April 30, 2013

Kitchen Makeover Inspirations

We've had our house for almost a year now, and I can honestly say the room I spend the most time in is definitely our kitchen. I collect retro dishes and anything turquoise or red. I've known for a while that our kitchen walls were going to be a lovely shade of turquoise. Just a few days after we got our house we went to Home Depot and got so much paint for the house. For the kitchen we picked up Cozumel, by Behr. It's such a gorgeous, rich shade and once we get the trim painted white I think it will be the most magical kitchen ever. I was inspired by 50s diners at first, but as time went on, it really just took on a retro theme. I really can't wait to share the transformation with you. My kitchen is already so Fifties, but it's old and wasn't well taken care of in the past. I'm going to fix all that soon enough. But while you're waiting for my kitchen makeover pics, here's a few kitchens that I've been admiring.
I'm all for this gorgeous kitchen seating and the amazing shelving too! 
Found here. Original source unknown.
I love this kitchen. These are the colours of my kitchen right now!
Same source as above picture.
A whole lot of turquoise. The pastels in the kitchen are making me envious!
Found here. Original source unknown.
Red and Turquoise. Just like I want my kitchen to be. I hope it turns out this nice!
Found here. Original source unknown.
By far the cutest kitchen I have ever seen. 
Found here. Original source here.

Sparkle and Shine

Here at CharmingShop we love ANYTHING that sparkles. The more glitter, the better. I'm a Magpie. I see something shiny, and I instantly go towards it with love in my heart. Why? Who knows. But I'm a girl, and I can be as sparkly as I want!

Need something shimmering in your own wardrobe? Try these beauties! They're my Crystal Pendant Necklaces from my shop, CharmingShopLove. They come in three multifaceted shades - Pink (found here), Purple (found here) and Plum (found here.

I can't get enough of their raw-cut jewel look. It's just the dreamiest necklace ever!
I am especially drawn to the deep, royal colour of the Plum Pendant.
Which one's your favourite?

April 29, 2013

Bathing Beauties - Cute Vintage Inspired Swimsuits

Hey there pretty ladies!
Are you on the lookout for a really gorgeous bathing suit to get you through summer 2013? Me too. Here's a bunch that I found online that are absolutely perfect for us retro fashion adorers.
The best part? 
All of these suits would suit most body shapes and sizes. 
Would you check out those stripes? Seriously amazing!
And of course I threw in an Orla Kiely towel just to make it a bit more magical if it wasn't already. 

Very top: found here.
2nd row (left to right): here, here, and here.
3rd row (left to right): here, here, and here.

Happy Shopping!

Marissa xo

April 28, 2013

Shop Update

Hello there! It's Sunday today and I'm throwing a little dinner party for my family featuring some pretty awesome cheese platters and a great sushi salad(which I have actually never made for anyone else before, so I'm slightly worried about the reaction...) I hope you're having a relaxed and positive weekend. Just wanted to let you in on a few shop updates. 

At CharmingShop I'm busy, busy, busy. First of all, we designed my new business cards and they should be arriving shortly. I had previously done a business card design, but when it came down to it, I couldn't bring myself to get those ones printed. They just weren't right. These ones are. they're fabulous and I love them.  I am so excited I get to pack these babies away with your orders.

Here it is! (sorry the card is white, so it looks invisible here...) Amazing, right? I really wanted to incorporate my artwork somehow onto my business card, and this is what we came up with. I couldn't be happier.

As I told you before, I am working hard on a special collection of my artwork that will include prints. Right now I'm really inspired by candy-colours, spring time florals and vintage accessories. 
I gave a sneak peek the other day of my new retro eyeglasses piece, and let me tell you, It's done now and it looks super adorable. It needs to be a print, because I want one for myself too! I can't show you yet though, because it will be in the shop soon enough! 

Thanks for supporting CharmingShop
You're all Dolls.

Marissa xo

April 27, 2013

Miso Soup Recipe

Hello! I decided to try my hand at making some Miso Soup. Now let me just say it's not your traditional miso soup; it's a twist. I just needed something simple and easy to make with just a few key ingredients. And truth be told, it's pretty tasty, so I hope you give it a try!

*4 cups water
*3 tbs miso bean paste
*1 cup diced tofu
*2 chopped green onions
*1/2 cup cut seaweed

Note: I buy sushi roll sheets of seaweed and cut them into small pieces with kitchen scissors.
I think I used about 3/4 of a sheet for this recipe.
Prep beforehand. Chop up all your ingredients before you start cooking to make it easier.

What To Do:
Bring your water to a boil in a pot on the stove. Then reduce your heat to medium and add in the miso bean paste. Stir it into the water to mix well. Now add in your tofu and green onion. Let that cook for about five minutes, and then add in your seaweed. Next let your soup cook for 10 to 15 minutes. 
 This recipe is so easy and fast! You could be having homemade soup in about half an hour - prep and cooking time included. That's pretty awesome if you ask me! It's so great for a nice warm lunch or even as part of your dinner. First course anyone?
I hope this inspires you to try some new soup making techniques! I'm all for chunky vegetable soups but it takes forever to cut all your different ingredients. This was too easy.
 I think my miso soup will be a regular meal in our house from now own. 

Thanks for reading!

Marissa xo

April 25, 2013

Are You Ready?

Hey ladies, it's Prom and Grad season! 
Are you wondering what you're going to wear? Let me help you! Go to CharmingShop for some really adorable retro inspired jewellery. Is there anything better than dressing up in vintage? No way! Look like a 50s vixen in our one-of-a-kind pieces made with vintage-lovers in mind. 
Lots of love to you, and happy Grad shopping!

Marissa xo

April 24, 2013

Behind the Scenes Two

A little while back now I brought you this post where I showed you a little taste of what our photo shoots look like. I promised a part two involving my model (and sis), Erin. She has a lot of energy and picking someone to model with a slight case of ADD can be overwhelming, but my favourite pics were definitely these ones snapped in between shots. She likes to fool around and dance and make funny faces, so I kept shooting, and while editing the photos I couldn't help but keep these ones, because they are so typical of her and what she would do. I couldn't use them for CharmingShop, but at least I can keep them on file. And possibly leak them out on her wedding day someday...

Alright everyone. I've given you a good look at our goofy lives! 
Time to go work on some awesome art! 
See you later!

Marissa xo

Wrapped up in Spring - My New Pieces

The snow is FINALLY starting to melt here. I can actually see some grass out there. Lately I've been working away inside my house, ignoring the current bad weather, making my own spring in my artwork. I have been uplifting my mood with bright colours and spring inspired themes. All I'm thinking of is retro sunglasses, pretty beach bikinis and first blooms. 
Remember this print? Yeah! I'm so in love with this one. It's just a background and I'm still working out what needs to go on top to make this piece doubly amazing.

And this one...
Can you tell what this one is inspired by? 
Lily of the Valley of course! Again, just a background right now. I can't wait to play around with this one too. My favourite part of my artwork is the end manipulation and creating a contrast in the piece. It's already so sweet and innocent, maybe it needs to be dressed up real edgy!

Last but not least...
This is my latest piece and as I go along, I get more and more excited about it. Are you in love, because I am! I'm really pleased by how much I am able to make each pair of sunglasses look exactly like the last. It's a tough, long process, but so worth it, am I right? Everything will be coloured soon enough. I already have some colours in mind...

Do you like any of these? Well guess what Ladies and Gentlemen? 
When this collection is done, there will be prints available for sale, as well as the originals. I love these ones so much, I wanted to make more of them so lots of people can have them. And honestly, creating a lower price point for some people who want a cool piece but don't have a lot to spend. Am I right? That's me too guys, don't worry. I'm on your team. Keep an eye out, and check back here often for updates. Of course I will tell you when they're ready here too!

Thanks for the love.
Your interest in art is awesome!

Marissa xo

My Dream Come True - Mid Century Teak China Cabinet

Hi everybody. Happy wednesday! The week is already half over. Woah. 
So as I mentioned many times already, for my birthday we were on the hunt for a china cabinet for our living room. My mom purchased a very large set of Old Country Rose China from my grandma's friend when she was downsizing, and it's been everywhere since I've owned it. In storage bins, moving from place to place while we were trying to save money for our own house. And here, it was sitting on a self in our basement. How awful! I so badly wanted a place to display the pieces. Although, since they look so fancy and proper, I wanted something more sleek to balance that out. Our space is much more relaxed and I like the idea of mixing things up.

Well we looked and looked everywhere. The main issue, I will admit, is that I am incredibly picky and particular about what I want usually with everything. But I mean, come on, it's a china cabinet and I plan to keep it forever. If there's something slightly wrong or not just right in size or shape, it will bother me! While hunting, I discussed with my mom that I would like one just like/ or similar to hers. It was my grandma's cabinet and I grew up with it in her house by the brick fireplace in the TV room. Then she told me if I didn't find anything, she would sell that one to me. I didn't want to take it from her, so we pressed on and looked for another week. 

Well we didn't find anything, and after lots of assurance that she wanted me to have the cabinet and wanted some new pieces of furniture instead, I got my cabinet. And we both agree, it's looked better than it ever has, sitting in my living room.
This baby was once filled with crystal at my grandma's house. She had little plates that she painted on the shelf in the middle. On the left corner in the back there were always a deck of cards in a carved wooden box that my sister and I used to take out and play with. But we had to be careful because they were old. Sometimes my grandpa would play cards with us, and he would say he would give us a nickel if we won. He always tried to cheat as a joke. That cabinet was part of my childhood, and I'm really happy that it's mine now. I really can't wait to have my grandma over for tea, so she can see what it looks like in it's newest home.

Here are some shots of how I arranged my cabinet. I'm sure it will probably change in the future as we acquire more things, but right now I think it's prefect. I kept it simple and stored the rest underneath in the drawers. This teak cabinet is truly a dream. I love it. Every time I walk past my living room, I think about how beautiful it looks right where it is, and how it will suit us in the future, as we move to new houses and start our own family. I'm pretty happy to be taking this along for the ride.

A big thank you to my boyfriend, for buying a family heirloom for me for my birthday. It was a strange and unusual transaction, but I'm highly satisfied!

Marissa xo

April 22, 2013

Birthday Photos

For some reason in my family birthdays last forever. I coined the term "Birthday Week" when describing a birthday in my family, because a full week is needed to have our parties and celebrate. This year was fun and exciting. I like intimate, cozy birthdays, just relaxing and taking it easy. Especially since we are always on the go. This year I used my birthday to just breathe and watch some of my favourite movies that I've been wanting to see for a while. Here are some photos of my special day(s.)
My birthday outfit!
Flowers from my wonderful boyfriend.
My new cabinet! I'll do a post for this baby soon.
Dinner at my moms. It was a joint birthday with my Grandma since our birthdays are so close.

Oh and Instagram! (marissahowes)
These are some of my posts from my birthday

 Marissa xo

Brussel Sprouts with Homemade Tomato Sauce

Hey lovelies, I've been off for a few days, letting the comic book artist in the family work on his colouring... I've been dying to write some new posts. So first of all I wanted to share a new recipe with you! I have been really inspired by raw cooking. I've been reading up on it lately and I'm really interested on how it works. For those of you that don't know, I will put it into simple terms, eating raw means you don't cook anything. For added texture items can be dehydrated, but not cooked. The diet is mainly vegetable and nut based. It's so interesting and even if you're not going there with your meal plans, you should do some research because it's pretty cool.

Brussel Sprouts with Homemade Tomato Sauce
This dish is by no means a fully raw dish. It's only raw inspired. I cooked two items in here. I'm trying to get my diet back on track! There always seems to be a holiday or party where we have to celebrate and a lot of food ends up being eaten. I'm taking my health back. 
This recipe was made just for me! Double it up for two people.

1/2 large tomato (or 1 small)
1/2 cup red pepper
1/3 cup onion
8 brussel sprouts
3 pieces of marinated artichoke
2 tsp oregano or to taste
cheese of your choice

Alright so first of all cut your brussel sprouts in half and place them in a steamer, ready to go. Next chop up your tomato, red pepper and onion into little pieces. You can mix the tomato and onion. Keep the red pepper separate, because we will be sticking them in the oven. 
Now cut up your artichokes. They come in a jar almost like pickled items, but they are marinated in spices and oil. Yummy. Chop those into small pieces as well just to add a bit of flavour to the dish. Add that into your tomatoes and onion. Now mix in your oregano. Let that all sit together while the brussel sprouts are steaming. 
Keep checking your brussel sprouts while they steam. They wont need very long, especially since they've been cut in half. They should turn a pretty, bright shade of green. 
While your brussel sprouts are still in the steamer, your chopped red pepper will need to go in the oven, to be sweetened. Put them on a pan covered with oil. Stick them in there at 350 degrees F. They should only need about five to eight minutes, but watch them carefully so they don't burn. 
When everything is done, turn off your steamer and put the brussel sprouts in a dish. Turn off your oven and mix the red pepper with the tomato mixture. Now pour the contents of that bowl onto the plate of brussel sprouts like a thick, chunky, clean sauce. Now grate your cheese over top with your desired amount.
Now it's ready to eat!
I really enjoyed this recipe. It was simple to make, and it tasted really hearty with the brussel sprouts, but still light and fresh. I don't think I could ever pull off a completely raw diet. I love to cook too much. But if I can incorporate a dish here and there that's inspired by a clean raw diet to help my body out once in a while, that's great!  
 Thanks for reading!


April 18, 2013

Birthday Love!

  Hey there! Today is my birthday, and I am 23 years old as of 4:30 this morning. Every year on my birthday I look back at what I've accomplished that year, and where I am at that particular point on my birthday. In just a couple years I've done some amazing things. 
Sometimes it feels like things are moving slow, but when I look back, I realize I have put some crazy goals ahead of myself and overcome some bizarre and you know, everyday obstacles. Every time I say I'm going to do something, I always try. I love having this day to celebrate how far I've come. Not only as a single person, but as a unit with my mini family - boyfriend and our two cat children. 
We're always moving forward, and every year we are at a different point in our lives. Just two years ago I was a manager for my favourite cosmetic line, and I was so blissfully happy. This year I'm a homeowner with a lot on my plate. From running this blog full time, working on CharmingShop full time from a business and artist point of view. And being a stay at home lady, cleaning and fixing up our 1950s home. I always seem to collect a lot of responsibilties.
Where will I be next year? I really have no idea. Probably not where I am now!
All I can say is I'm enjoying life, and 23 isn't so bad of a place to be.
I'm going to be a busy girl today, hanging out with my man. We don't get to spend time together right now, but he's taking the day off to be with me. I'm the luckiest girl. Maybe I'll have some birthday pics for you tomorrow...

Have a great day!

Marissa xo

All photos found on weheartit. If you own one of these, please let me know so I can give recognition where needed. Thanks!

April 16, 2013

Behind the Scenes

I think the best part about photo shoots is that the photographer always gets snap-happy (I can vouch for this...) and keeps going even when the shoot is done or paused for a mini break. The in-between, behind the scenes pictures are always my favourite. I am a huge sucker for action shots or imperfect photos. I love true emotion and true to life pictures. Life is in motion! Pictures should be this way too, don't you think? These were taken in between my photo shoot for my shop, CharmingShop, while putting on new jewellery/fixing stray hairs/fixing my makeup breaks.
This is part one only. I have some beautiful and hilarious pictures of my sister modelling for me, and yes, I was behind the camera that time! They make me laugh every time and even though I couldn't use them in my shop, they're worth hanging onto because they're so typical of my sister and her personality. Sometimes you just want to hang onto those moments.

Wait until you see the awesome art pieces I'm working on right now! 
If you have Instagram, follow me at: marissahowes
I like to take sneak peek photos of my work and I usually post there, before I get around to posting them on here.
There are bright spring colours and scallops galore!!

 See you back here tomorrow!

Marissa xo

Carrot Cake Recipe

Hello everybody! Today I want to share a recipe with you. This is a carrot cake recipe I made on Sunday that was probably the best carrot cake I have ever eaten in my life. I have never made carrot cake from scratch before. I will admit I do use a packaged mix. Who has the time?! However I was just itching to do something new, so I got out my ingredients and got to it. Here is the admittedly pretty easy carrot cake recipe:

*2 cups flour
*2 cups sugar
*2 tsp baking soda
*1 tsp cinnamon
*1 tsp salt
*4 eggs
*1 and 1/2 cups vegetable oil
*3 cups grated carrots


Alright I'm going to recommend starting with the carrots first.
I used a vegetable peeler to peel about 4 carrots(mine were on the smallish side.)
Then you can put the peeled pieces in the food processor or blender until they're chopped into little bits.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Get out two cake pans. I greased mine with a very thin layer of butter.
In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients - flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
Now add your eggs, vegetable oil and grated carrots and mix until it forms a nice thick batter.
Put your mix into the cake pans and then they can go straight into the oven for 30 mins.
I ended up leaving mine in for 40 minutes because my oven isn't as strong. Just make sure you check to see if they're done at 30 mins.
 A Good Trick:
This is a fabulous bakers tip that I use on everything! Stick a toothpick inside the middle of your baking. If it comes out clean, it's done. If it has traces of batter, it needs to go in for longer. But always be cautious and watch the oven like a hawk when you put something in for longer than the recommended time.

So it's been 30 minutes and it's time to take your cakes out of the oven! Hooray!
Wear your oven mitts and get those babies out of there. Now leave them on the top of the stove to cool.

This cake is so moist and insanely delicious, you really don't need an icing. Because I was taking it to a dinner party, I made one. Just my usual icing complemented this cake nicely. Don't try to ice your cake when it's hot or even slightly warm. the icing will melt and slide right off. Room temperature is best. Probably an hour or two after baking is safe.
Here's my Icing Recipe again for a refresher. It's really good icing for this. For some reason it just meshes well. If you'd like a more detailed icing instruction, look for my Easter Cupcake recipe here.

*1 cup butter (soft)
*3 and 1/2 cups icing sugar
*1 tsp milk
*1 tsp vanilla
*1/8 tsp salt

Let me know if you try this out, because I thought it was so yummy!! 
Have a great day

Marissa xo