Oak Street Mansion

After this birthday weekend, I feel so incredibly loved. I had so many amazingly sweet birthday wishes from friends and family. And Jill’s post yesterday brought me to tears – um, how fabulous were those glammed-out balloons! Thank you Jill – your words and creativity mean so much to me.

On top of all that, my family spoiled me. My son showered me with hugs, homemade cards, and brownies he topped with sprinkles – the best kinds of gifts. My hubby’s birthday is this week as well, so our parents gave us amazing surprises this weekend – a gift certificate for a cooking class I get to do with my mom pretty soon, and my mother-in-law surprised us with a night stay at Oak Street Mansion on Saturday. It’s a restored mansion in the historic Kansas City Plaza area that’s been converted into a bed and breakfast. We might have the best moms in America…honestly.

Here’s what it looks like:

Oak Street Mansion

Oak Street Mansion


The owners are avid art collectors, so every room has a different theme. We stayed in the abstract room.

Abstract Room - Oak Street Mansion

Abstract Room – Oak Street Mansion


Abstract Room - Oak Street Mansion

Abstract Room – Oak Street Mansion

The bathroom was so luxurious.

Bathroom Luxury - Oak Street Mansion

Bathroom Luxury – Oak Street Mansion

However, all of them were incredibly beautiful. And the restoration was absolutely amazing!

Impressionist Room 2 - Oak Street Mansion

Impressionist Room 2 – Oak Street Mansion


Impressionist Room - Oak Street Mansion

Impressionist Room – Oak Street Mansion


There was a street art room that I found fascinating. They had a local artist come in and graffiti the whole room.

Street Art Room - Oak Street Mansion

Street Art Room – Oak Street Mansion

This is our view of the cottage house behind the mansion. Guests can rent out this two-level space as well.

Cottage House - Oak Street Mansion

Cottage House – Oak Street Mansion

Having coffee in this room made me feel so fancy.

Sun patio - Oak Street Mansion

Sun patio – Oak Street Mansion

Isn’t the window hardware gorgeous?

Beautiful Windows - Oak Street Mansion

Beautiful Windows – Oak Street Mansion

On a scale of 1 to unforgettable, this birthday weekend definitely topped the charts. The next time you’re looking for a quaint bed and breakfast to stay at that’s near the action in Kansas City, you should definitely check out the Oak Street Mansion. It’s completely affordable and totally worth it. Cheers to another great year ahead!

Happy Birthday Erica!

Happy Birthday to this pretty little lady…Happy Birthday Erica www.middleredefined.com

See, Erica is truly the brain behind this blog.  I am her sidekick and partner in crime.  So when Erica approached me about starting this little adventure with her I was honored to have the chance to work with such an incredible person.

She is not only brilliant, beautiful and engaging but a dear friend who is kind, someone who truly listens and just has it together all the time.

Here’s to you my friend…wishing you the most happy birthday.  You deserve nothing but the best.

Oh, and I got you some balloons…



And some beautiful party blowers…


DIY Party Blowers

And of course a big ‘ol piece of cake with some killer pom cake toppers.


And in fitting fashion all of these projects entail a good DIY project for you to try if you are throwing a party soon.

DIY Confetti Dipped Balloons

DIY Party Blowers

Painted File Cabinets for Home Office

As part of our master bedroom redo, I wanted to update the “home office” part of our sitting room. I used to have a teeny desk in there, but I decided it was time for a change. My in-laws had given us that desk when I worked from home in our tiny St. Louis bungalow. It was the perfect fit at the time, and now it’s ready for a new home. Our neighbors needed a small desk for their daughter’s bedroom, so my in-laws were gracious enough to let it go.

So what do to now? With the new look and feel in our room, I wanted something with clean lines as well as a mix of wood and metal (are you surprised? Probably not). Here’s an inspiration photo I found a long time ago that kick-started my search for a table instead of an actual desk.

Home Office Inspiration - eurostylelighting.com

Home Office Inspiration – eurostylelighting.com


After searching for a while, I ordered this table from Ikea, and I’m going to paint the legs gold.

Ikea Table

Ikea Table


We also have some old file cabinets in our garage that my husband used as night stands in college. So I thought it would be fun to spray paint them either coral or mint. They’ll sit right next to each side of the table. Loving the idea of sprucing up traditional file cabinets for this space, kind of like these.

Painted File Cabinet - www.middleredefined.com

Painted File Cabinet – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption


[caption id="attachment_2050" align="alignleft" width="600"]Country Living Country Living


Painted File Cabinet for Home Office

Painted File Cabinet for Home Office


Can’t to see what it will look like when it’s all done!

So excited for this weekend, hope you are as well! We’re celebrating both my birthday and my husband’s, so it should be jam-packed. Talk with you all Monday!

FOUND! – Vintage Wood High Chair

OK, so with this little ones of course we already have a high chair.  Correction – we have one of those chairs that sits on top of a chair.  You know what I mean right?!  And we love it – it is great (thank you Grandma Nette).  BUT, how cool are vintage wood high chairs? And since we have a new little one and our Dax man will still need to be in the other chair thing by the time Jonah starts eating I figured why not search around a bit.

Backtrack a tad- Jonah woke up at 3a.m. Monday morning and wanted to party until 5:30a.m. so I had some time to cruise around the internet while he was coo’ing and smilin’.

I found this beauty on Craigslist of course…

vintage high chair

Now sit tight with me on this one – I plan to paint this a BRIGHT high gloss citrus color or lime green.  Or perhaps I will play up on the turquoise tray it has on top?

vintage high chair 2

Regardless this beauty has great potential…I think my little “Jonah Bear” (yes that is a nickname not his middle name) will be very happy with his new seat.

vintage high chair 4

vintage high chair 3

What do you think?  What color would you go with?

AND I don’t want to spill the beans too quickly but after I refinish this it might decide to sell this in our SHOP.  EEK, get excited!  The Middle Redefined online shop coming soon!

Perfect Potato Soup – Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummond, otherwise known as Pioneer Woman, has quickly become one of my favorite Food Network stars. She lives on a ranch in Oklahoma and became famous by just blogging about her recipes each day. She literally walks people through every single step of each recipe with simple instructions and beautiful photography. I’ve made several of her recipes, and all of them have been awesome. They’re not calorie conscious by any means, but what does that hurt now and then?

During this time of year I love making potato soup. It’s creamy (good), has potatoes in it (good), and it’s the only soup my husband and son will eat (best). But I don’t feel like I’ve mastered it. I want to try some different recipes out to see which one fits our family the best. So I thought Ree could help me out. Here’s her recipe for potato soup. If you check it out on her blog, you’ll find step-by-step instructions as well. Enjoy, and let me know if you have a favorite potato soup recipe as well!

Potato Soup - Pioneer Woman

Potato Soup – Pioneer Woman


  • 6 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 whole Carrots, Scrubbed Clean And Diced
  • 3 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 6 whole Small Russet Potatoes, Peeled And Diced
  • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice Mix
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Parsley
  • 1 cup Grated Cheese Of Your Choice

Preparation Instructions

Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.

Return the hot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove half to 2/3 the soup and blend in a blender/food process until completely smooth. Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream, then stir in parsley, reserving a little for garnish.

Serve in bowls garnished with parsley, grated cheese and crisp bacon pieces.


Rethink: Chicken Wire

Chicken wire in home decor.  Might sound odd but strangely enough I recently bought two great items that are made from chicken wire.

And before I get too far along on this one – I am blaming it on the mister on our recent lunch date.  See, we hardly ever get a chance to go on a lunch date and with only 20 minutes to spare we decided to run to Hen House (local grocery store) because they have a fantastic salad bar.  He then walks up to the register with an entire rotisserie chicken.  For himself.  His response, as I am sure I was staring at him with a puzzled look, “6.99 for an entire chicken!”  Oh I love him, even with his cave man eating habits.  And his chicken eating habits made me chuckle and pay more attention to these recent home decor items made from chicken wire.

Now on to my home decor purchases…

I found this great vintage basket that I use in our laundry room.  (I saved you the image of actual dirty laundry in the basket.  Figured you didn’t need to see the misters dirty whitey tighties:))



This lovely find was vintage and one of a kind but a quick cruise around Etsy and I found one very similar and just as lovely with a muslin liner for $35.

And on my recent trip to HomeGoods I found a steal of a deal in this mail organizer for $10!


What I adore about the look of chicken wire is the repetitive hexagon shape it produces.  Once I add some fun labels to this puppy I will have a great mail organizer for a great price.

Here is a look at some other great decor items that incorporate chicken wire…

How amazing is this dark distressed wood?  A great piece to display photos, kids art work, invitations, cards, etc. – Etsy

Or you could use the same concept as a jewelry holder.

Reclaimed wood and only $25!  Also found on Etsy.

And my favorite…

A great shaped basket that can be used in many different ways…and who said you can’t glam up chicken wire??  A little gold paint makes a big difference.  Only $25!

Do you have anything around your house made of chicken wire?  That is unless you have chicken farm – you don’t count.


Walking in Memphis

I was in Memphis last week for work, and we went out on Beale street the night we were there. Beale street is much smaller than I thought it would be, but we found a place with great blues music, which makes me so happy. So I thought it might be fun to explore art that represents Memphis – the blues, Elvis, the famous street. Some fun options to be had on art.com. Just so happens they’re running a 30% off special right now that lasts until Tuesday (use code WUN96). Hope you find some great stuff!

Beale Street Sign Print

Beale Street Sign

Beale Street Sign

Rum Boogie Cafe Print

Rum Boogie Cafe Print

Rum Boogie Cafe Print


BB King’s Sign Poster

BB King's Sign

BB King’s Sign


Swingville All-Star’s Poster

Swingville All-stars Poster

Swingville All-stars Poster


Memphis Guitar Shack Art

Memphis Guitar Shack Art

Memphis Guitar Shack Art


Elvis Abstract Art

Elvis Abstract Art

Elvis Abstract Art


Heartbreak Hotel Sign Print

Heartbreak Hotel Sign Print

Heartbreak Hotel Sign Print








Workout Time

Now eight weeks out from having baby numero tres means this mama needs to get to working out ASAP!  Only problem – juggling a kiddo in school, sporting events, my volleyball broadcasts and filling my other free time with my love for design (this blog) doesn’t leave a lot of time for hitting the weights.  I get it – the problem and excuse everyone gives right?!

My solution – make our basement my workout cave (among the misters “man cave”).  So, without further ado I am sharing some inspirational “home gym” photos I found for different styles and situations nixing the thought that gyms have to be ugly and boring.  (Sidenote: I am not looking at the gym equipment in these photos…the mister being mr. health and fitness was very disappointed while viewing this blog post over my shoulder this evening talking about the gym equipment.  I am talking the decor aesthetics of the gym).

A chic and glamorous gym…

A rustic and charming gym…

A kid friendly gym…

Or a modern and sleek gym…

And in a dream world my home gym would look like this…

Which one is your favorite?  OK time to go throw some weight around.  Wish me luck!

Fall Decorating Ideas

I’m crazy for Fall. It’s my favorite time of year. The weather is crisp and cool, we get to start wearing boots again, and there’s pumpkin everything to eat. Today I’m going on a pumpkin patch field trip with my son, so it got me thinking about Fall decorating. I found some fun inspiration photos on Pinterest (of course) that I thought I’d share. Enjoy!

Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens


Fall Front Porch

Fall Front Porch


Fall Glam - honeywerehome.blogspot.com

Fall Glam – honeywerehome.blogspot.com






Fall Tablescape

Fall Tablescape





Fall Mantel

Fall Mantel


Pumpkin Decorating - brittanyestes.com

Pumpkin Decorating – brittanyestes.com


DIY - Wine Bottle Centerpiece - brittanyestes.com

DIY – Wine Bottle Centerpiece – brittanyestes.com


Chalkboard Art

Chalkboard Art




Pillow Talk

The little man and I snuggled all day today.  Hey, I had a good reason – today is my last day of maternity leave.  I am going to stop talking about it before I get too sad.  OK?!  OK.

SO, on to the other topic at hand.  Throw pillows.  While snuggling and lounging around today I decided I needed to change out the pillows on our couch.  A fresh new look for fall and I am excited about the versatility with this collection of pillows.  (Actually I had all of these pillows laying around the house).

Note: Throw pillows are getting bigger and bigger.   Gone are the days of 16″ pillows.  Most of these are 20″ or even 24″ pillows.  So think BIG, COMFY and SQUISHY.


Layer them on!  Mix patterns and textures all within the same color family.  This set of pillows welcome in fall and add a nice pop of subtle color.


If I want to take off a couple pillows I can always go with larger pillow in the back and smaller directly in front.  Forget about only placing pillows to the sides of couches on an angle.


So many different combos I can play with…

IMG_6284 IMG_6287 IMG_6289

And my biggest little man loves all the snuggly pillows…


I am thinking I might have a pillow fight on my hands tonight!