How to Use Cook Books as Home Decor

For years I stored my cookbooks on a shelf in my pantry.  In the last several years, I transformed my formal dining room into a “lady’s lounge.” It’s a quiet and inviting space for reading or gathering with friends. I put two large bookshelves from World Market on one of the walls and decided to display not only serving pieces, and cake pedestals, but also my cookbooks. Cookbooks are much more than reference books, they are works of art. They make perfect coffee table books. Sometimes I like to just prop cookbook on a stand on the counter in the kitchen to inspire me with a photo of beautiful cupcakes. Or, I will stack several on the kitchen counter with a plant on top. One trick for organizing your books is to sort them by color. I take off the book’s jacket and file the cover away if I decide … Continue reading “How to Use Cook Books as Home Decor”

How to Make Your Home Smell Clean

As the weather gets cooler, I think we all want to treat our homes to a good cleaning from being cooped up from the summer heat.  I love to make a batch of homemade three-ingredient stovetop simmering potpourri to fill the home with the smell of clean. Slice one lemon, add three rosemary sprigs, one teaspoon of vanilla, and enough water to cover.  I let it sit on the stove at a low simmer.*  It fills the house with the smell of the soaps you purchase at Williams-Sonoma.  I usually have all the ingredients on-hand, especially the rosemary from the garden. You could also use oranges or cloves. And here’s a time-saver from PureWow for the upcoming holidays regarding cleaning — fake a clean home!  “A deep clean would be lovely, but you’ve got 45 minutes, woman. The most important thing you can do: Clear every counter and tabletop of clutter and … Continue reading “How to Make Your Home Smell Clean”

What Would Holley Wear: Skirts and Sneakers

Without question, the sneaker trend is here to stay.  Here’s the deal…once style influencers started wearing sneakers with skirts and dresses….all bets were off.   There are so many fun ways to style skirts and sneakers.  One of my favorite fall looks is a skirt paired with an oversized sweater and sneakers.  For fall, think about repurposing the floral midi you wore all summer….just add cute sneakers.  Know what you get when you wear a maxi skirt, sweatshirt, and high-tops?  An adorable bohemian look! Animal print skirts paired with sneakers are super on-trend.  A Pinterest look we adore shows an animal print skirt worn three ways…with a sweater and booties…with heels and a blazer…and with a sweatshirt and sneakers.  Another favorite is a tiered leopard skirt topped with a t-shirt, jean jacket, and Chanel bag.  And the Golden Goose sneakers definitely give it that extra pop of style!   If you’ve … Continue reading “What Would Holley Wear: Skirts and Sneakers”

Pumpkin Caramel Bars

I pinned so many pumpkin recipes over the weekend and decided to give the Fudgy Pumpkin Caramel Swirl Bars from the Food Charlatan a try.  I have over 250 bars and brownie recipes pinned to my Pinterest board — you can check them out here. I put my own twist on them by adding one-half cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips on top of the melted caramel.  The end result was a cross between a spice cookie, a snickerdoodle, and a salted caramel brownie. Ingredients 3/4 cup butter, melted 2 and 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling) 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vanilla (not a typo — yes Tablespoons) 2 and 1/4 cups flour, spooned and leveled 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 (11 ounce) package caramels 3 tablespoons milk 1/2 cup … Continue reading “Pumpkin Caramel Bars”

What Would Holley Wear: Style Influencers

As a fashion writer, it’s my joy/job to stay on top of fashion trends.  In the past, magazines were my go-to, but today I’m inspired by style influencers….even when their style is totally different from mine.  One of my favorite influencers is Veronica from the Lombard & Fifth Blog.  She’s also the mother of two daughters and works in the wine industry.  Show her anything from a blazer to a sweater, and she’ll show you multiple ways to style it.  Plus, she’s an expert when it comes to mixing highs with lows.  For example, in one of her photoshoots…her jeans are Levis, her blazer is from Express, and her fabulous royal blue satin shoes are Manola Blahniks. For one of Veronica’s “Friday Five” photoshoots, she features a feminine H&M chiffon dress.  For a casual look, she layers it with a white cardigan styled with Golden Goose sneakers.  How fashion forward … Continue reading “What Would Holley Wear: Style Influencers”

How to Create A Fall Coffee Station

My favorite time of the year is finally here – fall!  I love coffee year round, but there is no better time to elevate just about the most perfect drink.  And, it doesn’t cost a lot to pull together a fall coffee station. Let’s get started. First, you need a tray. I picked up a silver one with tortoiseshell handles from HomeGoods several years go.  Here’s a similar one in my Amazon Store where you can find everything I mention in this post. Next, since I love the color of copper – it reminds me of all the copper pieces Mother used to entertain – I pulled a few mugs from the bar and placed them on the tray to hold spoons and packets of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Mix. It is totally on-trend right now to mix your metals. The spoons are some fun ones I found from the … Continue reading “How to Create A Fall Coffee Station”

School of Gracious Living – October Schedule of Virtual Classes

“True hospitality is welcoming the stranger on her own terms. This kind of hospitality can only be offered by those who have found the center of their lives in their own hearts.” Henri Nouwen If you are new to Home with a Twist, welcome! I launched my School of Gracious Living in May as my perfect solution to virtually connect with women during the pandemic while sharing my love of entertaining and hospitality.  I welcome you into my home through a virtual experience without you having to leave yours! People make the party, not the space. I thoughtfully prepare a curriculum of classes covering a variety of topics. I look forward to hosting each of your virtual learning experiences. The full class offerings and registration are available here. Each class includes 90-minutes of cooking tips, instruction, and hands-on cooking. After you register you will receive an instructional email with the … Continue reading “School of Gracious Living – October Schedule of Virtual Classes”

From the Writer’s Desk – Things Said, Read, Loved

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsworth I oftentimes find interesting stories or posts and I think “this is really good, I want to share this.” In grade school, my favorite day of the week was Friday when the teacher would lead “current events.” Each student was charged with the task of bringing to school a newspaper clipping to share with the class. I loved sitting in the reading circle and couldn’t wait until it was my time to shine. This was a terrific way to learn new ideas, form critical thinking, and develop presentation skills. So, I am bringing back current events of things said, something I read, and something I learned. I may even toss in something I loved about the week. Something that I read and learned – I subscribe to The Washington Post digital paper. It’s $1 week and you can … Continue reading “From the Writer’s Desk – Things Said, Read, Loved”

What Would Holley Wear: Almost Fall Style

Don’t you think a beige and black outfit is a great way to mentally transition to an autumn state of mind?  From shorts to dresses…wearing these neutral colors will give your “almost fall” style a sophisticated edge. If you’ve got the legs for shorts, then I say…go for it!  Short suits are so on-trend and can be worn to work or for date night.  A pair of beige shorts, white tee, and a black blazer looks great with sandals, sneakers, or heels.  Did you know a new trend is wearing biker shorts with a blazer?  And even better….a pair of Bermuda shorts is just as cool!  If you are looking for a way to update your fall athleisure style, think about pairing black leggings with a white tee and beige cargo jacket.  Please know, you don’t have to pay a fortune for fitness attire….my go-to for leggings is Target.  For … Continue reading “What Would Holley Wear: Almost Fall Style”

Fall is Coming Y’all – Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

Y’all!  I am ready for fall, and a change of scenery with pumpkins, and pumpkin waffle candles a burning! It’s technically not until September 22, but as soon as pumpkin hits the shelves at Trader Joe’s my happy season has begun.  I had my first PSL from Starbucks on August 29 – fall is my favorite! This recipe from Crazy for Crust for Pumpkin Coffee Cake will be your new fall friend.  Here’s the thing, it doesn’t call for any eggs.  Don’t panic, it turns out fine (I was worried, so I wanted to offer you some reassurance). Ingredients For the Coffee Cake: 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used pastry flour) 3/4 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice 1 cup pure pumpkin puree (I swear by Trader Joe’s organic canned pumpkin) 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup nonfat … Continue reading “Fall is Coming Y’all – Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake”