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Dreamy Design Books for Daydreaming

Last week I blogged about how difficult motherhood can be. I spoke on how being a parent is not only "hard work", but just plain hard, and confessed that I often use caramel as a stress-reliever. There are many things I do to unwind and most of them involve some sort of sitting/eating combination. I'm not one of those people who likes giving the stovetop grates a "really good scrub" to relax, nor am I an I-just-gotta-get-to-thegym kinda gal... So where does that leave me?? I need both the mindless relaxation, and I need the interests and outlets that get me recharged and re-inspired. As I've talk about before, design is something that energizes me. One thing I love to do is to go the public library and check out books that get me daydreaming. Both motherhood and life in general are more enjoyable for me when I find time to refeul my creativity. I'm definitely looking forward to sharing my love for design with my daughters as they get older. 

Below are five books by authors/bloggers I love or authors I've recently come across and I'll continue to keep an eye out for new titles as they come. I hope you enjoy the beautiful ideas and incredible photography! 

And by the way... what's your favorite style of home decor and interior design?? Any books you've loved looking through?


Plus, here are some low key tips for decorating.

createNurit SiegalComment
Therapeutic Adventures in Decorating at Home

As a freshman in college, my randomly assigned roommate's mom was an interior designer. I remember moving in and watching them take hours to put up all of her adorable Ikea decor. She had a total color scheme, a desk with orange accessories to match, and a nifty little nook for snacks and a mini fridge. The only color I can remember on my side of the room was my hot pink, somewhat see-through desk lamp attached to a multi-purpose pencil holder. I can't say that I tried to make my side look any nicer, even though I really wanted to, or that I spent too much time in that dorm room. 

Fast forward to a few summers after that and I was a camp counselor at my childhood camp. Before the shabbat dinners on Friday night, we would all meet to take pictures in our cutest outfits, of course. I walked towards my two closest friends who looked pretty miserable and asked them what was wrong. They started to laugh a bit until one of them said, "We were feeling really good about ourselves. I thought I did a great job on my mascara... And then we saw Lauren* walking down the hill and her dress and hair were literally blowing in the wind." 

It's pretty incredible how easily we're stopped in our tracks when we see a shiny woman passing by, doing exactly what we wanted to do, only a thousand times "better". Whether it has to do with school, appearances, parenting, work, or our homes - it can feel like a punch in the gut. For the longest time, I'd love flipping through home design magazines with no intention of doing anything myself until I really knew what I was doing, which never came. But ladies, I implore you! Now is the time to do what you wanted to do, but won't because you are intimidated by flowing, trendy dresses and adorable orange staplers! Now is the time to do something fun, even if someone else would think it looks funny! Let us ask ourselves this question - Why not??!!

My own creative project...

If that fun thing happens to be what I've always wanted to do - to put a little personality into my living quarters - then I have a few tips for how I've tried to overcome my past dorm room trauma and embrace my own creativity, style, and love for design. I also want to share these idea shortcuts because I know what it's like to walk around Target for two hours with nothing but a few tea lights to show for it. Here are some small, budget-friendly things to look out for that can help brighten up your space, and perhaps provide a bit of therapy as well. 

1. Inexpensive "Vases" for Flowers and House Plants

Rather than just looking in the vases aisle at a store, you can look around any other section or around your house for a vessel that will match your style. I found the white, ceramic container pictured above for $3 in the clearance center at Home Goods and have no idea what it's original purpose was. Inexpensive, long lasting flowers are great for this. Small house plants are also a much longer-lasting way to bring life to a corner of your home.

2. Decorative Baskets for Everyday Objects

Rather than continue buying cheaper plastic containers to store things, I decided to get a few $7 to $10 baskets for things that I use constantly. I love taking out my girls' toys and seeing these cute little elephants every time from Home Goods. The container above for foil pans is from The Container Store. 

3. Personalized Mugs


We are HUGE coffee drinkers in my home and I like leaving these two mugs out that we only use together a few times a week. It adds a bit of character and a personal touch to the kitchen. 

4. One "Pop of Color" or Interesting Throw Pillow

I find throw pillows really hard to find. Instead of trying to get a perfectly coordinated line of interesting throw pillows (which gets very expensive very quickly), I just went for finding one to add to the simple pillows we already had in order to make the couch pop a bit. (Here's another option, In general, has pillows starting at $15)

5. Kitchen Towels You Actually Like

I don't think I gave much thought to our first set of kitchen towels. The second time around, I took a second to think of the color and style and now feel like it makes a big difference. These ones were on sale at Home Goods.  


6. Books in Odd Places


Books are great to have on the shelf, but they become even more interesting when you put them in different places around the house. The books above are stacked inside the corner of our living room window. You can put cookbooks on your kitchen counter, put your favorite novels on a dresser with a picture frame or some flowers, or stack them on a side table with an accessory on top (I actually have a teapot sitting on one stack of cookbooks...)

What small things do you do around the house to make your home feel cozier and reflect who you are?  I would love to know and maybe use the idea myself!



*Name was changed. 

createNurit SiegalComment
Celebrating Good People

Several years ago, I started public speaking about some of the topics I've covered on this blog. One time early on, I spoke to a group of 20 and 30 -somethings in downtown Chicago. I recorded myself so I could review it later and make a few changes here and there. When I did go back to listen, it was horrifying. I couldn't keep track of how many times I said "like" in one sentence. My voice also didn't sound like mine - it was about half an octave higher and sounded more appropriate for telling someone about a cute new shirt from Limited Too. I couldn't believe I didn't realize how I sounded! Thankfully, practice makes things much better over time. But I can still feel awkward meeting and speaking in front of totally new people.

As someone who often feels more introverted than extroverted, I personally feel the best when I'm around a few friends who will laugh with me no matter what happens. A perfect night would entail having all of them in one room to hang out, eat, and talk and laugh for as long as possible. I would love to try and plan something like that soon, because I know how easy it is to get caught up in life and neglect to nurture meaningful friendships. When friends are hard to find, or when they're a long plane ride away, I've found that it can help to arrange something fun with a few local "potentials", even though awkward moments are virtually inevitable. But you have to remember that those moments are sometimes just the beginning of a beautiful friendship...

If you do end up doing something to make new or celebrate old friends, I played around with some ideas to make a gathering feel more special. Below are some place cards that were easy to put together.

  • Simply fold (and paste shut) colorful pieces of paper.
  • Print and cut out names for each card, and wrap them around the colored paper, pasting the ends together in the back. 
  • You can find new fonts to try by searching for "free fonts" online and downloading them onto your computer. Or you can always just write the names out yourself. I used a popular font called Bombshell Pro. 

What other things would you do to make a night feel special? 

And lastly, here's the topic I spoke about at the talk in Chicago, and here is another DIY you can use for a dinner party. Have fun!

Summer Break and Blog Posts from the Past

Dear wonderful readers!

It's been such a pleasure to have this blog since it launched back in March. Thank you so much for your wonderful comments and support! For the next few weeks, Lipstick & Brisket will be taking a break in order to bask a bit in the summer sun, re-stock the coffee supply, and go through some old e-mails I've been meaning to respond to for a few years now. I hope you enjoy the wonderful weather, and check out a few L & B blog posts from the past! 

1. A peek into real life.

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2. I've invested a lot of stress into trying to be more relaxed! 

3. Do you worry about being perfect, or about achieving super woman status??

4. Girls getting creative. 

5. First blog for the Think section. More to come.

6. It's important for girls to be nice, and to be taught about boundaries too. 

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7. Retail "therapy".

8. Resilient people don't have an absence of emotion. 

9. Mothers need "outlets" to prevent burnout, but we also need to ask for help.


Looking forward to coming back soon!


Little Inspirations

I just wanted to briefly share a few inspiring things from the past few weeks. I hope you enjoy them and also look out for the things that spark a little bit of joy in you. Have a great weekend everyone!

Looking at pretty cookbooks at Barnes and Noble


A few public library books written by Brene Brown I've been
to read for a long time


Abstract cheese art by my daughter on the floor 


A delicious coffee idea from Camille Styles
that I would love to try. I believe I actually have this 

glass from Crate and Barrel for less than $2


When I needed some time to just hang out and relax,
a friend said, let's go get Cinnabon...!



Some Kind of Retail Therapy...
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Since I can remember, I've always loved to go shopping...I'd step out of the car into the parking lot, wind blowing in my face, ready to take on the mall and the world of possibilities... But then, I'd somehow always leave exhausted and needing immediate therapy. What is it about shopping that can be so challenging?? Its can feel amazing to hit the "jackpot" item, but between fussing to find a good price that's in the right size, the feeling that you yourself are not the right size, those horrible mirrors, and the intense hair-frizz aggravated by trying on seven different knit sweaters, it's not always the paradise we'd like it to be. 

Fashion blogs and magazines can make it seem like finding beautiful clothing is a breeze - that the woman in the picture picked out her outfit as easily as she picked up her latte on the way to the photoshoot. And it's true that some women have a wonderful knack for style - but any one of them will tell you that it takes a lot of work, a lot of time and resources, and plenty of frustration. So no matter how much you love expressing yourself with a great, colorful outfit, keep in mind that we're all in this shopping struggle together.

So have no fear! Or at least a bit less fear... Lipstick & Brisket is here to help as much as possible to inspire a community of honest shoppers. Below is a list of 11 different flats from around the web in a variety of styles and price points to hopefully make the search for the right shoe easier and more enjoyable for you. I think with some expectation-management, we can have much more fun, and maybe need a little less therapy...

H&M floral flats - $12.95

H&M solid black loafers - $14.95

Target casual loafer - $19.99

Macy's black crochet flats - $27.30

Gap black and white snakeskin flat (pictured above) - $31.99 

Nordstrom Rack "Rebel" flat in nude - $34.97

T.J.Maxx silver flat - $34.99

Nordstrom pink and gray moccasins - $42.95

DSW colorful suede pointed flat - $49.95

Macy's Steve Madden black and snakeskin pointed flat - $69.00

Ann Taylor Leather and Captoe metallic - $88

Life is Messy

Life. Is. Crazy. I enjoy "homemaking", but let's be honest - it's often stressful, challenging, and messy. I don't know anyone who lives like Martha Stewart without her team of expert chefs, stylists, and professional organizers at their disposal. While I do love to make things, think of new ideas, and try to create an atmosphere of "peace and tranquility", 99% of the time my apartment has diapers on the floor and some sort of food that I probably should have put back in the fridge a while ago. But those things make it more real and I have more fun (and way less stress and personal disappointment) in my home when I let go of unreasonable expectations, pick and choose what I can and cannot get done, and just let the chips fall as they may. So although I hope you've enjoyed the fun ideas and projects we've done so far, I sincerely hope you enjoy the behind-the-scenes chaos even more...

Style and beauty in my home...


Food and lifestyle...


Personal Growth and Thought...

Does that all sound about right??

A "Nice" DIY Project for the Girls' Room
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A few years ago, I heard someone talking about a woman she met who had the phrase “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice” framed on the wall in her house. Ever since then, I kept in mind that I’d like to have the same thing in my own home, and finally got around to it. I love DIY projects (on a small scale…) and find it so fulfilling to make simple, budget-friendly things that give our home a creative and joyful “vibe”. With two little daughters, I’ll be hanging up the above picture frame in their room to remind them in a colorful, cheerful way to always treat each other with love. But there’s something about this saying that isn’t quite enough on it’s own… 

Believe it or not, women are twice as likely to struggle with anxiety and depression than men. I think at least part of that is due to how often we prioritize being “nice” above all else, leading us to ignore the things deeply hurting us. More than anything, I’m looking forward to encouraging each daughter to think of their sister’s feelings, to share, to empathize, and to always look out for opportunities to do acts of kindness for others. But I think it is unbelievably important that I also teach them how to do the hard things that women often worry are “not so nice” – whether it’s sharing their honest feelings with a friend when they’ve been hurt, asking for recognition when it was deserved but unfairly given to someone else, or resolving to remain private about something when asked an intrusive question. I hope to teach my girls from a young age how to confront uncomfortable situations with courage, even at the risk of feeling, and being perceived, as not very nice. As much as we want to instantly please others, there are values that are more important than a superficial feeling of peace and pleasantness. I truly believe that understanding the importance of personal boundaries, privacy, and standing up for one’s self leads to the highest forms of kindness, because only then can we deeply consider and respect the boundaries, privacy, and dignity of others. So while I want my daughters to always treat each other nicely, I also hope that they do so with a deeper, more meaningful definition of the word in mind.

Here's what you'll need for the project:

- A hole puncher
Several pieces of colorful/decorated paper with the color scheme you want. I got mine at Michaels. Some had pretty patterns and some were just solid colors
- A picture frame of choice
- Glue. I used a glue stick, but it’s not perfect (it left a few light marks on the paper). It may be better to use a tiny dot of liquid glue on each hole-punched piece of paper 
- Printed page with the font, color and quote of your choice. I printed mine at Office Max on cardstock paper for under a dollar. I used the font called "Petite Formal Script" and downloaded it for free here  

Now all you have to do is hole punch the colored papers and glue the pieces onto the frame in the design that you like (mine is inspired by the way I designed the the blog website). As you can see, I started with brighter colors at the top, and gradually lightened up as I moved down. 

My sister-in-law came to my apartment to drop something off when I was taking pictures of the project. I joked about the chaos in the home and the dirty diaper on my couch next to the "photoshoot", and she said, "Put that in the blog!" So here it is - what it really looks like at the Lipstick & Brisket studio (my living room!) 


L & B will be taking a break for a few weeks for Passover. Have a wonderful holiday!