Sofa, So Good? Adventures in Living Room Decisions.

Image result for sofa so goodIt’s been almost six months since we closed on our house, which is unbelievable to me. The past few months have flown by, and while we’ve made a lot of progress making the home “ours,” we still have a long way to go!

pantheon-fabric-persimmon-dwl5943My mom finished up our living room drapes and I am in love with them! We got a great bargain on the fabric from this Robert Allen Pantheon fabric in Persimmon usually goes for $75/yard from vendors like DwellStudio, but with a little digging & a coupon or two, we ended up getting all eight yards of this fabric for $21.95/yard. (PS – if you like this fabric, they still have 13 yards left at that price point! Just click here.)

She made the drapes floor to ceiling with goblet pleats at the top: they look super luxe, but the fabric makes them a bit playful, too, which I love!


My club chairs, which were previously green & yellow striped, have also been reupholstered and are ready for pick-up (as soon as I get my car back – but that’s another story for another day…). I went with this fawn-like print I found at U-Fab’s new location on Broad Street. It’s a little lighter in person, so I can’t wait to get my chairs back home to share with you!unnamed

Now that we have the drapes and club chairs taken care of, there are only a few other things on our list for the living room until we can move on to the next project:

  • A larger TV that we’ll mount in the center of the built-ins
  • A new sofa
  • A statement piece of art to go above said sofa
  • An updated gas log system for the fireplace
  • Modernize the moulding on the built-ins
  • Conceal the radiator under the built-ins

The sofa is turning out to be the most difficult decision — and the hardest for us to come to a consensus on. Our living room is long and narrow, which makes things a bit challenging. Additionally, there isn’t a ton of natural light, which makes me lean towards lighter and brighter colors to cheer up the room a bit. My husband has his heart set on a sectional – and I feel “meh” about them. And, we’re constantly flipping back and forth between leather and cloth! Leather is more practical, especially because we have a dog that spends most of her day lounging on the sofa while we’re at work. But leather is also dark, and I worry it will “bring down” our living room – in addition to possibly making it feel a bit “man-cavey.” Light fabric, which I prefer, is probably a dangerous choice for our lady-of-luxury pup, as well.

What to do, what to do!? Here is a snapshot of our current layout and the sofa we have. The current sofa is fine, but too small – we want something a little more substantial.

Here are some living rooms + sofa combos I like, but would LOVE some advice and opinions from you, dear readers! Leather or cloth? Dark or light? Sectional or no? I’d also really love to hear from fellow dog-owners, too: what advice do you have on buying great furniture you can protect from your pup?

Image result for southern living living rooms

Image result for southern living living rooms

Image result for sofa for narrow living roomImage result for beige sofa colorful roomImage result for leather sofa with upholstered chairsNote furniture placement in small living room: This living room is only 11' x 15', but two streamlined linen sofas provide ample seating in tight quarters. The onyx-faced fireplace is original to the home, an 1,100-square-foot Colonial-style house:


RECIPE | Roasted Butternut Squash + Gorgonzola Lasagna

Image result for roasted butternut squash gorgonzola lasagnaWe hosted our first “formal” dinner in our new home this week (I even used my VIETRI chargers underneath the plates!). We invited our sweet new neighbors and their adorable baby daughter over and had the best time. We are over the moon to have young, cool neighbors next door!



Look Ma! I used my fancy plates!


Since they are vegetarian, I scoured the internet for the perfect recipe that would be tasty and satisfying for vegetarians and carnivores alike. I was thrilled to find this wonderful recipe from Gay Lea Foods Co-Operative. This lasagna turned out to be a wonderfully rustic, robust, creamy and delicious autumn entree — and great for serving a crowd! I’d highly recommend this whether you are vegetarian or not!

Be sure to swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth to make sure it is vegetarian-friendly! Also, next time, I might do toasted pine nuts in lieu of walnuts for a more nutty, earthy taste.

I served the lasagna with a beautiful autumn apple kale salad I found on Pinterest – here’s the recipe! We finished the meal with a spectacularly delicious (and hassle-free) apple crisp pie from the Fresh Market with caramel ice cream.



  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Cut the squash into small equal-sized pieces (about 1/2-inch/2 cm). Toss the squash and onion with half the butter, the honey, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper until well combined. Spread in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets. Roast, turning occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes or until very tender (rotate the baking sheets halfway through cooking). Cool slightly; combine with the cottage cheese, milk, broth and Gorgonzola.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 13-inch (3 L) casserole dish. Spread one quarter of the cottage cheese mixture evenly into the dish. Cover with an even layer of noodles, trimming to fit. Repeat layers of cheese and noodles twice. Spread the remaining cheese mixture evenly over the noodles.
  3. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, toss breadcrumbs with walnuts, parsley, and remaining butter; sprinkle the lasagna evenly with breadcrumb mixture. Broil for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Rest for 20 minutes before slicing.



Beauty on the Go: Travel Essentials

untitledWorking in the travel and tourism industry, constantly being on the road and on the go is part of the job. It’s an amazing way to meet new people, see new places, and learn new things– all of which helps me do my job better.

As wonderful as traveling is, it certainly can disrupt your normal routine: sleep schedule, diet, exercise habits- even your day-to-day beauty regime. Whether you’re traveling for a couple of days or for a couple of weeks, it’s important to continue to take care of yourself even though you are away from the comforts of your home.

Some of my favorite travel essentials come from my favorite local beauty and skincare store, Elements of Carytown ( I’ve been a loyal customer of Elements ever since my good friend Christina of Tiramisu for Breakfast introduced me to it!

Here are some of my favorite products as a gal-on-the-go.

REN Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Firming Beauty Shot

After hours on a plane or in the car, my skin always looks a little…well… tired. This firming serum gives your skin an instant hydrating boost and glow – it’s like an espresso for your face! The Beauty Shot especially comes in handy if you’ve only got a few minutes between checking in to your hotel and zipping to your next event. A little goes a long way, so this small bottle will last you a long time (which means it’s also TSA 3-1-1 compliant!)[$54, click here to purchase].

Malin + Goetz Essential Travel Kit

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I was first introduced to Malin + Goetz while staying at the TriBeCa Grand on a work trip to New York City a few years ago. I’ve loved the brand ever since! This colorful combo kit has literally everything you need for your daily routine: face wash, moisturizer, body wash, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner. This little kit is great for people with sensitive skin, or if you’re picky about hotel-brand toiletries. You can trust that you’ll love everything in this kit! [$30, click here to purchase].

Erno Laszlo Hydrating Cleansing Ritual Trio

Image result for lo Hydrating Cleansing Ritual Trio

I love all of Erno’s Cleansing Ritual Trios (and anything Erno, period, for that matter!) I especially love this set for traveling, especially if you travel by plane. Dry air and high altitude absolutely zap your skin of all its moisture and inner glow, so it’s imperative to hydrate and nourish once you’ve landed. Dry, stressed skin will feel luxuriously soft and moisturized after use. It’s a great pick-me-up after a long day of travel! [$45, click here to purchase].

TOCCA Bianca La Dolce Vita Travel Set

Image result for TOCCA Bianca La Dolce Vita Travel Set

The TSA 3-1-1 rule really irritates me sometimes, because it means that typically, I can’t bring along my favorite perfume in large format. Luckily, one of my favorite scents, TOCCA’s Bianca, comes in a sweet little travel set, complete with a body scrub, body lotion, and eau de parfum. Spritz a little on before and after travel to smell fabulous all day long. [$40, click here to purchase].

COOLA ECO-LUX Sport Continuous Spray Suncreen SPF 50 Guava Mango – Travel Size

Image result for COOLA ECO-LUX Sport Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 50 Guava Mango - Travel Size

Even in the winter, it’s important to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays. I love how summery and tropical this sunscreen smells – and I can’t wait to continue using it when the weather gets cooler to remind me of sunnier, warmer days! [$24, click here to purchase].

Those are just a few of my travel favorites- but there is so much more you can discover both at and in-store, conveniently located in the Shops at Carytown! You can discover more of my favorite Elements beauty products on my Elements Wish List Pinterest board, too!

Why You’ll Love Elements:

  • This boutique beauty shop is located in the heart of Richmond’s famed Carytown shopping district, so feel free to grab brunch with your bestie after loading up on your beauty goodies at one of the many restaurants dotting Cary Street.
  • Can’t make it to the brick-and-mortar? No problem. Just click here to visit their online shop. You can order from the comfort of your home. Even order in your PJ’s, if you want!
  • Elements has a great selection of premier luxury and natural beauty brands from all around the world. The ladies who own Elements are constantly on scouting missions trying to find you the best of the best.
  • You will find all-natural and organic products, as well as the most technologically advanced anti-aging skin care. Whatever you choose, all products at Elements are 100% Cruelty-Free.

Loyalty Points Program: Spend to Save!

Earning Loyalty Points is easy! When you place an order through and register for an account at the checkout process, you will automatically receive 1 loyalty point for each $1 you spend. Each point is worth 10 cents off your next purchase. In other words, if you spend $100 today, you’ll receive loyalty points worth a $10 discount to use on your next order. It’s that easy!

10% Off for Sweet Caroline Readers!

You can also receive 10% off your next purchase by using the code SWEETCAROLINE at checkout, just because I love you!


This post is a sponsored collaboration with Elements Beauty Shop. All opinions are my own.

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