Category Archives: home decor

A Christmas wish

Dear Santa,
This is Finnegan Murphy here. You may not have our new address because my family moved to a place where there is no snow in the wintertime.

christmas in florida, holidays, florida, IMG_8625

If anyone will understand my situation it’s you. I’m a Swiss MOUNTAIN dog for goodness sake. I live for snow. I like to pounce in the snow, eat snow, freeze my paws in the snow (not the salty sidewalk just the snow) stick my nose in the snow and eat the snow. All of it.

greater swiss mountain dog, puppy, finn, swissy, gsmd, dog,

finn, dog park, skinner park, chicago, west loop, greater swiss mountain dog puppy, swissy

There’s no snow here. None. I’ve tried to eat that grainy stuff by the water but it’s not the same. Trust me. So you’ll forgive me if I’m having a hard time finding my holiday spirit this year.

finn, greater swiss mountain dog, swissy, puppy, dog, brohard dog peach, paw park, florida, gulf coast, dog beach

I’ve been waiting patiently for winter to come since we made that super long car ride, but it’s still warm here. Sure there are weird inflatable creatures that I’m not allowed to play with in everyone’s yard but did I mention there’s no snow? What’s a guy to do without the one thing he loves more than his mom and dad? And peanut butter. And car rides. And naps.

greater swiss mountain dog, puppy, finn, swissy, gsmd, dog,

On January 9th I turn two and a half. My mom and dad seem to think I’m much older than that because they keep leaving me for long (and short) periods of time without supervision. Crazy, right? I still need them. Like must be touching them at all times to keep them from touching each other need them.

greater swiss mountain dog, puppy, finn, swissy, gsmd, dog,

So I’ve been trying my best to show them how much I miss them by displacing items they love from their permanent locations while they are gone. What kind of things you might ask? Well anything that they will notice obviously. So there’s a couple holes in mom’s favorite t-shirt. Dad has plenty of koozies in the drawer so he won’t miss it if I just eat one of them. LL Bean sends a catalog at least once a week anyways. Come to think of it mom did seem particularly upset when I learned how to open drawers and moved her DSLR camera from the island to the kitchen floor so you may want to bring her something nice this year to make up for that. My bad.


I know they love me. I can tell because they leave food out for me while they’re at work, Santa! They hang the bananas up so high on the counter I really have to stretch to get to them and end up knocking other stuff over in the process, but it’s totally worth it. I love bananas, peel and all. Just like I love snow. And naps. And peanut butter…

family photographs, children, photography, springfield, illinois, old state capital, christmas cards, holiday, boys

Anyways. I guess if I had one wish this Christmas it would be for my mom and dad to lose their jobs so they could stay home with me all day long.

Too harsh?

Ok what if you help them win the Lotto?

Too much?

Fine. If I can’t have any of that I will just ask for a few toys that will wear my brain out so I can take more naps. Stuff like this.


Or this.


And just one more thing as you evaluate your lists this year, Santa. I’m sure you’ve noticed that mom and dad brought a giant tree into our house and I’m not even allowed to pee on it? What’s up with that?

greater swiss mountain dog, puppy, finn, swissy, gsmd, dog, christmas tree, christmas, holiday

Barks and kisses,

Finnegan Murphy



In the holiday spirit

Before you start reading go ahead and click that little button above this sentence and join me in grooving to some Brenda Lee on this snowy Monday morning. Oh and try not to picture Kevin McCallister as you listen. If you are any generation near me, or have kids in any generation near me you’ll appreciate this reference. If not, just enjoy the music gosh darn it.

Can you tell I’ve been drinking the holiday kool-aid punch? I hope you have been too. After all, we can’t let a few Black Friday maulings ruin the holiday season for us now can we?

This weekend I finally got a chance to do a little decorating and celebrating for the upcoming holiday. I say little because I’ve made the practical-yet-saddening decision to not get a real Christmas tree this year.

greater swiss mountain dog, swissy, puppy

Finn’s photo above sums up my feelings towards the decision.

But in reality, he’s ultimately behind the decision. All 80 pounds of him.

I may still change my mind on the decision.

Don’t worry this isn’t a Lebron-style special on the decision.

I’m just sad because I love little more than to get myself covered in glitter and sap while decorating a real Christmas tree. But there’s just not enough room this year. So instead I decorated my baby tree and turned my bookshelf into a mantle, complete with DIY stockings.

DIY mini stockings, Target, plaid DIY stockings

Did I just throw out the D-I-Y? Don’t break out in hives folks, these are very simple DIY stockings.

DIY mini stockings, Target, plaid DIY stockings

Step one. Get a box.

Just kidding. Step one is to buy those cute mini stockings from Target. Stockings are usually way too pricey for what you are getting (a giant sock) but these are only $3.00 so there’s really no excuse not to buy them.

Step two is as simple as cutting out shapes or letters and gluing them onto your $3.00 stocking. If you don’t feel comfortable free-handing your letters, you could use stickers, felt shapes or buy them while you are Target. Of course they have twine-wrapped letters to go with your mini-stocking. It’s Target!

DIY mini stockings, Target, plaid DIY stockings

Step three. Now here’s where it gets tricky, hang your stockings up.

DIY mini stockings, Target, plaid DIY stockings

But the holidays aren’t just about decorating now are they?

holiday party tablescape, mini christmas tree, holiday punch

Nope. How can we forget the parties.

On Saturday night, one of my former roommates/life partner and friend hosted a holiday dinner for our other former roommates/friends and their now life partners. Are you confused yet?

Christmas tablescape,christmas leggings, Christmas tree

We sipped holiday punch, sat around the fire and had a delicious meal. We don’t get together as much as we used to, so it was really nice to share some laughs. Don’t worry I didn’t wear my Christmas leggings to the party, I just needed another photo to fill the collage. But how sweet are my new reindeer leggings? Surely I will get my money’s worth as it’s not like these are specific to the month of December or anything.

note: I realize this is the longest post ever. Feel free to pause here and come back Wednesday if you need a break. 

Back to the party. I brought a kale, apple and pomegranate salad, the token cranberry salsa and a batch of sweet potato and rosemary biscuits. We didn’t need them of course, but they turned out pretty well for a first-try.

sweet potato rosemary biscuits, savory scones, holiday recipes

I knew when I saw these from Two Peas and their Pod that I had to try them out. We had a few leftover so the next night I re-heated them in the oven and they were even tastier the next day.

Sweet Potato and Rosemary Biscuits

  • 2 1/4 C  flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt (I use kosher)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 TBL fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 6 TBL unsalted butter
  • 1 C diced roasted sweet potatoes
  • 1 C buttermilk

I had a bag of pre-cut sweet potatoes so I just roasted them at 375 degrees for 25 minutes with a little olive oil and rosemary before I made the dough. Once they cooled a bit, I just chopped the potatoes into smaller pieces.

sweet potato rosemary biscuits, savory scones, holiday recipes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line jelly roll pan with silpat.

Whisk flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add fresh garlic and rosemary. Cut butter in with pastry fork or hands. Fold in sweet potato then add buttermilk. You may need a teaspoon more or less depending on how dry your dough is. It should be sticky and not fall apart.

Once dough is combined, flatten into a circle and divide it in two. Cut each half into triangles and place on prepared pan. Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden.

sweet potato rosemary biscuits, savory scones, holiday recipes

Now grab your biscuit, pour yourself a glass of holiday punch and jam out to some tunes, ya filthy animal.

Sunday at IKEA

If the subject line doesn’t give you a proper indication of my weekend, I’ll say it again. After receiving this baby in the mail this week, I decided to spend my Sunday at IKEA.

IKEA summer catalog simply social blog

And when I say I spent my Sunday there I mean it. If you’ve ever been to an IKEA you know that it’s an all-day affair. They put a cafeteria on the second floor for goodness sake. You may be thinking, who needs to stop and eat when shopping for furniture and accessories? Believe me I laughed at it, too. And then you realize you’ve been on the 3rd floor for 2.5 hours and there’s two more floors to go.

Must. Fuel. Need. Energy.

So I spent my Sunday at IKEA. The best (and worst) day to spend there. The best because Sundays are the only day of the week you can justify spending that much time shopping at one location. Especially considering the slightly cooler, yet gorgeous temps we’ve been having here in Chicago. The worst because every one else knows your secret plan of spending the majority of your day at IKEA. And they are coming too.

If you’ve never experienced IKEA, then you might know that you start on the top floor and work your way down.

Now arriving at Level 3, the show room.

ikea kitchen and dining room simply social blog

a girl can dream, right?

Level 3. Where you begin your journey of building your dream kitchen with apron sinks, dark cabinets and backsplashes, oh my! You snap photos and smile for selfies to avoid the fact that you don’t have a house to put this make-believe kitchen in nor do you have any means to build it yet. (sigh).

ikea schaumburg kitchen

Two hours and two bathroom stops later you make the final turn to complete level 3. You think about the two hours you spent running the day before and actually have to weigh which one made you more exhausted. There’s no time for contemplation. Next stop, level 2.

I know I spent a lot of time on level 2, but I must have blacked out because I have no photos to show for it. But I did manage to document this find:

IKEA dog butt wall hook simply social blog

What’s that you say? Only the coolest dog butt hook you’ll probably ever hang on you wall! Needless to say after I found this gem I was re-energized for the remainder of the visit . And just a short 4 hours later, we were back home and ready to put together everything we bought. Did I mention that part of the joy of IKEA is putting everything together yourself? Aw, yeah.

ikea bookshelf build simply social blog

Fortunately, I had someone who equates putting together IKEA furniture to a warm up lap around a track. I know because I timed him. He had bookshelf number one assembled in less than 12 minutes. Record time in bookshelf assembly, but I’m sure he’d want me to clarify he could probably run 8 laps in that time.

I wish I had better before and after photos to share with you but 1) I almost forgot to take a before at all and 2) my place is small so it’s sort of difficult to get a good shot of the scale without actually being there. So come on over and I’ll introduce you to my new bookshelves.

ikea bookshelf before and after simply social blog

I’m still working on the decor but am happy to have more height to bring the pieces together. Still to come is a shelf above the TV and new frames. I’m an amateur when it comes to bookshelf styling so suggestions are welcome. For the time being I just recycled what I already had plus a few accessories I found in my 4 hour tour of IKEA. More than anything, I’m just happy to have somewhere to put my cookbooks. Nerd alert!

bookshelf styling ikea simply social blog

While the bookshelves perhaps made the biggest impact in the room, I am test-driving some new pillows for my couch as well. I’ve been looking for new pillows for my couch for years now with no success. Apparently the pillows that came with it are such a unique size that no cover or pillow form exist to replace them. Enter IKEA. Where the pillows come in just about every size (just kidding only 2 sizes) but the covers are not as substantial as you would like. One day I’ll have room for a sewing machine and make the damn things myself. Until then, here’s what we have:

couch redo ikea pillows simply social blog

Believe it or not I managed to make a real meal Sunday night too. I know, it’s crazy right? For all you know I haven’t cooked in weeks thanks to my recipe hiatus.

whole wheat spaghetti vegetables turkey meat sauce simply social blog

I’ll have a recipe for you later this week, but welcome your comments or suggestions on the decor (as long as you don’t completely hate my taste) anytime. Have a great week!

>Welcome Spring…


Freshen up your home with these 10 ways to welcome the spring season from Style at Home. Having already bought my first fresh flowers, hosted a BBQ and searched for new accent pieces, I’m happy to say I’m on my way!