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Spicy Pickled Carrots – A How-to!

30 Jun

I haven’t pickled anything since last summer when I went over to a friend’s house, and a group of us had an afternoon of pickling and preserving. Before that I hadn’t pickled anything, well…, ever. We made pickles, dilly beans, spicy carrots, and a blueberry jam (which never quite set up but was great on pancakes). These were our creations, minus the blueberry syrupy/jammy whatever-it-was.

Pickled Carrots!

So this weekend, almost a year later, I decided to take on some spicy carrot pickles all by myself. They turned out pretty well! I haven’t tasted them in their final stage yet because they need a few days to marinate, but I’m really hopeful. The best part was that they were incredibly fast and easy to make. So here’s a how-to in case you’re interested in making them for yourself.

Spicy Pickled Carrots: a how to

Actually, before I start, let me tell you one thing: if you ever want to feel what it might be like to have non-functioning lungs, try chopping some jalapenos then boiling some vinegar. Then you’ll know what that feels like.

So now that that has been said, here we go:

All you need is 3 1- pint jars, 2 pounds of carrots (the big bag, if you buy your carrots from the grocery store), about 4 cloves of garlic, 1 jalapeno, 4 cups of distilled white vinegar, 1 cup of sugar, and 3 tablespoons of salt.

Spicy Carrot Pickles How-to

First you peel the carrots. It’s a lot of carrots to peel, but it’s worth it. Don’t judge me by how clean my sink is, but rather, judge me for how fast my hands are moving and my cool and retro yellow colander.

Spicy Carrot Pickles How-to
Then you cut the carrots into sticks about the size of your little finger. That’s a lot of carrots to cut.

Spicy Carrot Pickles How-to

Slice up the garlic and jalapenos. This is the part where your husband starts to complain about how spicy things smell and how they’re “bothering his nose.” Just ignore him; he is not as tough as you when it comes to the kitchen.

Spicy Carrot Pickles How-to

Next, you take three pint jars and put the garlic and jalapenos in the bottom (divide them up evenly, or you can experiment with different amounts of spice between the jars if you’re not sure what you’re up for in the heat department). If you like things super spicy, add an extra jalapeno or some crushed red pepper flakes.  Add the carrot sticks to the jars, making sure they’re short enough to leave about 1” of room at the top. Note: Make sure your pint jars are very clean; I had my assistant who is also my webmaster who is also my lawyer who is also my husband wash them for me while I chopped the veggies.

Spicy Carrot Pickles How-to

Boil your vinegar on the stove in a non-reactive pot (stainless steel, glass, and enamel are fine; aluminum, copper and cast-iron are not fine). Try not to breathe. Add the sugar and salt when the vinegar is boiling, then stir to dissolve.

Spicy Carrot Pickles How-to

Once the vinegar/sugar/salt solution was all dissolved, I let the brine sit off of the heat for a few minutes so it wasn’t super duper hot, then I poured it over the carrot jars with the help of a ladle. Make sure you have liquid about 1/2” over the top of the carrots, and that you then leave about 1/2” of space between the top of the liquid and the top of the jar. Then, cap those jars and you’re DONE. That’s it. I said it was easy!

Spicy Carrot Pickles How-to

These will be ready to eat in about a day, and will keep in the refrigerator for about a month. Keep in mind this is cold-packing and not preserving. So you can’t put these in the pantry and expect to pull them out for Thanksgiving, know what I mean? That would make your mouth pucker for an entirely different, really unpleasant reason.

Spicy Carrot Pickles How-to

Let me know if you make these or if you have any other good pickling recipes. I’m a sucker for vinegary things, so I’d love to hear about it!


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


Chic Soup: Andy Warhol for Campbell’s Soup!

4 Sep

You read that right.



For a limited time (which commenced on September 2nd), you can get Campbell’s Tomato Soup cans, with Andy Warhol’s iconic colorful style plastered to the label, at Target! For $0.75! I may have sent my husband in to get three of each yesterday. Ok…ok…not three of each. Um, four of each.

If you’re as excited as I am, you’d better hurry! There are only 1.2 million of them…and I have 16.


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

100 Things for Lunch!

24 May

This was a huge hit the other day.



A counting placemat + a bunch of finger foods + a picky-ish, bored-easily kiddo = lunch!  Laminated school supplies look great on granite, right?

In the spirit of full disclosure, we did swap out the usually-preferred almonds for some bacon. And we added some extra peas.

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Easter Eggs: 7 Ways!

4 Apr

If you have kids, or if you like crafting, it’s likely that you’re going to dye eggs this week at some point. That is, if you didn’t already do it last weekend (I did). Here are seven ways to dye your eggs that go beyond the typical methods. Some are complicated, some aren’t. But they’re all neat too look at and fun to make! Enjoy!

1.) These Neon Dip-Dyed Eggs from Oh Joy are mod, colorful, and look incredibly easy to make!

Neon Dip-Dye (image via Oh Joy)


2.) I made some of these Silk-Dyed Eggs (aka Tie-Dyed Eggs) from Our Best Bites this past weekend. Many thanks to my friend’s husband for sacrificing one of his silk ties for our crafting enjoyment.  

Silk Tie-Dyed Eggs (image via Our Best Bites)


3.) You’ve probably seen this image floating around the web, especially if you belong to Pinterest. Make your own Natural-Dyed Eggs via Two Men And A  Little Farm.

Natural Dyed Eggs (image via Two Men and a Little Farm)


4.) These Chocolate Surprise Eggs from Martha Stewart are not just edible – they’re DELICIOUS! A bit more work than dunking orbs in dye, but why would you expect anything less than “a little bit labor intensive” from Martha?

Chocolate Eggs (image via Martha Stewart)


5.) Thought I’m still not 100% sure how you make these, the Chap Stick Eggs from Oh Joy are stunning and perfectly imperfect. Give it a try!

Chap Stick Eggs (image via Oh Joy)


6.) These Graphic Eggs from Martha Stewart stole my heart: vibrant, typographic, and shockingly easy!

Graphic Eggs


7.) Last but certainly not least in this round-up are Kool-Aid Eggs from Hey Jen Renee.  I can’t say that I ever would have thought of this, but the results are stunning! I wonder if it works with Jell-o?

Kool Aid Eggs (image via Hey Jen Renee)

So there you have it: seven dazzling ways to decorate your eggs this Easter. I can’t wait to try them! What’s your favorite way to dye Easter Eggs? And do you have any other ways to share?

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Color Friday is: Celadon!

2 Mar

Call it what you like: mint green, sea foam, or celadon. It’s that light airy blue/green/yellow shade that is calming in the winter, cooling in the summer, and gorgeous all year round (perfect for this crazy weather we’ve been having!). I like to pair it with crisp white, a creamy rich taupe, or mix things up by sprinkling it among various blues and greens. Here are a few of my favorite celadon picks right now; they’ll be right at home amongst your whites, taupes and blues alike! Enjoy them!

Clockwise from pendant at top: Opaque Celadon Pendant by Omer Arbel, $2235 (image via Lightopia); Vanuatu Twilight Wallpaper from Anthropologie, $198/roll (image via Anthropologie); Celadon Links Pillow by DL Rhein, $70 (image via Horchow); Celadon Breadstick Tray from Sifnos Stoneware, 15EUR (image via Sifnos Stoneware); Danish Neoclassical Style Pale Celadon and Gilt Mirror from Epoca, San Francisco, via First Dibs, price on request (image via First Dibs); Wegner Wishbone Chair from Design Within Reach (currently unavailable), (image via DWR); Celadon Crocodile Side Table from Gore Dean, $525 (image via GoreDean); Contessa Jade Necklace from Stella & Dot, $118 (image via Stella & Dot); Elysian print from Z Gallerie by Karen Dupre, $449 (image via Z Gallerie); Rae Celadon Porcelain Lamp by Arteriors Home, $645 (image via Arteriors)


Have a great weekend! Hopefully you’ll be spending some of it outdoors!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Beautiful Bars.

9 Jan

When I was a kid, just about the coolest thing you could have in your house was a finished basement with a wet bar. A wet bar! Picture it: a little corner with dark wood, a mini fridge full of Dr. Pepper, creepy under-cabinet lighting interspersed between those racks that hold wine glasses upside-down, maybe some old signs or salvaged stained glass somewhere, and somewhere beyond this groovy set up was the rest of the room, where there was likely a sofa clad in plaid upholstery.

So. Yeah.

Flash forward about fifteen or twenty years and the coolest bar you can imagine probably looks very different. My ideal bar isn’t fancy, nor does it require a sink or any counters. It’s comprised of a simple table (or tables, or cart), a few (and I mean just a few) carefully chosen and well-placed decorative objects, and the essentials: glasses, plates, bottles… you get the idea. Below are some beautifully simple bar images that could exist in the middle of a palatial parlor just as well as they’d take up residence in a tiny studio apartment. They’re all 100% attainable and will cost you very little money (well, less liquor expenses) and about eight square feet. Like the inspiration images? Get hunting for your perfect table, and start arranging your bar!

I adore this set-up. A few bottles, a gorgeous painting, and a vintage bar cart that was purchased at auction for just $150! Check out Design Sponge’s write-up on Naomi Stein of Design Manifest’s house tour for more.

(image via Design Sponge)

This image is from Society Social, a vendor selling the chicest, cutest, most amazing bar carts out there. This one is the Sedgewick. Check them out!

(image via Society Social)

When left without a devoted bar cart, fear not: just pile it all on a table (turn the table 90 degrees if necessary to switch up the angles and create a better serving area). Love this one from Lonny!

(image via Lonny)

This one just takes the cake for me: a little Palm Beach chic, a little “Mad Men,” a little urban, and a lot awesome. From Styled Creative. They’re an event design and styling studio located in Philly. Hmm…I think I recognize that cart…

(image via Styled Creative)

Ok ok…here’s another from Styled Creative‘s online portfolio. Masculine, sleek, and beautiful. Wow. (Love that Knob Creek). 

(image via Styled Creative)

I suppose I should say sorry to all you parents with little curious ones. The cute cart or acrylic table set-up won’t quite cut it for you. But never fear: here’s a wall-mounted great idea that can be modified to be accessible to adults only! It’s via The Kitchn.

(image via The Kitchn)

And there you have it: all the drinking inspiration you need for a dreary Monday. Have a great week!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Beautiful Breakfast Nooks, and a Winner!

4 Jan

Nothing starts your day right like a good breakfast in a beautiful setting. We can’t all wake up and eat gorgeous fruits and pastries on a balcony somewhere in Southern Italy, but we can try to emulate our favorite elements of some inspiring dining spaces. Here are a few of my favorites, each featuring black and white as the crux of the color scheme.

A quirky, almost-monotone look that incorporates the much loved "letter" look! Get your own wall letter from Etsy Seller OldNewAgain, and score your own fawn in the form of a pillow from Areaware! ...and that gorgeous lamp? Almost a perfect match with Arteriors' Hagen Pendant! (L image via, R image via Etsy)


The breakfast nook of Sacha Dunn and Edmund Levine from Country Living. Love the teal-ish cabinet? Paint your own, and see how to here.  (image via Country Living)


A chic black and white chevron! Start your own similar space with these plates from Missoni and bowls from Crate and Barrel! (design by Mary McDonald via Veranda)


On a completely different note, the WINNER from the magazine giveaway is #5 – Ashley Dior! Congratulations! I’ll be contacting you to confirm your magazine choice and to get your address.

Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


Five Under $50: Hand Soaps That Don’t Stink!

18 Nov

Hand soap is one of those things that you don’t usually think about until you need to. Which is fine. Except for when it backfires. I’m sure everyone has experienced buying a really nice looking, expensive-ish soap and having it smell less than desirable…or reek as strongly as perfume…or be heavily mentholated (this happened to me). Or you’ve bought a really basic looking, inoffensive-seeming cheap or normal priced soap that ends up smelling like your elementary school bathroom soap. Or you’ve found a soap that you like just fine, but it’s ugly. Personally, I don’t have built-in soap dispensers in my house and I prefer to put the actual soap container out on the counter as opposed to a glass or ceramic vessel. So to me, the branding and appearance of the packaging matters because I’m always looking at it.

Below are five soaps under $50 that will last you a long time, smell great, and not hit you in the face with jasmine or pumpkin spice every time you raise your fork-wielding hand to your mouth. (We’ve all experienced that, right — that “I can’t get this off my hands, help me!” soap?).

Enjoy, and happy smelling!

1.) MOR Honey Nectar Hand and Body Wash, $16 available at Nordstrom (image via Nordstrom); 2.) CO Bigelow Handwash in Clementine, $12 (image via Bath and Body Works); 3.) Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap in "flavors" such as Basil, Geranium, Honeysuckle and Lavender. About $5 at various drugstore and (image via Mrs. Meyer's) ; 4.) Williams-Sonoma Hand Soap in Pink Grapefruit, $40 for lotion and soap set (image via Williams-Sonoma); 5.) Nest Liquid Soap, available a tNeiman Marcus for $22 each in "flavors" like Bamboo and Wasabi Pear (image via Neiman Marcus)

Another soap tip I like a lot is that when your container is halfway done, you can often fill it back up a bit with water. More than half and it tends to splatter when you pump it, but these soaps are often so concentrated that you can absolutely dilute them without decreasing suds or scent.  And finally, in the kitchen you’re likely to need an anti-bacterial soap. It’s always prudent to have a REAL dish soap here — Dawn, Pamolive, etc… — but if you want a scented anti-bacterial for your hands, too, I love Bath and Body Works’ Kitchen Lemon, White Citrus, and Pink Grapefruit for their clean and fresh kitchen scents (and their excellent price point…often 4 for $10).

What’s your go-to hand soap?

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Find of the Week! Le Creuset Does “Aubergine”

27 Sep

Le Creuset is synonymous with “serious cooking.”  If you’re working with heavy, expensive, gorgeous cast iron like this then chances are that you’re a seasoned home cook. Le Creuset’s iconic cookware is skillfully crafted cast iron coated in a vibrant porcelain enamel glaze. The French company releases coveted new colors only every once in a while; this season it’s the bold, striking Aubergine color — perfect for Fall!

Le Creuset's Aubergine Dutch Oven (image via Le Creuset)

Of course, the cookware is available in other classic colors like Cherry, Cobalt. Ocean and Linen.

…and finally, some fun Le Creuset trivia for you: their best selling color is the red-orange “Flame,” which was their first color ever produced in 1925. What a way to perpetuate tradition!

Heritage 1 1/2 QT. Pate Terrine (image via Le Creuset)


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Gorgeous Open Shelving in the Kitchen!

22 Jun

Sometimes the smallest, least invasive things can make the biggest difference…like removing the doors from your kitchen cabinets.  This works for those of us who have the perfect eclectic set of all white dishes, as well as those of us who have just plain “eclectic” pieces (red, yellow, checkered, some from college, some from your wedding registry…). Take a look at these kitchen display successes:

All white and stunningly simple. (image via Country Living)

A quirky but lovely industrial set-up. (image via Design Sponge)

I love the textures in this image! It's definitely a fancier kitchen space, but if you have the room you may as well flaunt it! (image via NewlywedDiaries)

What a cute idea for a plain wall! (image via

Just a few simple shelves placed above the sink work wonders in this space. (image via Beautiful Kitchens UK)

Clean whites and vibrant cookbooks -- gorgeous! (image via theKitchn)

Love these openly displayed brights! (image via Apartment Therapy)

I think the real key to success is controlling the mess: if you have to store your blender and mismatched pot lids in the open shelving, then perhaps it’s best to keep the open portions limited to just dishes. No one says you have to remove all of your doors, and knowing when to edit is one of the keys to successful design. 

Do you have any open shelving? Are you brave enough to try it?

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.