Super Bowl Sunday LIII

The Super Bowl is today, and you’re going to be hungry. When you watch a Super Bowl, there’s nothing like sitting down with an amazing spread to gorge on during the game.  With food that will make the weeks of planning worth it when the Patriots face the Rams today!

I’m guessing you’re going to be eating at some point during the game, if not the entire night. Remember, for many people, the Big Game is more like the Big Gulp — a wintertime Thanksgiving for football fans, their friends and, best of all, the people who pretend to be both. So what better way to prepare for Super Sunday than by sizing up some of the most popular game-day snacks?

 

Tired of the same old wings recipe? Kick it up a notch with Maple Mustard Chicken wings which are sweet and spicy and go down great with your favorite beer!

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken wings, separated into drumettes and midsections (or flats), wing tips discarded
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • Vegetable oil, for oiling the grill
  1. Combine the salt, pepper, and cayenne in a large container with a tight fitting lid or a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and toss with your hands until evenly coated. Close the container and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, place the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small, nonreactive bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill to medium high (about 375°F to 425°F). When the grill is ready, use tongs to rub the grate with several layers of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil. Place the wings on the grate in a single layer so they are not touching (if needed, cook them in batches). Cover the grill and cook, flipping the wings occasionally with tongs, until the skin is opaque and no longer raw-looking, about 10 minutes. Brush all over with the reserved maple-mustard sauce and continue to cook, flipping and basting occasionally, until the wings are golden brown, no longer pink at the bone, and the skin is crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes more.

These slightly sweet and spicy wings are easy to eat with your fingers and go great with beer. The glaze, made from common ingredients, is a snap to throw together. Have lots of napkins on hand for sticky fingers.

Mini Wonton Tacos

Serves 24
Meat
1 lb 80% lean ground beef, lean
3/4 cup Pace chunky salsa, Mild
1 package Taco seasoning mix
24 Wonton wrappers
1 cup Mexican blend cheese
1/4 cup Sour cream
Heat the oven to 425°F.  Press the wonton wrappers into 24 (1 1/2-inch) mini muffin-pan cups.
Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until well browned, stirring often to separate meat. Pour off any fat. Stir in the taco seasoning mix and 1/4 cup salsa.
Spoon the beef mixture into the wonton cups. Top with the remaining salsa and the cheese.
Bake for 5 minutes or until the wontons are golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Top with the sour cream, if desired.

Chips and dip are an easy go-to snack for tailgating, but what about a cheesy pimento dip and crackers instead? This is a recipe for a mild pepper cheese dip with herbs that is a little more interesting than the usual.
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned chipotle’s
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces pepper jack, grated
  • 4 ounces pimentos, jarred or fresh
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped

Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, adobo sauce, and black pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix it until totally combined (if you have a few lumps from the cream cheese, no problem; you won’t see them later!)

Jalapeno Poppers

To make this amazing DIY bar snack recipe, begin by splitting open fresh jalapeño peppers and scraping out the seeds and veins. Separately, mix cream cheese, cooked Mexican chorizo, canned chipotle chiles, and salt and pepper to form a smooth mixture. Fill the jalapeños, then broil until hot and blistered. Serve at once, with plenty of cold beer or soft drinks.

  • 12 jalapeño peppers
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup minced, cooked Mexican chorizo
  • 1 teaspoon minced canned chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Set the oven to broil and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Lay a jalapeño on your work surface so that it sits flat without rolling. Make two cuts forming a “T” by first slicing down the middle of the chile lengthwise from stem to tip, then making a second cut perpendicular to the first about 1/4 inch from the stem, slicing only halfway through the chile (be careful not to cut off the stem end completely). Carefully open the flaps to expose the interior of the chile, and, using a butter knife or small measuring spoon, scrape the inside to remove the seeds and ribs. Repeat with the remaining peppers; set aside.
  3. Place the cream cheese, chorizo, chipotles, and salt in a medium bowl, season with freshly ground black pepper, and mix until smooth and evenly combined. Transfer the mixture to a quart-size resealable plastic bag, cut one bottom corner off to make a 3/4-inch-wide opening, and squeeze the mixture into the chiles until just filled (be careful not to overfill). Insert a toothpick widthwise through each chile to secure the flaps and filling. Place the filled chiles on the prepared baking sheet in two evenly spaced rows of six.
  4. Broil for 4 minutes, rotate the pan, and continue to broil until the peppers are starting to char and the filling is browned and bubbly, about 4 minutes more. Remove from the oven, and remove the toothpicks if desired. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Get your game face on!! Bon Appetit!

Sweetly,

Michele

Organizational Tips For Your Home, Declutter For 2019

What’s the secret to keeping a clean and clutter-free home? Well, the secret is there isn’t one! It’s being intentional every day. Cleaning up messes before they get out of hand, following through with routines, and putting a few simple systems into place will definitely help.

Start your day with a routine:

About 20 minutes is all it takes to really get the ball rolling. I make my bed, start a load of laundry, unload and reload the dishwasher, wipe down the bathroom counters after I finish get ready, and then do a quick pick up of our living space because we live in our home! Dogs, cats two girls and my wonderful husband.

Just like your morning routine is the perfect way to start your day, your evening routine will help you set yourself up for success the next day.

Only do the absolute necessary things. These include cleaning up the dinner dishes and setting the dishwasher to run overnight, finishing the load of laundry I started by drying, folding, and putting it ALL away, completing a quick pick up of your home, and making a short to-do list for the next day.

I’ve found that if I do nothing else throughout the except completing my morning and evening routines, my home stays clean and clutter-free.

Have a Cleaning Routine:

Instead of having a specific day each week to clean the entire house or having specific chores assigned to different days of the week, do something completely different. Have a list of 5 tasks to complete throughout the week. As you have time, check a task off  your list. Some weeks this means getting everything done in one day. Other weeks you may sporadically clean the house throughout the week. But that’s okay. It’s all getting done eventually and your home stays cleaner because of it.

The tasks to try to complete each week include dusting (you can actually do this every other week), vacuuming, mopping the floors, scrubbing the bathrooms, and changing the sheets on all the beds.

One other thing that has made cleaning a home much easier is simply de-cluttering. When you have less to clean and less to clean around, this task takes much less time. Removing the furniture and decor  or chatchka you didn’t really need or love makes such a difference. So dusting that took an hour is now a 10 minute chore.

Meal Prep!

You might be wondering how meal planning can help you home stay clean and clutter-free. But hear me out! If you are consistently meal planning, then you should always know whats for dinner each night. So instead of feeling frazzled and crazy trying to get something on the table, you will know exactly what to prepare.

Sometimes we don’t realize how stress and anxiety affects us until we step back and make changes. If you are putting all of your energy into trying to scrap together a meal at 6pm at night, you will be less likely to clean up the dishes or finish that evening routine.

Here’s hoping this will help you stay organized and stress free in 2019!  See you shortly at the Times Union Home Expo!

Stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

Sweetly,

Michele Conti

 

Inspiring Color In Your Home

Color sets the mood for a home’s interior and conveys how you want the space to feel. You have only one chance to make a first impression. So it’s important that the entry to your house is welcoming to guests, reflects your personal style and makes you feel happy and comfortable as soon as you walk through the door. This space sets the tone for the rest of your home. What ever your style let it reflect who you are.

In most apartments, the entry space is small, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a big statement. This home is bold and chic right from the entryway. A Jackson Pollack-like wall-covering, plush stools, a statement mirror and a geometric rug welcome guests and let them know they are entering a stylish home.

 

If you need help a good painter  CertaPro Painters will be at the Home Expo, stop at booth 145. Talk to Terri or Anna and let them help inspire you with a fresh coat of paint in your home!

 

Stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

Sweetly,

Michele Conti

2019 Design Trends

Design trends for 2019 start with Colors; Pantone’s pick is Living Coral, but homeowners are choosing darker and moodier colors, such as navy and forest green, in the new year. 2019 is taking a more mindful, lifestyle-based approach to the development of new shades. While nature is a common inspiration for home décor, in 2019 we will see a shift from over-sized botanicals to the woodlands, with mushroom grays and fern-inspired colors. Mushrooms will also continue to be a key shape in the home. Their earthy color–gray blended with warm brown–gives off an old world, naturalist feel.

 

Kitchen Trends; Home design professionals expect to see more full-height backs-plashes that seamlessly stretch from the counter to the ceiling. Behind floating shelves and range hoods, for a clean and cohesive look. This dramatic statement can create the illusion of additional surface area.

Destination Tubs:

Bubble bath fans, rejoice. As bathrooms shift from private, utilitarian spaces to open, spa-like environments, homeowners are focused on the accoutrements, including free-standing tubs.

A resurgence of unpainted wooden vanities in 2018, will only be amplified in 2019, with a turn toward reclaimed and light wood. Visible grain and knots can add texture and visual interest to a space and work well in crisp, clean white bathrooms.

 

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

 

Michele Conti

Designs by Michele Conti

Time For A Manly Remodel…

When you’re a guy with a family, you sometimes begin to wonder where, exactly, in the house your space lies. The kitchen and bathrooms are your wife’s domain, as is the bedroom (since she long ago made you remove your sports memorabilia from the walls). The kids have their rooms, and you’ve noticed that they’ve also taken over the living room, since their toys are all over and animated movies play on a nonstop loop 24 hours a day.


For your next remodeling project, you’ve decided to transform the basement into a space that will finally be yours “a man cave”. Not only that, but just in time for the big game, you’re going to up the ante and create an ultimate man cave with large TV. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to making your dream a reality, let these few tips inspire you as you envision your sports-watching paradise.The first thing you need to decide is this: will the entire space be a dedicated man cave home theater, or do you want to have separate areas for watching the big-screen, having a drink, and shooting pool? Prioritize your wants and needs and plan out your space accordingly.
Man cave doesn’t mean cold and dark! Plan and remodel carefully, in order to make sure you’ve sealed leaks and dried everything up before putting in walls or flooring. At the Home Expo All Dry Basement will be at booth#109, they have helped hundreds of people get started with basement renovations, whether its a sump pump or complete waterproofing system. They are ready to make your renovation worry free.

When it comes to the floor, look for comfortable flooring options that will look great while keeping your feet warm. Lighting is also key because basements don’t usually have windows that allow in natural light from the outside, plan for lots of lamps or a finished ceiling that features recessed lighting.


If you’d like to add a pool table, consider making the most of your space with a convertible pool-to-dining table. These feature a removable tabletop that can be set up quickly when you need to spread out snacks for the game or would like a place for a game of poker or blackjack. Because you won’t need an additional table, this leaves more room for your theater space.

 

While these tips are just enough to get you inspired, the options for your man cave are endless. With a newly remodeled man cave, you’ll truly feel like the king of your castle … or at least one part of it, anyways!

 

Stay tuned for more Adventures In Styleland…
XOXO

Michele Conti

Designs By Michele

We Paint Lives Not Houses – CertaPro Painters

Color experts keep an eye out for trends, traveling around the country and abroad, and taking cues from the arts, fashion, pop culture, and the automotive industry, among other areas. I’ve noticed if you ask five experts to forecast the hottest interior paint color for 2018, and you’ll get five different answers.

We all know that when it comes to putting a house up for sale, homeowners are always looking for ways to boost the value of their property. But, besides kitchen and bathroom updates, decluttering room by room and cleaning up the landscaping, one improvement that sellers often overlook is repainting. It turns out a fresh coat of paint in the right color can directly impact the sale of a home in terms of time on market and selling price. 

Hopefully I can help you avoid the “inspiration loop” fueled by HGTV, Pinterest and the hot design blog of the month, and guide you towards picking a hard-working color that can have a mass appeal.

Getting a sensational look in your home is easier than you may think. Contrasting colors can enhance the elegance and sophistication of neutrals and bring out rich undertones throughout your room. To achieve this try pairing understated neutrals with deep colors, like the perfect pairing of wine and food colors also have exquisite mixes. CertaPro Painters has been my go to when recommending a painter. Choosing colors is only half the job when painting, getting a good painter who will make your wall look like creamy cashmere, making every line crisp and clean is the other half of the “pairing”

 

Dark Grey is one of my favorites darker hues, I love to blend it with a soft white or pale green. Some of my favorites are; Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Grey or Peppercorn. For softer neutrals try Sherwin Williams Svelte Sage or a creamy white like Greek Villa. The contrast of light and dark will draw the eye, giving your home an elegant feel that whispers refinement.

Stop by booth#137, Talk with Terri, Tim or Anna…they can give you an free estimate for interior or exterior painting, I work closely with CertaPro and I’m available for free color consults, compliments of CertaPro! I believe life should be lived in color! Stop by Designs by Michele booth #323 let me know you are working with CertaPro, let me help you coloring your home!

 

XOXO

Michele Conti

Designs By Michele

The Case Of A Room With A View – 3M Window Film

In the heart of upstate NY is a beautiful home with breathtaking views, an absolutely stunning place! Built in the early 2000’s this home has million dollar views… but unfortunately the same windows that made this spectacular view brought along serious energy costs. The massive heat gain in the summer made it hard to keep cool. Just as concerning was the heat loss in the winter.

 

American Sun Control has several options to combat these problems the sunlight was causing. The home owners were considering shades, but the cost of maintenance, needing motorized units for the high windows plus repairs coupled with trying to clean the shades ended that thought.

Rob Bouchey explains that with the 3M Sun Control Window Film, the windows would reject heat, block glare and protect the beautiful view that was designed for this house and was the reason homeowners purchased this home.

With 2018 getting underway why not resolve to have a more energy efficient home this year? While your homes windows open your space to natural lighting, warmth and views of the outdoors there are also downsides. Unfortunately, these same windows open you up to high energy costs, heat buildup, excess glare and premature fading of interior furniture.

Implementing a high quality window film solution can improve the comfort and increase the energy efficiency of your windows and allow you to bask in the sunlight worry free.

 

American Sun Control is at the Times Union Home Expo on the first floor of the Albany Capital Center, in booth 125. Visit with Rob, he has all the 3M products available to review, make an appointment to install 3M products on your windows and enjoy the view…

See you soon, stay tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

XOXO

Michele Conti

Designs By Michele

 

Zoom Room – Tiny Home solutions…

As the tiny house movement rages on and rising rents in New York force people into tighter living situations, one piece of furniture is seeing a resurgence, the Murphy bed. The bed originated in the early 1900’s by William Lawrence Murphy. As legend goes, he wanted to court an opera singer and lived in a one room apartment in the city, the moral code at the time frowned on a woman to entering a mans bedroom. So Mr. Murphy invented a fold up bed that let him convert his bedroom into a parlor!

But as Murphy Beds continue to gain in popularity, especially with the imaginative ways they can be incorporated into a person’s home décor, a company light years ahead in the design, called Zoom Room has arrived at the Home Expo this year. Zoom-Room was founded in 2005 to bring the remarkable German-made electronic, remote controlled, retractable Murphy Bed to North America.  With innovative products like the zoom bed, they are committed to bringing great design, smarter space saving solutions and the highest level of service and satisfaction to their customers.

Located on the first level of the Albany Capital Center, in booth 134 you can witness for your self as the Zoom-Bed floats into the room with the push of a button.  Housed in an elegant cabinet, the Zoom-Bed allows you to utilize the space in front for a flat screen TV, bookshelves, art boxes, a painting or whatever you can imagine. . If you are short on space but are looking for big design, stop at Zoom-Room and see the flexibility that a murphy bed can bring to your space.

 

See you soon! Stay tuned for more Adventures In Styleland…

 

XOXO

 

Michele Conti

Benefits Everyone Can Agree On – Solar Energy

This is an incredibly exciting time for the solar industry as we continue to surpass major milestones. Last year, was the strongest year ever for the industry and they’ve celebrated over one million installations. With incentives, lower monthly energy bills and excellent financing options, powering your home with solar energy has never made more sense.  Hudson Solar is a New York–based, family-owned business serving upstate New York. They design and install systems for residential, commercial, agricultural and municipal/non-profit organizations.

With more reasons than ever to go solar here are a few that I thought were worth mentioning:

1, Solar is now the cheapest and most abundant energy resource in the world.

The average monthly price of solar PV modules decreased from 79¢ per peak watt in January 2017 to 52¢ per peak watt in June 2017.Lower solar panel costs contribute to a lower total cost and quicker return on investment (ROI) for solar power plants. In many states across America, and around the globe, solar power has become the cheapest source of new energy, giving electric utility companies and governments a huge reason to ditch coal and gas for a cleaner, renewable source (sunshine).

2.  Over a million solar systems have been installed in the U.S. alone.

In early 2016, the millionth solar system was installed in the U.S., notching a milestone that took 40 years for the photovoltaic industry to reach. However, the more notable story that came with this achievement is the forecasted timeline for the next million installations, which is expected to happen in the next two years. This comparison is a meaningful illustration of solar’s rapid pace as the fastest growing energy resource in the world.

3. Homeowners in the U.S, have achieved the breakeven point with solar in as short as three years.

The cost of solar has plummeted while the cost of grid electricity has continued to rise and the concept of the solar “break even point” has become more and more attractive. In 2017 most homeowners are seeing payback periods between five and eight ears and 20-year savings estimates upwards of $20,000. Some homeowners are seeing breakeven points as low as three and four years in states where utility prices are high like our home state of New York.

4. Airplanes can fly around the world while running entirely on solar energy.

Though many may be aware that solar energy can power trains, cars and even space stations, the skeptics were out when Bernard Piccard decided to fly a solar powered plane around the world with no additional power source than the sun. In early 2016 the Swiss pilot and professional explorer departed from Dhabi in an aircraft known as the Solar Impulse II making his much awaited worldwide return in July. The global flight offered numerous photo opportunities and made a statement around the world about the boundless potential of solar energy.

 

Overall these fun facts offer multiple angles on solar’s growth in the recent decade and the way it has become a legitimate competitor of fossil fuel resources in 2017. If your considering a solar system in the near future be sure to talk with Hudson Solar. They will be at the Times Union Home Expo this year located in the Albany Capital Center at 55 Eagle St. Albany NY, February 9-11, 2018. Their booth is located on the first floor booth 117. Look for the bright colors and smiling faces.

 

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

 

XOXO

Michele Conti

 

Stuck In Room Rut? Traditional to Transitional

I once heard a colleague say the power of injecting well placed contemporary accents into a design is like little shots of Botox around the house. You all know someone or maybe you have a room that is stuck in time. Like a museum it starts to somehow feel stale, as if someone set up a velvet cord across the area. It’s like you need to hit the REFRESH button!

Most of us will feel as if this is a massive task, we need to start over completely because they are just frozen in their interiors…Well, I think with just a few design short cuts you can freshen up your dated space and give your home that much needed facelift. The real beauty of mixing contemporary furnishings in with traditional ones is that your home can evolve as you do!

Tips and Tricks:

Pair Old with New – If your beautiful Harding dining room is stuck in the past, place a modern rug underneath and it will give a nod to your past and present.

Be A Rug Trader – Replace a traditional oriental with a rug that has a more modern pattern. This lattice pattern takes the room in a whole new direction. Transitional rugs often take a traditional pattern and blow up the scale.

Interior Colors – Trending still from warmer to cooler wall colors, use deeper tones this year and mix them with neutrals, like the warmer white with darker shades of greys in this room. Darker colors have a more modern vibe, keeping this room in vogue…

Lighting – Outdated light fixtures do nothing to enhance a the appeal of a room. Homeowners are sometimes reluctant to change a fixture as they have to sometimes hire an electrician to install the new lighting. But what an upgrade for your home! Usually its nothing more than finding a handyman to help you exchange your fixtures and go from drab to fab!

Tap Into Current Color Trends – Removing the hunter green walls and throwing warmer grey’s into the room, to mix with the natural elements like the contemporary leather sectional, creates a rejuvenated space.

 Adding a rustic element by using a reclaimed wood clock above the fireplace blends this family room with updated accessories. To bring the room along further we replaced the old chair with a tufted accent chair, removed the heavy bookcases and this room took on a whole new look!

Brighter and lighter, remember less is more. Declutter your space and it will elevate your room and your mood! Get ready, Christmas is right around the corner, breath some new life into your home!

 

 

It’s the time of year when we New Yorkers deck our halls with merry colors and lights for the holiday season!

Stay Tuned for more Adventures in Styleland…

XOXO

Michele Conti

:)