Caesar Salad Recipe

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped (if you don’t have fresh garlic you can use the minced garlic in a jar)

½ lemon juice squeezed

1-2 anchovy filets (if you choose)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 egg yolk (helps the dressing stick to the lettuce)

Couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup of olive oil (not EVOO it changes the taste too much)

¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese (*Not shredded that comes in a bag!)

½-full head of Romaine lettuce ripped up

Croutons

Start by mashing the anchovies finely and mix with the garlic, Dijon, lemon, Worcestershire, and egg yolk.  Then add in oil and cheese and mix until blended.  Toss in the lettuce and croutons and mix until the lettuce is evenly coated.

Feel free to adjust any of the ingredients to taste.  Personally, I like more garlic!

Enjoy! I hope you love it as much as we do!

A Sugaring weekend in Vermont

Late winter/early spring in New England can sometimes be pretty ugly especially once the snow gives way to mud.  Up in Vermont they have what’s called “mud season” and yes, it’s a real thing!  In the land of dirt roads, it can be quite messy and it certainly isn’t the most “postcard-ready” season.  With all that being said, there is something gloriously amazing that happens this time of year… Maple Sugaring!

 

Tony and I started off our trip to Vermont by packing up the car and the second Corlie sees us packing toys in her “travel bag”, she starts losing her mind and whining until we finally tell her it’s time to get in the car!  Devon and her husband Ross have a 5-year-old Golden Retriever named Addison, Addie for short.  Corlie was starting to get seasonal boredom from being cooped up in the house so we knew her and Addie, and Devon’s parents’ Golden, Lily would have a blast playing together and running around in the mud for the weekend.

We stopped off for lunch at this cool little spot called The Worthy Burger which is housed in an old freight house in South Royalton, VT.  The food was great but they also have a pretty good variety of local beers on tap.  It’s definitely worth checking out!

We arrived later that night at Devon and Ross’ new house near Montpelier which was absolutely breathtaking.  We caught up on our crazy lives over a wonderful dinner and watched the pups antagonize each other being that they’re both only fur-children.

The next morning, we got up and went to this little breakfast place in downtown Montpelier that Devon and Ross had raved about the night before.  Down Home is a great little spot known for it’s southern inspired food.  The owner is from South Carolina and the food was delicious.  The fact that I could get iced coffee there in February was a major win!  If you get the chance you should try to score a spot at the family style farmhouse table for breakfast all day.  True southern hospitality!

After breakfast we got back on the road with the golden girls and started heading north to Devon’s childhood home.  Her parents; David and Louise have a beautiful property on over 30 acres in quaint Bristol, Vermont where they take pride in the art of maple sugaring every spring.  I was excited to be there and to capture the process of making “liquid gold”.

There is quite a science to sugaring and there is never a set “date” that you should start tapping the trees.  When I asked Devon’s dad David how you know they’re ready he said it really depends on a lot of different variables, but ultimately you have to simply “trust your gut”.  David has been doing this for the better part of 30 years so while this is like second nature to him, not so much for us!  David is one of those people who loves nature, the woods, land, sustainable farming, hiking, biking, you name it – if it’s outside he’s probably doing it.  He’s uniquely qualified to teach a college course on maple sugaring techniques as he is both a UVM professor at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources as well as the Executive Director at Vermont Family Forests which is a non-profit forest conservation organization established in 1998 to preserve the health of local family forests.  We were able to learn just a small percentage of his knowledge during our day at the sugar shack.

Typically, you need colder nights that are below freezing and warmer days where the temperature goes above freezing for the sap to really flow.  During the day the starch that the trees have stored in their roots and trunks before winter, will rise in the trunk and convert into sugar sap.  The sap doesn’t have much taste, it’s water with a little hint of sweetness.  Actually, obtaining maple syrup from the sap is where you really put in your time!  It takes about 40-45 gallons of sap (depending on the sugar content of the tree, most are around 3%) to produce one gallon of syrup.   The sap becomes syrup by evaporating the water down by boiling it just above boiling point (usually done on an evaporator and not recommended to be done in the house especially if you like the paint or wallpaper on your walls)!

It’s best to boil the sap the same day it’s collected as it can spoil easily and if you have some great “run days” you’ll have so much that you can’t keep up with it!  As it was we collected some of the trees twice in a 4-hour window since it was flowing pretty quickly.  This year they decided to tap 100 of the trees on their property but they could have easily done twice that if they really wanted to.  The problem then becomes manpower.  You have to collect the sap every day and the old saying of “many hands make light work” definitely ring true.  We collected 118 gallons of sap between 5 of us, minus the one I spilled when I tripped on a root and lost the whole damn bucket!!  David was nice enough to tell me that it was an “offering to the tree gods and they don’t forget”. A wise man he is!

Tony had never actually done any of this sugaring stuff, but I had years ago and always had such a blast that I couldn’t wait to introduce him to it.  I told him that there was nothing like that sweet smell of boiling sap, hauling buckets back to the sugar house, and hanging out with friends discussing life for a few hours while drinking some great local brews. I think he was kind of like “yeah, yeah, Erin’s being dramatic again”, but he really got into it and had a great time.  Just before we were ready to head to dinner and most of the sap had been boiled down to the first level, we all got to taste the fruits of our labor right off the evaporator.  It will eventually be filtered seven more times to make the syrup more refined.  Trust me, if you’ve never tasted maple syrup that fresh, you’re missing out on one of life’s little pleasures.

As we were finishing up the batch and remarking about how delicious it is, Ross says “too bad we don’t have any whiskey”.  David just smiles and puts his hand up, gesturing for us to wait a minute as he goes next door to grab a bottle of Dewar’s.  He had just the right amount left to mix with the fresh syrup.  Absolute heaven!

It was time to change out of our farm clothes and head down to the Bobcat Café for dinner with the crew.  Louise and David were kind enough to let us take some fresh sap so that I could attempt to make some Mapletinis (stay tuned for that concoction once I figure out the right ratios) as well as some liquid gold from last years run.  Many thanks to the Brynn’s for having us and teaching us the art of sugaring!

 

 

Laundry Room Reveal

You know those laundry rooms you drool over on Pinterest and think “One day it will be mine…. oh yes – it will be mine”?  Well that was me until we bought our fixer-upper foreclosure house in the summer of 2017.  The house itself is only nine years old but it needed a lot of work and was in disrepair.  Of course, I started my pin board of ideas and if you read the previous blog post about rehabbing the old soapstone sink, you’ll recall that I wanted to design the room around that giant, gorgeous, 400lb piece of amazingness!

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How to Restore a Vintage Soapstone Sink

This past summer, Tony and I purchased a foreclosure home (and you will find some of his interjections in this post in the brackets denoted: “Husband Note”)!  The house itself is only 9 years old, but you’d be amazed at how downtrodden a home can become when not taken care of properly, so while the shell was in good shape, there was a considerable amount of work that had to be done inside.

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The Perfect Coffee Table Book

So, one of the things that I started doing a couple of years ago was to make a nice printed album for each of our trips as coffee table books (you know being a photographer and all).  I didn’t want something cheesy and I didn’t want something that was overly fancy either.  After doing some research I came across Artifact Uprising and I’ve been very happy with their level of service, print quality, design dashboard, and how well they hold up over time.  Read more

What to see, do, and eat in New Orleans

Full disclosure: even though Tony and I are foodies, we are not seafood people (I’ll do some here or there, but T won’t even touch the stuff).  That being said I know NOLA is known for it’s seafood but we can’t help you there (sorry!)  I can however tell you where to find the best fried chicken, because that is my jamn and I took it upon myself to test out a couple highly rated fried chicken establishments.  More on that as we get to the restaurant section!

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