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Modern Design Blog

A blog about thought-provoking, forward-thinking modern furniture, lighting & decor.

3 Fresh Mint Recipes to Enhance Your Meals

An ancient herb, mint has been used in recipes since neolithic times. Unlike other herbs, mint is just as good fresh as it is dried, able to be used in a wide variety of beverages and cuisines.

Mint grows easily and abundantly, two years ago I purchased a mint plant from my local grocery store, I forgot to take the herb indoors during the winter months but the next year it grew just as vigorously as it did the year before – with little to no effort on my part, except of course water and sunlight as most herbs need.

1. Mint Sauce  – this delicious sauce is quick and easy to make, tastes great with roasted potatoes, buttered vegetables or meats especially roasted lamb.

Grab a bushel of mint leaves and finely chop them. Add 1 tsp of sugar, a pinch of salt, 3 tbsps wine vinegar and 3 tbs of boiling water. Dissolve the sugar and salt in the vinegar, add the mint to a small bowl, pour the boiling water over the mint and stir in the vinegar mix. Let cool then serve with a dish – this sauce needs to be eaten immediately after it cools, I wouldn’t keep for longer than a few hours and definitely not overnight.

2. Mint Butter – extremely tasty for baked potatoes, boiled potatoes or steamed veggies

Take 4 oz of butter (room temperature), 1 finely chopped small clove of garlic, a bushel of mint leaves – be sure to finely chop them, 1 tbsp of lemon juice and salt and black pepper. Mash the butter first with a fork then add the rest of your ingredients and mix them together well. Shape the mint butter into a roll and wrap in foil. It should hold up nicely in the fridge for about a week or serve immediately!

3. Mint Vinegar – makes a great salad dressing or for marinades

Younger mint leaves are preferably. Using about a teacup size of mint leaves, loosely packed, wash the mint and discard the stalks. Pat dry and put leaves into a a clean bottle with a screw on cap or lid. Heat either white wine or cider vinegar in a pot without boiling it. About 1 1/2 cups works well. Pour it into the bottle containing the mint, allow it to fully cover the mint. Before resealing, allow the mixture to cool. Allow the vinegar to infuse with the mint for about 1 – 2 weeks. Strain your mint vinegar into a new bottle, add a little lemon juice, shake well and serve with a fresh salad!




Top 2017 Furniture and Decor Trends Making a Comeback

We are only a few months away from the New Year so let’s talk about the top furniture designs we’ve seen making a comeback in 2017 that will flow into the upcoming year,


The Mary Velvet Sofa Set

Originating in the Far East, this royal fabric was primarily worn by the wealthier class and later made its way to interior design in decor and furniture. In the 1930s, velvet became the premier choice upholstery shown in Hollywood films. It is soft, smooth, luxurious and fit for a Queen.

Animal Prints and Faux Fur

The Charlotte Velvet Sofa Set

Animal skin and fur has been used across the globe for centuries – today the need to use real animal skins and fur isn’t necessary but the beauty of the natural patterns and the softness of the fur can be imitated. Elegant and regal, animal print and faux fur adds a touch of the wild to your interior design.

Bright Jewel-Toned Colors

The Filo Sofa

A love for the good life is what’s bringing these eye catching colors like emerald green, sapphire blue, platinum silver and pearly pink back into style. They can revive an entire room and are bold, attention grabbers when applied to one or two furnishings. A wonderfully glamorous and vibrant celebration of life.




November 3rd, 2017 by Alexandra Christina

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Outdoor Activities and Games for Children to Love Nature

With all the technology and stimulus out there from television and movies to cell phones and computer games, it can be challenging to get children excited about the outdoors and in nature – let alone, even get them outside to give it a try.

In combination with the book I’m reading called Sharing the Joys of Nature by Joseph Cornell, my own experiences as a nanny caring for children and being a nature enthusiast, I have come up with some fun outdoor activities that hopefully inspire your children and you to spend some time connecting with nature and enjoying all it has to offer.

Animal Parts:

Based on my research, getting them moving around in nature is a good first step that builds enthusiasm and gets their blood flowing shooting off “feel good” chemicals in their brains! For example, if you have just one or two children, have them choose an animal and then act out that animal. They can crawl around on all fours like a spider, howl at the sky like a wolf, rawr like a ferocious lion or do the crab walk. If you are working with multiple children, you can have them each take on a different part of the animal and work as a team – for example in Cornells book, the children participating chose to be a scorpion and they all came together to make one giant scorpion. Their excitement built and they felt connected to nature by becoming nature.

Scavenger Hunt:

Working as a nanny, I had the two children (one 3 years old and the other 7 years old) go on a scavenger hunt. We went into their spacious front and backyard to look for the items I selected. Obviously, you can plan this out a bit more and be in an environment like the woods or a park where there may be more natural items to work with. You can make a written or picture list beforehand.

Some things you can have the children look for are: Flowers, rocks that are not brown or tan, feathers, a leaf that is larger than their hand – give broad items but make it a little challenging with some specifics so they can actually move around and explore their surroundings.

It helps to be sure to scout the area yourself first for some of the items on your list, for any poisonous plants like poison ivy and use a stick to rustle around in bushes or plants to make sure there aren’t possibly dangerous creatures like snakes lurking around.

Identifying and Learning About Nature:

Once the children have collected their items, if you know a little about plants, minerals, rocks, birds or flowers – you can teach them about the different things they collected. Bring a reference book with you or maybe you and the children can look it up together when you get home. This opens the door for both of you to learn more about nature.

These are a few planned ideas to get children enjoying nature but it can be even simpler than that. Here are some examples that have worked for me:

  • Climbing trees
  • Building a fort out of branches and foliage
  • Having the children collect the wood and allowing them to watch you build a fire (always mentioning safety and precaution)
  • Taking them on a hike or nature walk to a destination where they can go swimming in a quarry or lake
  • Bringing them to a butterfly garden or nature preservation where animals and insects can roam freely in a natural environment

I have found one of the most important parts of children enjoying nature are when you – the facilitator, the parent or the guardian enjoys and interacts in nature with them. If you are excited, engaged and participate with them, there is a much better chance of the experience being a success!



HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Halloween Checklist Essentials

HALLOWEEN has finally arrived! Tonight is the night!

Halloween checklist:

Turn on your porch lights or make sure those decorations are glowing

Make sure you’ve stocked up on plenty of candy for the trick-0-treaters

Get your costume on by at least 3PM – most of the little ones are done going door to door by the time the sun goes down –  if you can or if you didn’t prepare a costume, at least throw on a witch hat or some face paint to get into the Halloween spirit

Be safe! Get an uber, hire a designated driver and bring a buddy with you if you plan to be partying (with drinks!) that night at a party or other event- Halloween night is definitely one of the top nights for police officers to arrest people for driving while intoxicated – more importantly, you don’t want to put yourself or others in danger by driving under the influence and you want to be safe when it comes to well-being.

If you plan on staying in for the night, there are a ton of Halloween movies on TV you could watch or rent a couple for the night – some great picks: if you like suspense or psychological thrillers, anything by Alfred Hitchcock, he had a TV series called Alfred Hitchcock Presents – a great episode is called “Breakdown,” suggested films Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds. If you prefer cult classics and surrealism, David Lynch has some excellent films such as Blue Velvet, the director Lars Von Trier  has some psychosexual horror films such as Nymphomanic and Anti Christ-  if you like serial killer films, try Gacy, Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, Halloween, Scream, Friday the 13th, Chuckie etc.

Some splatter film also called gore film – some suggested films – HellBound: Hellraiser II, Night of the Living Dead, The Devils Rejects, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Some great crime horror films include Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, American Psycho.   You can always go for the classics too – Nosferatu, The Exorcist, Poltergeist, Carrie. There are a ton of horror genres and films – I suggest exploring what’s out there!

I hope my Halloween Countdown blog posts this month gave you some good ideas to make your Halloween extra spectacular this year! Have a chilling and thrilling Halloween!

1 Day Halloween Countdown: Last Minute Halloween Party Ideas

1 Day until Halloween countdown-

So Halloween is tomorrow and you are throwing a killer party – you’ve got the creepy decorations, the games picked out, the scrumptious food prepared, the bar is stocked, the playlist is ready to go and you’ve already done a trial run on your costume for the night – but even the most amazing Halloween party in the history of parties EVER could use a little extra spark to it but time is factor so you have to think quick!

Here are a few last minute Halloween party ideas to enhance the event:

Awards – Create little awards like trophies or certificates to give out and announce at the end of the night, have an award ceremony – select yourself and a small panel of judges, like 2 or 3 of your close friends, some award ideas like sexiest costume, best face paint, most clever costume, funniest costume – just to name a few examples. It will make your guests feel good plus it will be fun and entertaining!

Party Paint Canvas – Get a large sheet of canvas paper or large canvas from a local craft store and some cheap brushes and paint supplies and invite your guests to add something to it throughout the night – its a great way of bringing everyone together at the event, allows your guests to express themselves creatively and you have an awesome souvenir at the end of the night to remember your epic party from!

Live Instruments or a karaoke machine – You may already have musical instruments or maybe you have some musician friends who are coming to the event? If not, you can always rent instruments or a karaoke machine for the night – although you made an amazing playlist or hired a DJ for the event, there is nothing that can quite imitate the experience of live instruments, whether you are playing the guitar or using your singing voice. This gives your guests another opportunity to express themselves creatively and welcomes them to engage with one another in a fun and productive way!


Stage a spooky scenario – It is Halloween night after all! You and a few friends you choose to be on the inside of the prank can come up with a fun way to scare your guests, maybe in the middle of the party you have a “power outage” or a friend “goes missing” – don’t keep up the charade for too long you don’t want your guests to be fearful the whole night and you certainly don’t want them to have an unpleasant time – this definitely takes an imaginative and creative host to pull off well!

Have a bonfire – Borrow, rent or buy a firepit or make one in your backyard. A fire goes a long way especially on chilly October nights and will give guests a reason to go outside and mingle around it. Maybe have them each write down on a piece of paper something that frightens them, they are fearful of, having trouble letting go of or that has been weighing heavy on their minds. Invite them to throw it into the fire as a symbolic way of burning it away. If you don’t think this would go over well with guests, tell ghost and horror stories around the fire instead. Another great way to bring guests together and get them in the Halloween spirit.



5 Days Until Halloween: Funny Puking Pumpkin Chips & Dip Recipe

5 Days until Halloween countdown –

You can use your carved pumpkins this Halloween as a funny and creepy decoration to add to a yummy chips and dip recipe –

First start with the pumpkin carving –  you’ll want to pick up a mini pumpkin, it shouldn’t be too hard to find especially during this time of year, you might even be able to find them at your local supermarket.

Using a sharp knife, cut a circle around the top of the pumpkin stem, make it like a lid so it can easily be taken off and put back on. Use a fork to remove the pumpkin seeds or as I like to call them pumpkin guts, a suitably name for this dish! Using a pencil trace two eyes and a mouth on one side of the pumpkin – you’ll want to make the eyes like two triangles with the point of the triangle pointing towards the center, trace the mouth like an horizontal oval – use the photo provided for reference. Carefully use your knife to cut along the outlines you made. Pop the shapes out and in a few easy steps you have your mini pumpkin decoration.



Next you’ll want to make your avocado and artichoke dip.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 avocados (chopped)
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts (drained and chopped)
  • 1/2 jar of roasted red peppers (drained and diced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 sweet onion (chopped)
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, Himalayan pink salt, lemon pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan, add your onions and cook them on medium low heat until they are a golden brown color. Set them aside and allow them to cool.

Add your avocados and lime juice to a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add the roasted red peppers, the artichoke hearts and your spices to the mashed avocado mixture. Remember when it comes to spices, the amount you use is really a matter of preference, start out with the least amount you would like to use, it can be difficult to neutralize a spice then it is too add a little more of it, then do a few taste tests to determine what it needs more of. Mix all of your ingredients together with a wooden mixing spoon.

Grab a bag of blue corn tortilla or chia chips -the dark color chips nicely complements the light to lime green color of the dip.

Spread your chips on the serving chair and add your mini pumpkin, make the dip look like its coming out of the pumpkins mouth for it to become a puking pumpkin creation!



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