MDW Sweets • Flag Lemon Bars

Flag-Lemon-Bars-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJI have a HUGE sweet tooth, but super-sweet treats aren’t typically my thing. I usually pass on buttercream frosted cakes (Billy and I had carrot cake at our wedding!), in favor of homemade cookies, pie or a piece of dark chocolate. I made these lemon bars last year for MDW, and they were a huge hit, so I figured I’d share! The buttery crust melts in your mouth, while the filling has the perfect tart note to balance out the sweetness!

Flag Lemon Bars

Ingredients for crust:

  • 1 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour

Ingredients for filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon

Ingredients for decorating:

  • powdered sugar
  • raspberries and/or strawberries
  • blueberries and/or blackberries

Crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350°, grease a 13×9″ glass or metal pan.
  • Beat flour and sugar together with an electric mixer until well blended.
  • Turn mixer to low, add flour and mix just until the flour is incorporated.
  • Press dough evenly into the greased pan, bake for 20 minutes.

Filling:

  • Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until well blended.
  • Add baking powder, salt lemon juice and zest to the mixture, blend well.
  • Pour filling into the baked crust, and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Decorate:

  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  • Use a ruler map out 8 columns and 6 rows, totaling 48 squares.
  • Adorn with your choice of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and/or blackberries to achieve the look above.

A Touch of Whimsey & A Touch of Weird

Michelle-Smith-Sag-Harbor-Shingle-Cottage-Beach-House-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJMichelle-Smith-Sag-Harbor-Shingle-Cottage-Beach-House-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJj4HNOBMZetpxMichelle-Smith-Sag-Harbor-Shingle-Cottage-Beach-House-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJMichelle-Smith-Sag-Harbor-Shingle-Cottage-Beach-House-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJj7tLrCwVijYxMichelle-Smith-Sag-Harbor-Shingle-Cottage-Beach-House-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJMichelle-Smith-Sag-Harbor-Shingle-Cottage-Beach-House-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJMichelle-Smith-Sag-Harbor-Shingle-Cottage-Beach-House-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJMichelle-Smith-Sag-Harbor-Shingle-Cottage-Beach-House-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJShingle-sided cottages are one of my favorite styles of beach houses – I’d personally take their quirky characteristics and nonsensical ways over a palatial McMansion any day of the week! And this one located in the quaint, sleepy town of Sag Harbor has plenty of character to boast! I adore the neutral palette and well-lived-in aesthetic, paired with the traditional structure; resulting in an authentic and collected space that owner and interior designer, Michelle Smith, coins as “almost accidental looking”. Smith states: “Every room should have a touch of whimsey and a touch of weird, but you shouldn’t be able to pinpoint what those touches are.” – I couldn’t agree more!

What’s your favorite style beach houses?

Mother’s Day Brunch

Mother's-Day-Brunch-Outfit-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJJuliet & Co. Poly Earrings // Zara Double Layer Top // Rag & Bone The Keaton Round Sunglasses // Jules Smith Americana Bangles // Tory Burch Veronique Shorts // J. Crew Havana Clutch // Isa Tapia Juanita Scalloped Sandals 

My mother and Gram cultivated my obsession with all things blue and white at an early age. I always think of them when I’m using the colors in a design, and it’s definitely one of my favorite combos to dress in during the spring and summer months. I picked up these shorts (here’s a less expensive option) last week, and they are absolutely stunning in person – the embroidery detailing is breathtakingly beautiful! They pair perfectly with this swingy layered top and oversized pearl studs for this year’s Mother’s Day brunch!

Mothers-Day-Table-DiCorcia-Interior-DesignWistera Woodblock Print Tablecloth // Spode Blue & White Plates // Pottery Barn Tava Chargers // Bamboo Flatware // Kate Spade Grace Avenue Napkin Rings // Baccarat Jupiter Champagne Flutes // Mint Julep Cups // Ball Jar

And how perfect does the outfit pair with my Mother’s Day table from last year?! Blue and white is always right!

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Get The Look • Splurge & Save

Get-The-Look-Blue-and-White-Bedroom-Splurge-and-Save-via-DiCorcia-Interior-DesignFrom color to texture to price point, the number one aspect I strive for in all my designs is balance. As much as I love the thrill of finding a great steal, there are certain items I would never skimp on – bed linens being one of them! I was instantly smitten with this crisp blue and white bedroom designed by Lilly Bun in this month’s House Beautiful. The classic palette is so incredibly timeless, rendering the Matouk linens a worthy investment. While the majority of items selected for the room are either custom-made or from high-end retailers, you could certainly achieve a more wallet-friendly version – here’s how:

A Rustic Romantic Bachelorette Pad

One of my friends lives in a gorgeous, light-filled apartment in Hoboken. I’m helping her design the space and we’re starting off with the main living area – including the entry, living room and oversized alcove that we’ve termed “the den”.  Although the design is not complete, I couldn’t resist sharing the initial design board!

Christine-Entry-by-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJmirror, tray, vases, console, basket, candle, door mat (indoor/outdoor rugs are excellent alternatives for door mats!)

I find defining the style of the space from the get go helps set the stage for the design and keeps everyone on track once purchasing begins. This way when you come across that amazing find in Homegoods, you can reference your “definition” to ensure it will vibe with the rest of the space.

Christine-Living-Room-Only-by-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJfloor lamp, sofa, pink pillow, black & white pillow, chair & ottoman, side table, coffee table, terrariumsrug, coffee table tray, box, media console, prada canvas, bar cart, decanters, tray for bar cart, glasses

Christine-Den-by-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJmirror, polka dot pillows, fur pillows, gold pillows, tribal lumbar pillow, daybed, ladder, throw, vases, box, chairs, table,  rug

Extra space is a rarity in apartment living, so we really wanted to capitalize on it! The daybed can be used for overnight guests, or the table and chairs can be pulled up for small dinner parties.

I’m really loving the mixture of textures and styles! What are your thoughts?

Design Crush • Karlie Kloss’ West Village Town House

from-the-magazine-karlie-kloss-2_164850156804from-the-magazine-karlie-kloss-3_164851279787from-the-magazine-karlie-kloss-5_164853812908from-the-magazine-karlie-kloss-1_164849741636As if Karlie Kloss’ perfect supermodel physique wasn’t enough to be envious over, she recently purchased this gorgeous West Village town house, designed by non other than Nate Berkus! As is the case with most of Mr. Berkus’ designs, the space is a perfect mix of impeccable antiques and modern shapes. I really adore the combination of glamourous mediums – brass, fur and silk – paired with more casual notes, like the jute rug and linen sofa.

Happy Friday to you all! Any fun plans for the weekend?

Mix & Match • Kitchen Cabinets

Contrasting-Cabinets-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJContrasting-Cabinets-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJContrasting-Cabinets-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJMara-Roszak-and-Alex-Polillo-Home-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-4Contrasting-Cabinets-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJKitchen remodels are costly – averaging around $30,000 nationwide – so many folks usually air on the side of caution and opt for something traditional. I have to admit, I did this in The Bungalow and I still adore our all white cabinets. However one trend in kitchen design that seems to be here to stay – therefore no longer qualifying it as a “trend” – is contrasting cabinets. Now, if you were to go with a very daring color, say bright green perhaps, it may put a time stamp on the design. However, choosing two traditional shades is a much safer route. It’s also very kid-friendly if you select a darker shade on the bottom (black, grey, navy or a dark wood stain) which can hide little fingerprints from sight, and white on the top keeping the room bright and airy.

What are your thoughts on contrasting cabinets?

Images via.

Top 5 • Winter Skin Care Essentials

Winter-Skin-Care-Essintials-DiCorcia-Interior-Design-NY-NJCold temps completely transforms my normal-to-oily skin into a dry, itchy mess. Lightweight moisturizers need to swapped out for more intense versions, and extra steps need to be added to my general routine.

  1. Let me preface my love of coconut oil with saying, I have insanely sensitive skin! I breakout in hives or a rash from the majority of products out there. Because of this, I always stuck with buying more expensive brands, thinking it would avoid allergic reactions  – this turned out not to always be the case. About 1 1/2 years ago I started using coconut oil in my hair as a deep conditioner on a weekly basis and was amazed with the results (check out my process in this post). Then I slowly started expanding its breadth. First it was my feet after long runs, then other dry areas like my cuticles, knees and elbows. Now come the winter months, I just slather it all over after a hot shower. The key is to warm it between your hands first, do a good job rubbing it in and let it soak in for a while. After applying the oil, I do my hair and makeup in a light terrycloth robe, then lightly dab areas where it has not completely absorbed before I get dressed. This is my absolute FAVORITE skin care product!
  2. I received Tarte’s Maracuja Oil as a free sample with a Sephora purchase a few months back. I had absolutely no idea what maracuja oil was, so I tossed it in the back of my makeup drawer and completely forgot about it. Then right after the holidays I ran out of my regular eye cream, so I used the oil as a substitute. I was pleased not to awake broken out in hives, so I figured I’d continue using it until I could get to the store to replace my eye cream. Then I started noticing great results in the overall texture and brightness around my eye area. Now I used it as a eye “oil” nightly and apply it all over my face once a week for an intense treatment (although you could probably do this more often if you have normal-to-dry skin).
  3. I am slightly neurotic about applying sunscreen after spending my teenage years on the beach without enough of it (should have listened to you, Mom!). CeraVe’s AM Facial Lotion SPF 30 is my go-to for most of the year, but come winter I swap it out for Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30.
  4. After I remove my makeup (I really like these cleansing toilettes) and wash my face with my Clarisonic, I apply St. Ives Timeless Skin. At $5 a container you can’t beat the price, and the results stand up to many other higher-priced options.
  5. I’m a bit of a germ-o-phobe and cannot even fathom how many times a day I wash my hands and apply hand sanitizer. Because of this, my cuticles require extra attention. While coconut oil doubles as my cuticle cream during the spring, summer and fall; come winter I need something more intense to avoid those annoyingly painful little hangnails. Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream is actually more like a paste. I work it’s gritty texture into my cuticles nightly until it’s completely smooth. And I ONLY trim a hangnail right after a long hot shower or bath. I can’t tell you how much this combo has improved the appearance of my hands!

So, what are your winter skin care essentials? Any great products I should know about?

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A Life Well Lived

GramLet me start off by saying this past week has been heartbreaking. On 1/14, my beloved Gram passed away. I was beyond blessed to be by her side, so I can say with absolute certainty that she went peacefully and not in pain. Gram was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of ovarian cancer 6 years ago, and at the age of 84 she chose to fight, plowing through with dignity and grace.

With that said, my own selfish sense of loss has left me a little broken inside. Gram was the definition of a Lady, and I still cannot fathom my world without her. My aunt read Linda Ellis’ The Dash at Gram’s service, and I found it to be incredibly inspirational and soothing – I strongly urge you to check it out here.

Rest in peace Gram – love and hugs!

Gifting • The Gardener

Christmas-Gift-Guide-The-Gardener-Bird-Watcher-via-DiCorcia-Interior-Design1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

I must admit, gardening is something I never thought I’d be into, but it’s a little hobby I’ve grown to love over the past few years! In our society of “1-click ordering”, there’s something really authentic about getting your hands dirty and enjoying the colorful bounty. I’m lucky to have several women in my life who are exceptional gardeners (and thankfully answer my endless array of novice questions!). I think they’d love any of the items on this list!

Are you into gardening? I planted a few fig tree clippings this Fall, and you would have thought I birthed a child I was so excited! Hopefully they make a return visit this Spring!