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  • NEW LISTING! 6708 Brighton Springs Lane

    Cute brick ranch in conveinently located Brighton Springs! Three bedrooms and two baths couple with a vaulted family room (with fireplace), and a large, open eat-in kitchen to allow plently of space for a single, couple, or family to spread out and relax. In the basement, over 1,200 square feet of additional space is ready and waiting for a new owner to finish- a full bath has already been roughed in.

    With easy access to Bardstown Road and the Gene Snyder, this house really does have it all, and will not last long! Offered at $209,500.

    Brought to you by Joyce Duncan of Semonin Realtors.

    For more information, click here.

  • Bellaire Update

    Oh, friends, I’m so happy to report that we are moving along at a nice rate at the Bellaire house. In the last week, my contractor has completed all of the drywall work, all of our kitchen can lights have been installed, and the old, icky bathroom vanity, lights and mirror have come out, and the large walk-in closet in the bedroom has been wired and plumbed for a washer and dryer.

    And…. I’ve decided on paint!

    I love the thought of light and bright for the majority of the house. This will be vacation home, after all, and should look like one- airy, even though it’s gonna be dramatic and moody. The walls throughout will be Sherwin Williams’ Spare White, a slightly cloudy, lightly silvery white. All of the trim, as well as the fireplace will be painted in semi-gloss Extra White. My neighbor’s entire home is done in Extra White, and its just so clean and perfect.

    The bathroom is going to reflect the dark, gray-brown of the kitchen cabinets, courtesy of a gorgeous shade called Urbane Bronze. I cannot wait to see my new sconces against these walls! The sample sizes from Sherwin Williams are a full quart, so I was able to get an excellent idea of what these shades will look like in morning or afternoon light throughout the house.

    As soon as the walls are painted and the lights are in, I’ll have more updates for you, and I’m so looking forward to them!

    ** photos by Kyle Lueken **

    ** this post is not sponsored in any way **

  • A Very Pink Victorian

    Late last week, I had the pleasure of selling a GORGEOUS victorian home in our beautiful Cherokee Triangle. My clients are moving back to Louisville from the San Francisco Bay area, and fell in love with the way Louisville’s historic neighborhoods and the elaborate millwork inside reminded them of their home on the west coast.

    While spending time at their new home on Tuesday during inspections, I completely fell for the look and feel of the foyer and formal living room, and found myself fantasizing of how I’d put these spaces together if I were the lucky homeowner.

    ** Benjamin Moore **

    ** Stark Carpet **

    I’d keep the woodwork and ceilings bright white and paint the walls and french molding (in the formal living room) Charming Pink by Benjamin Moore. Girly? Yes. But, this is my fantasy Victorian… The floors are already a dark oak, which is beautiful. I’d rip up the stair runner and replace it with something neutrally colored but still a little wacky, like Stark’s antelope print.

    ** via The Jealous Curator **

    ** Bernhardt **

    ** Bourgeois Boheme **

    ** via Art and Shop **

    On that crazy good millwork in the stairwell, I see Marina Dunbar’s Horizon Series hung all willy-nilly. The circular wooden version would look dreamy just floating up that rear wall. I’d place the Bernhardt Miramont collection console on the wall opposite the entry fireplace, while its friends desk, chair, and coffee table would live in the living room, alongside the curved Arc Sofa from bobo interiors. A bright fuchsia sculptural piece from Jason Martin would hang above the fireplace, while a black grand piano would live by the front windows, with a view of the beautiful neighborhood.

    ** Sherwin Williams **

    I feel like I’m building a lady palace here, so while we’re on it, lets paint the first floor powder room Sherwin Williams’ Exuberant Pink, and call it a day.

    Cheers, my friends. I cannot wait to see what my clients do with this incredible space!

  • Dining at Decca

    Twice in the last week, I've had the opportunity to grab food and drink at Decca Restaurant in downtown Louisville.  I'll be honest- for some reason, Decca was never a place I took the initiative to visit on my own.  Instead, I've only ever visited at the invitation of someone else.  I don't know why this is...  The building and patio are absolutely stunning!  The second floor record room is a fun respite to grab appetizers and cocktails with a friend, and the Cellar Lounge is cool, candlelit, and the perfect spot to cuddle with a date over smaller bites and cocktails.  But, as we've discussed before, I'm a creature of habit, and it's so hard for me to break out of my comfort zone.

    Still, I've never had a bad meal at Decca.  Chef Annie Pettry consistently turns out dishes that are as delicious as they are beautiful, with a focus on locally sourced foods, meaning each bite will be as fresh as possible, with a true flavor and texture.

    Saturday night, a girlfriend and I headed down to the patio to grab some eats before a show at the Kentucky Center.  We were undecided on first course, musing on the avocado toast versus roasted beets, finally having both arrive on our table.  The avocado toast was a thin flatbread topped with not only everyone's favorite healthy fat, but sliced asparagus and pickled serrano peppers.  Both the crispiness of the asparagus and the heat of the pepper lent an unexpected- but perfect- texture and taste.  The roasted beets arrived on a wedge of chargrilled cabbage, a schmear of feta vinagarette, and topped with sunflower seeds.  I could have dined on that alone!

    For dinner, I leaned towards Crispy Redfish- perfect and moist- on a bed of couscous with cucumber, peanuts and leeks.  Our server brought out a small cup of broth, poured over the dish as it arrived at the table.  My dinner companion went heartier, with a wood-grilled pork chop and grits coupled with pickled peaches.  The bite she allowed me to steal was enough to convince me to order it the next time I'm in.

    While the dinner my friend and I shared was planned and reserved in advance, last night I unexpectedly ended up in Decca's 150-year old stone-walled basement-turned-bar, the Cellar Lounge.  Cocktails went all around, and our trio decided on simple, sharable plates- a pickle platter and a cheese plate.  While the cheese plate was a comfortable mash of two Kenny's Farmhouse cheeses, as well as a goat cheese and accompaniments, I was caught off guard by the pickle plate.  Yes, there were pickled cucumbers, but also spicy pickled carrots, still-crisp pickled beets, curried cauliflour and a salted, beet-brined boiled egg.  A cup of cheese straws floated out unexpectedly from the kitchen, light and soft, and very flavorful.

    We ended last night with a thin slice of buttermilk pie- a favorite dessert of mine.  Tart and sweet, with a rye crust and buttermilk sherbet and peaches, it was a perfect ending to the evening.  

    I'm hoping that the Kentucky summer weather lets up soon, allowing me to head back out to the patio here, but I've fallen in love with the cool feel (both temerature-wise, and vibe-wise) of the Cellar Lounge.  I'm sure that you can find me down there on Monday nights, where the space hosts live jazz- a wonderful compliment to a cummer cocktail. 

    ** this post is not sponsored in any way **

    ** all photos taken from Decca's Instagram **

  • Mahonia Studios

    Here in Louisville, we are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by small business. From a ridiculous number of locally-owned restaurants, boutique hotels, and mom-and-pop shops of all kinds, my city boasts pockets of neighborhoods that seem to flourish in keeping our dollars local. From the Highlands to Frankfort Avenue, Nulu to Norton Commons, Louisville continuously tops lists for being small business friendly.

    With so many options available for daily purchase, it’s taken even the local-est of locals to discover some of the good we have here in town. Continuously, when friends check in to spots on social media, I feel like I see a treasure trove of new places to dine, to shop, while still keeping our dollars within the Greater Louisville area. One of my favorite spots to spend money? Mahonia Studios.

    Through shopping here for fresh flowers, houseplants, and unique greeting cards and candles since their opening, I’ve become friends with Mahonia owner, Bridget Davis. She and I were able to sit down over dinner on Saturday to chat about what she wishes people knew about her store and about the Nulu neighborhood, as well as plant keeping in the Instagram age of the “darling of the plant world,” the Fiddle Leaf Fig.

    Bridget has been in retail since she was 12. She bugged the folks who owned a pet shop near her home until they finally offered her an opportunity to perform odd jobs around the store. At 14, she was on their payroll, and she stuck with them for 7 years total- until she was 19. As she grew up, she became interested in flowers and plants of all kinds. She would buy her own, then make dried flower wreaths- much like the ones you’ll find in Mahonia now. After reaching adulthood, working as a chef in Portland, and managing sales for a bakery, she took a huge risk, leaving that career for $8.50 an hour working in a flower shop. She says her heart just told her she needed to do something creative.

    The vision was always there to open a space of her own, and when the opportunity to move closer to her wife’s family in Kentucky arose a couple of years ago, she said “Okay- this is our chance.”

    “The whole philosophy with Mahonia was that we wanted to beautify peoples’ home. We wanted to bring beauty into the home, whether that was with flowers or plants or accessories. When people walk in, they get super happy… They want to take that feeling with them.”

    If you’re anything like me and have a black thumb, rather than a green one, don’t worry- Bridget and her staff won’t just sell you something that will die in a week. Instead, the folks at Mahonia will spend time finding out what to send you home with. “We want you to be successful! That’s why we ask a ton of questions. We coach people on their plant selections based on their life and what they need. We want to know if you’re a super busy person. Can you water once a week, or is that too much for you? We will literally sit there and talk and talk and talk with you until we figure out what’s right for you.”

    What about that ever-popular fiddle leaf fig? Bridget calls it the “darling of the plant world” thanks to Pinterest and Instagram, and says it’s one of the most difficult things people take on. “A lot of people try to grow it without the right conditions, and they just will not tolerate anything less than what they want.” What are the right conditions? “They need bright light, for one, and they really don’t want neglect. They need regular watering, and they’re heavy feeders, so they need a well-balanced, all-purpose green plant food.”

    According to Bridget, 99% of people never feed their plants (I’m one of them). She enjoys the opportunity to teach her customers about plant care. Especially if you’re making an investment into a larger piece, you need to know how to care for it, and the staff at Mahonia will take all the time they need in order to educate you on your purchases.

    She loves her space in Nulu, and enjoys the relationships she formed with other local shop owners in the area. As we walked into Decca on Saturday I spotted a terrarium from her store sitting on the front counter. “Every single day someone comes in and says, ‘It’s our first time in! I love the store! We’ve never been here!’ This was such a hard neighborhood before and there are still people discovering it.”

    “If we can continue to offer awesome, beautiful things and make people feel like family when they walk in the door, then that’s what we’re all about. When we opened, we thought we would just be a store that sold a few flowers, and we are embracing the idea that we’ve become very passionate about our offerings, and the selection we carry is very unique. We try to continue to offer the most unique and most beautiful flowers that we can.”

    GIVEAWAY ALERT!! If you've never had the opportunity to stop in, now is your chance- I’m thrilled to be giving away a $75 gift card offered by Mahonia Studios! Beginning at 11am EST today, Monday, July 10th, 2017 until 5pm EST Friday, July 21st, any reader can enter to win by emailing me at yoursmostsincerely@hotmail.com. One entry per day only. The winner will be chosen at random, and notified via email on July 21st, with the gift card delivered via US Mail. Good Luck!

    ** this post was sponsored by Mahonia Studios.  all thoughts and opinions are my own **

    ** photos by Kyle Lueken **

  • Citrus in Honey Syrup

    I love sweets. LOVE sweets.  I grew up with a grandmother who believed in the healing power of ice cream.  For company, especially around the holidays, I remember the sight of a spice cake sitting on her dining room table.  I can still remember the smell that would fill her house when she had made a cooked caramel icing (a recipe that, 10 years after her passing, I still cannot locate).  My grandfather had an amazing way of making cinnamon toast in the mornings...  the closest I've come to that taste is the cinnamon brioche at Please and Thank You, where a hefty slathering of butter, sugar and cinnamon make your teeth scream but make your tummy so happy.

    Whether it was the influence of her mother's or not, my mom was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she was 30.  Unfortunately for her, it was not a case that went away after baby, but rather stayed on, and ravaged her body with its associates- kidney disease and eventually failure, bleeding in the eyes, Alzheimers...  It was a sickness that ultimately led to her passing.

    When, several weeks ago, I felt that something in my body and was just off, I sat down with an expert and decided on a month long test of cutting out some of the major food bad guys.  For a month, I went without dairy of any kind, and cut out all refined sugars.  Honey was my savior. Luckily, it seems that allergies and pre-diabetes don't exist here, but I do seem to have a sensitivity to an overload of dairy and refined sugar.  Still, not going overboard after my diet restrictions were lifted was a little difficult, and when my body started fuctioning normally once again, the man and I decided that while whipped cream, a nice pecorino cheese, or a couple of lumps in my coffee weren't terrible on occasion, we needed to make some changes in our eating habits.  My insides- and my rounder-than-it-used-to-be tummy would thank me later.

    Still, I have urges to satisfy.  While I've been pretty proud at my replacing a milky, sugary latte with a plain double espresso, and only taking a bite of the shared dessert we order, I still have cravings for sweet. 

    Enter Citrus in Honey Syrup.

    Beautiful, tasty, and with zero white sugar, this dessert can be perfect on a plate alone, on a beautful flan (if you, like me, aren't watching your dairy intake), dropped into bourbon, or sliced up on a salad.  Simple to make, but with a definite wow factor, these little babies have helped me skip the Italian Creme Cake.

    Peel 8 citrus of your choice with a sharp knife, being sure to remove any pith.  I used navel orages, but blood oranges or grapefruit are just as beautiful, and just as tasty, if not more so.  

    Squeeze any leftover juice out of the peel and into a large saucepan along with the juice of a lemon, 2-3 cups of water, and a quarter cup of local honey, as well as a teaspoon of vanilla, if that's your thing.  

    Bring the mixture to a boil until it begins to thicken just a bit.  Remove from the heat and drop in the fruit.  

    Allow to cool in the pan, then remove fruit into a serving dish with a slotted spoon, and strain syrup over them to remove any lemon seeds or extra pulp. 

    ** I am not a healthcare expert. If you have questions about your diet, please consult a professional **

  • Business Wardrobe- the Capsule

    Read almost any organization blog, or follow any fashion blogger, and chances are you'll hear about this thing called a capsule wardrobe.  Originally coined as a term in London by shop owner Susie Faux, the "capsule wardrobe" idea has grown to be a trendy thing itself, almost defeating the orginal purpose of the concept... 

    I'm getting ahead of myself...  Read Ms. Faux's multi-post breakdown on building a capsule wardrobe here.  A concept she began in the 1970's took quite a few pages for her to explain, but I'll break it down this way: Invest in fewer pieces that are of higher quality so that they last longer, make you happier, and can replace more of what you already own.  If-like me- you're a woman in your 30's, I'm sure you remember your early 20's when Fridays were spent buying 17 pieces at Forever 21 all for under $50.  They were cute, they worked in the club that night, and more than likely, they fell apart in the dryer.  

    Back to my original statement: what we now read about as a capsule wardrobe is anything but.  We're told by multiple sites and articles that these wardrobes can be built by adding in "6 Easy Capsule Staples this Fall!" or "The 4 Pairs of Shorts you Need for your Capsule Wardrobe!" If you're constantly adding, you aren't editing down- that's the idea of a capsule...  Edit down your closet so that it's not bursting at the seams with poor-quality pieces.  Quality over Quantity.  Secondly, once you edit, edit, edit, you'll realize what you're really comfortable in.  You'll discover what works in your day-to-day life, and you'll be more inclined to search for those pieces that you're confident will work with multiple pieces in your closet, as well as in your work and casual life.  

    While I'm as guilty as any of us when it comes to seeing a killer pair of shoes and clicking "Buy Now," I've made a more conscious effort lately of making sure my drawers and my closet contain pieces that really work for me.  

    I love the idea of a daily uniform (look at Steve Jobs with his turtlenecks and jeans, or Mark Zuckerberg with his t-shirts, Johnny Cash with his all-black suits) for eliminating the stress of the "what do I have to wear" question.  For me? It's cropped black trousers and white or ivory silk shirts.  I've eliminated the need for figuring out what goes with what, and I've whittled down my work wardrobe to a few pair of pants (I love J. Crew's pixie pants and stretch trousers), and an assortment of year-round blouses (Vince, Ann Taylor, and Banana Republic abound). That's not to say I don't have fun pieces- just yesterday, I snagged an animal-print Burberry silk dress- but I do try to focus on what I know works day-to-day, what makes me feel comfortable and confident, and what I know will last.

    Need inspiration to get started on your own overflowing closet? Check out Meg Biram's Life Edit and Wardrobe Pallete articles, the Be More With Less capsule wardrobe guide, and notes from Elite Daily and Forbes on the everyday uniform.

    ** pants- J. Crew, shirt- Ann Taylor, shoes- Coach, sunglasses- Tom Ford **

    ** this post is not sponsored in any way **

    ** photography by Kyle Lueken **

  • Setting the Table for July 4th

    I'm fortunate enough to have a cool birthday- the song "Born on the 4th of July" always had meaning in my house, and the holiday birthday has built in me a serious love of fireworks.  Over and over I heard that the entire country celebrates with me.  More often than not, I'd have those checking my ID or asking my birthdate comment on such a celebrated date.  It's been fun, but not without its downfalls.  For instance, I was a summer baby- in grade school, I never had the opportunity to get free cake from the lunch ladies on my special day.  My parents could never help my class throw me a party.  Perhaps worst of all, I could never choose my party theme.  What if I wanted Cinderella or Little Mermaid decorations?  No dice.  It was star spangled everything, whether I wanted it or not.

    Since I've gotten older, I've been lucky to have the freedom to set the table for myself, if you will.  Being one who loves to host, I usually find any excuse I can to plan a party, set the scene.  My idea for a 4th of July tablescape? Keep it simple, keep it fresh, and minimize at least one of the red, white, and blue.

    In our home, I've laid out a white cloth, and all white dishes alongside blue and white striped linen napkins tied with kitchen twine.  A centerpiece of draping green Amaranthus keep the table from looking too plain, and the white blooms of Agapanthus lend a look of a just-burst firework!

    Desserts are simple- individual blueberry-topped cheesecake pies- while a summery blueberry mojito offers a glimpse of pinky-red, thanks to the processed berries. 

    Happy 4th of July, friends!  May your holiday weekend be beautiful!

    Blueberry Mojito

    Blend several blueberries in a food processor or Vitamix (estimate 4 berries per serving), and divide among collins glasses. In each glass, add a wedge of lime, and muddle.  Top with 2 ounces light rum, and 3/4 ounce simple syrup and stir.  Fill glass with ice, 4 more blueberries, and 5 fresh mint sprigs. top with soda water and enjoy!

    ** photos by Kyle Lueken **

  • Bellaire Update

    If you're following along on my Snapchat (@joycekduncan), you've seen that as of today, I have walls in the Bellaire house!

    While the sheetrock still needs to be re-mudded and sanded, I can see the place beginning to take shape.  The deep, blood red walls that were in the dining area and kitchen really make the space so dark- just seeing white walls made the space seem so much larger! The addition of the new drywall also means we can finally move forward with ordering cabinetry, and the disappearance of all the old joists and plaster that were laying in the rear yard means that landscaping can soon begin!

    I've returned to Lowe's to work with one of my favorite Jennifers- a cabinetry designer who's a pro at maximizing storage space and seeing the vision in my head before it goes on paper.  We've decided to stick with a relatively plain door style- the Deveron in a full overlay from Kraftmaid.  In maple hardwood, finished in a deep, cool stain called Slate, these will appear smooth, chic, and pretty modern.  I'm hoping to find a dark, matte countertop. Flooring will be a dark oak, and lighting and accessories will stay black or brass.

    Stay tuned friends.  Huge steps forward in the next couple of weeks!

    ** all photos by Kyle Leuken **

    ** this post is not sponsored in any way **

  • Summer Bedding

    Readers, I'm not sure where you join me from.  Some months, I see several logging in from Chicago, Cleveland, San Franciso, and, for some reason, Brazil, and while I'm sure that our climates don't always mirror each other, I know that some of you- like me- hate to be too warm on summer nights.  

    You may remember me discussing wanting to build my bedding collection.  After much deliberation, and reading review after review, I finally bit the bullet and bought the Venice Linen set from Parachute Home, and haven't looked back!

    Not inexpensive (a fitted sheet, duvet cover, and two pillowcases for a king will set you back $439), but not cheaply made either, the linen is a nice weight, soft, and cool to the touch.  The duvet cover offers ties inside to keep your insert in place and a hidden button closure, the fitted sheet is elasticized all the way around, and all pillowcases have an envelope closure on the rear, which is a nice, clean touch (no exposed pillow edges!).  We bought a leightweight down insert from Target, and, while the lack of a flat sheet took a couple of nights to get used to, I haven't slept this soundly or comfortably during the summer in a few years. 

    Thanks to the weave of the linen and the pale, blush color, my bed now has a casual, comfortable summer feel to it.  The natural texture of the linen makes me think of summer pants, swinging hammocks, and easy breezes, which makes me all too happy to store my not-very-breathable silk quilt and fur throw for the season, and makes me wonder what else I can do to transition my home for summer.  For now, though, before too much more deliberation, I believe I'll lie down for a bit.  Zzzzzzz....

    ** this post is not sponsored in any way **