Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Midwest Fall Fashion

You know the line in Gilmore Girls, "Wait. Close your eyes and breathe. I smell snow."? Well thankfully I'm not smelling snow, but I am smelling fall. The time of year the world goes pumpkin spice crazy, pulls out their riding boots, and starts preparing for holidays. However, if you're located in the Midwest like me, the weather tends to be a little less predictable. You can start out the morning feeling chilled, be sweating on your lunch break or afternoon errands, then be freezing again by evening. It's very difficult to dress for this sort of weather. In an attempt to help, I've pulled together two outfits that should help you and it involves a key aspect: layering. Thin layers that you can remove or add as necessary to match the current temperature. 

Wear to work has always been difficult for me for some reason. Lightweight, sleeveless sweaters seem like a good option because they aren't overwhelming and bulky. A cropped pant is an easy summer transition and I love the idea of white with a pair of beige booties. A gold choker and a statement cuff keep the look trendy yet classic. After the sun goes down, add a pea coat to keep your arms warm and opt for a bright color to make a statement. Pea coats tend to be pretty nice looking and they are thin but incredibly warm.

choker / cuff / pants / top / shoes / coat

Weekend wear is probably my favorite because I live for a good pair of jeans. While the rest of the world is on the legging train, which I ride occasionally I might add, I'm over here feeling good about my denim. And while I love skinny jeans, there's something good about a flare leg in the fall. They work well with boots, add some curve to your silhouette, and just feel right with a leather belt. I always make sure to wear a shoe with some height to help elongate the look and keep your jeans from overwhelming your frame - very important for a shorty like me. So that's what I went with here - dark wash flares with a slouchy v-neck. This mustard color has fall written all over it and will pair so well with army green when you throw on a military jacket in the evenings. If you don't own one yet - go for one with some kind of interesting detail like patches or embroidery. It will immediately up the visual interest. Add a lightweight scarf for some pattern.

belt / denim / tshirt / shoes / jacket / scarf

Friday, August 18, 2017

July Favorites

l'Occitane Almond Hand Cream - If this is only item on this list you read, it may be ok (no, please don't stop reading, I have lots of goodies!) because this one is by far my most used item of the month. For an unknown reason, my hands have been incredibly dry and I just can't get enough hand cream on them. I love the scent of this one plus it feels like such a treat to apply because it leaves my hands feeling so soft and smooth. If you aren't willing to splurge, at least put it on your Christmas wish list for your stocking.

Rosamunde Pilcher Novels - I read two this month (The Shell Seekers & Winter Solstice) and I'm completely adoring Ms. Pilcher's writing style. She is a British writer as since I'm obsessed with all things European, they were both right up my alley. The novels are fairly easy reads but truly entertaining because of the cultural references. I thoroughly enjoyed both stories and look forward to reading more; my mom claims to have loads of them in her book collection.

Yogi Egyptian Licorice Mint Tea - Maybe it's the British novels, but I've found myself loving a cup of tea in the evening. I'll cozy up on the patio (unless the humidity is unbearable) with my novel and a cup of tea as a way to unwind for the evening. There's something slightly sweet yet fresh about the taste and I find that it doesn't need cream or sugar, which is an added bonus.

Lucy Wyndham Read fitness videos - This gal makes it easy for anyone to add in a quick workout. From her 4 minute HIIT routines to the walk-at-home options to the total body toning workouts, every video I've ever watched has made me sweat. She encourages and explains things easily, plus she offers alternate moves when you need to make things a little bit easier. A bonus for me is that I've also become extremely more aware of my posture - I find myself pulling my shoulders back and holding my head a little higher. Oh, and did I mention she's British? I'm sensing a theme here.

Mirage Chandelier Earrings - If I put these on once, I put them on a dozen times in July. With a sundress and sandals for dinner out, ponte pants and blouses for the office, or cut offs and graphic tees for running weekend errands, they enhanced any outfit. The gold and white finish just seemed to go with everything, plus they are so lightweight it makes them easy to wear.

(image via @styledbymann)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Planner Covers - Free Printables!

My planner goes everywhere with me. It is always in my purse and I refer to it all the time. Because it's always on me, I want it to look good and match the season. Unfortunately, buying a bunch of different covers isn't in my budget (because I buy so many stickers *see no evil emoji). So I thought I would share some free printables that will get your planner through the rest of the year. When I make my own covers, I print out my cover (make sure to print them full size and not fit to page, unless you you're wanting a different size all together) and take it to Staples where they can be laminated in 10 mil laminating plastic. I've found it's worth it to have them do it then to purchase the laminating paper and machine to do it myself. 

If you need help with how to make your covers, here is the tutorial I use!

The holiday choices include Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I love that I can swap these out every couple weeks to match the holidays. Those three months just go so fast!

I also included some non-holiday options that are good year-round!

Click here to download the style or styles you want.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Creating Cohesion, Part 5

As a designer, I tend to play with my home decor quite a bit. My husband jokes that he can't leave me at home for more than a couple of hours or our house will not look the same by the time he gets home. Which, even though it's a joke, it does have a whole lot of truth to it. Furniture swapping, walls being painted, a new project - I'm not afraid to give something a go and even try something unconventional. So today's post is here to inspire you to play around in your home decor.

What exactly does this mean? It means that your old nightstand could work really well between your armchairs in your living room. It means the mirror above your fireplace could be stunning in your bathroom. And it means the dining room wall that's starting to look a little plain could look great with a bold new paint color. Trying something unconventional may stress you type A personalities, however, starting off slowly, like swapping around furniture, is the best way to start. It's immediately reversible if you hate it and it hasn't done any damage. This little step pushes your comfort zone and could make you realize your furniture/decor/style is more flexible than you think.

Once you've become more comfortable with switching things around, start thinking about your walls. There are lots of wall treatments out there that can bring the style of your home to the next level. A few of my favorite concepts are below. All of these are great options for getting comfortable playing around with your style in your home.

Adding wood planks to a wall in small areas do a couple of things. First it makes it gives the appearance of being thought out - because it was. When you intentionally add features like this it immediately upgrades the feel of the room. There are lots of different ways to do this, including using paneling (inexpensive and sometimes can be inexpensive looking), installing wood flooring (somewhat easy to install and fairly simple since it could already be finished), and using standard planks of wood (more labor intensive but always worth it).

Another wall option is to choose an area to add a chalkboard finish. Keep the square footage small as not to look messy. Use this area to write inspiring quotes and write reminders. The key to this looking finished is to make sure it's trimmed out in a way that matches your home. Adding a light fixture at the top of the wall really makes it a feature.

A lot of people cringe when they think about wallpaper. I understand - there is some bad looking stuff that came out of the 90's and for those of you who have been lucky enough to remove it (or even wallpaper border which is worse looking in my opinion), please hear me out! Not all wallpaper looks bad. And there are some great removable options on the market now. Adding a pattern to your walls, whether subtle or bold, it can dramatically change the atmosphere of the room. Make sure you buy samples and look at them in the lighting of the room where it will hang. Tape it up on the wall for a bit if you're uncertain.

I really hope these ideas inspired you to get creative in your home. Make sure to click here to check out all the other parts of Creating Cohesion in your home!

1 / 2 / 3

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Back to School

Because the beginning of the school year, no matter how old I get, brings along the smell of a fresh start. It means buckling down and getting organized. It reminds me of fresh, clean notebooks and tidy lockers. Another chance to do better than the last year, experience something new, meet new people, and learn new things.

Yes, I'm one of those adults who loves the back-to-school season. The supply aisle in Target is my favorite place to wander. In fact, I had to make myself not purchase all the unicorn and Boston Terrier folders - because what in the world do I need folders for? Unfortunately, not a thing. But that's not to say that I can't use this time to pack a new bag full of new supplies I can use. I've rounded up a few great things to cure my desire for back to school shopping.

1 | Nothing like a new planner to give yourself a fresh start. Erin Condren planners have become my favorite and this year they came out with a great size to carry in your bag. It's a hard bound planner with a horizontal layout. There are four color options, each with a different interior pattern.

2 | Being the bookworm I am, I like to carry some kind of book with me. If you commute to work, that's a great time to read. This book, Bloom by Estee Lalonde, is a combo autobiography and self help book that explores navigating life and discovering your own bloom story.

3 | Notebooks are my biggest weakness in the stationery world. May Designs is my all-time favorite because of their brilliant designs and personalization. You pick and choose from tons of options, from monogramming the cover to what type of paper you want inside, making each notebook unique. They have three sizes to choose from and the paper cover makes it lightweight to carry around.

4 | You can't talk stationery without mentioning PenGems. They are adorable pens with a gemstone on the top and crystals packed into the barrel. The grip is a coordinating or matching color and the metal comes in gold or silver - depending on the collection. Not only do they look really fun, you can also swap out the ink cartridge to different colors, ink types, and weights you desire.

5 | As a planner girl, I use Post-It notes all the time. Ask anyone who has seen my desk. I saw these coffee cup ones while perusing Target, and they come with a second pack that looks like donuts. Sold!

6 | Headphones have become nearly a necessity in this technology-driven world. This pair by Jaybird are a great option for the woman on the go. They are wireless and bluetooth, making them super convenient. The battery life is 8 hours and it only takes 15 minutes to charge. They are designed for working out, so they can withstand sweat and jarred movement without the concern of them slipping out while you move. Four color options are available.

7 | bkr glass water bottles have recently become a very trendy item - and for good reason. Covered in silicone, they are easy to hold and drink from. While you would expect them to be heavy since they are glass, surprisingly this size is under 1 lb., making it easy to carry with you. Each season a variety of fashionable colors are released, so you can always coordinate to your other accessories. Also, the best part in my opinion, no concerns about BPA and dishwasher safe!

8 | Keep yourself organized but filling your bag with pouches. One for your chargers and headphones, one for your makeup touch-ups, one for your pens, etc., etc. My new favorite is this black, faux leather embroidered with eyelashes. You can't tell me that's not the cutest little pouch!

9 | It wouldn't be much fun if you didn't have a new backpack tote bag to carry around all your goodies. The Watson Lane Maya by Kate Spade is perfect - a cleanable surface both inside and out, large enough for everything but not super heavy, and available in four great colors perfect for all seasons. I absolutely love the nylon fabric because it's so durable.

What is your must-have back to school accessory? And have you already jumped on the bkr water bottle bandwagon? Tell me what you love about yours.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Creating Cohesion, Part 4

When you first move into a new home, usually you're facing a lot of empty walls and empty spaces. Our first instinct is to fill them with whatever we can find first. We purchase place-holders or put up things we don't really like. When we make sacrifices like this and use items that have very little meaning or purpose, it has a negative impact on the space. So, I'm going to advise you to leave a little empty in your home.

The idea sounds crazy because often the trend is to throw stuff up on the walls just to cover the walls. Pinterest is flooded with gallery wall encouragement - and I'm a fan of gallery walls, don't get me wrong. But choose what you display carefully and don't feel the need to hang something because something should go there. Embrace your minimalist side for a bit. And give yourself time to collect.

I've said this before on the blog, a space should feel collected - not decorated. Pick things up when you see them and love them. Know where it's home will be before you buy it. Choose things that remind you of places and people. Quality over quantity.

One thing that really helps the minimalist look work is texture - mixing your wood, metal, fabrics, and, most importantly, your plants (see last weeks post all about plants!).

To encourage your minimalist side, here are some of my favorite simple and beautiful rooms I've found online.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Click here to read all five parts!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New Home Must-Haves

Moving into a new home can be SO. OVERWHELMING. With all the people you need to contact to update your address - utilities, post office, cleaners, doctor's offices, family and friends, there's always something to do to keep you busy. Not to mention unpacking boxes! Confession: we moved into our home four years ago and I just unpacked our last box when we made over our guest room this spring. I know it's ridiculous; I have no excuse.

Today, with my friends over at Casper, I wanted to share six things to put on your shopping list to make settling into your new home much more relaxing. After all that work, you deserve to enjoy yourself a little! Not only did we make this handy list, I have curated a few of my favorites for you below, complete with links to make your life easier.

1 | A fresh new rug can feel so good on your tired feet. A floor covering can add some personality to a room, help with acoustics, and just make a room feel lived in. I love this choice from Lulu & Georgia because it's very reasonably priced and neutral enough to go with any decor style and your existing furniture. If you have little ones, maybe go for something highly patterned and brightly colored, to help hide staining.

2 | Artwork is a great way to add color and personality to a new room. If you are new to the town, I highly recommend visiting an art show to purchase your new piece. Not only will you have something beautiful for your walls, you'll also be supporting local artists and have an opportunity to socialize with your new neighbors. This beauty I'm showing above is by a local painter and former framer I've worked with quite a bit. I love the series he created inspired by the turtles in the river in our city.

3 | There is nothing better than slipping onto fresh sheets and pillows at the end of the day. When we moved into our home we bumped our existing mattress over to the guest room and picked up a new one for our bed. Immediately the bedroom felt like luxury escape, amidst the clutter of boxes around the house. Create a sanctuary in your bedroom so at the end of the day you can't be bothered by the to-do list and you can get some much needed zzz's. Casper also makes it super easy on you - no need to schedule a delivery time or haul the mattress yourself. Your new one shows up in a neat box right on your doorstep.

4 | Recently I've loved using my essential oils in a diffuser. You can easily create fresh or calming scents just by adding a couple drops of your favorite blend to a diffuser. My personal favorite is lemon, peppermint, and lavender because it's clean and refreshing. If you're wanting something a little more relaxing, try lavender and eucalyptus.

5 | New home, new life. Adding some greenery to your living spaces really breathes new life into a space. While a real plant is preferred, a good ol' artificial one can do the trick for you black thumbs. I may be speaking from experience on this one; I have actually killed air plants and cacti. No sense in risking it if you're anything like me.

6 | Possibly the easiest must-have, a new doormat can do wonders for making you feel good about walking into your new house. There are millions of styles out there, just choose one that represents you and your family. I love the classic look of this one but there's nothing wrong with a bold colorful pattern either.

What are some things you would encourage someone to pick up for their new home? Whether it's practical or for comfort, leave your ideas in the comments to inspire others. If you have anyone in your life getting ready to move, or just recently moved, be sure to share this page with them!

p.s. If you are ready to purchase from Casper, I would love for you to use my referral link! It saves you money and also puts something back in my pocket. xoxo

Friday, July 28, 2017

Creating Cohesion, Part 3

Over the past year and a half I've discovered how much of a difference plants bring to a space. They add a necessary life to your home. A glance of green leaves just seems to bring a vibrancy to a room that can't be captured otherwise. There are also lots of positive health affects of having living plants in your home. Some can help purify the air, they release moisture into the air helping with humidity, and some can provide a lovely scent. The internet is littered with articles about plants improving human life, so if you're really interested in the benefits, give it a good ol' Google search.

In the first two parts of this series (here and here), we managed to clear things out and determine a color palette. Now that you have a great base settled, adding the natural element will dramatically enhance your space. First, it shows that you are a responsible adult and can take care of something that's somewhat high maintenance (*ahem, see the exception below). Also, plants are a little unexpected. While you may be used to seeing a vase of fresh flowers, or the unfortunate elaborate silk floral arrangements that seem to hang around well after their lifespan and collect dust, plants tend to be a little more unique and free-flowing.

While doing some research for this post, I came across a great article on Lauren Conrad's site. It goes into how to plant for interiors, how to deal with dead roots, and other basic information for beginners. She also had this pretty illustration of the best plants to keep alive.

*Now, I say all of this with a grain of salt - I'm the worst of the worst when it comes to keeping plants alive. Throughout the past three years, I've killed about 15 plants. Finally I've come to terms with this fact and switched to faux plants, but it was really rough going there for awhile. That being said, I cannot give you any good advice for keeping your plants alive - you'll have to do your own research on that.

If you fail like I have (eventually I'll climb back on the horse for another go, but it's just too soon), find yourself some good looking faux plants. I suggest you stay away from ordering online, unless you have seen them in person first. Do your research. It's easy to find bad-looking fake plants. To help you get started, I am including a couple of resources that I've found.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

The first three are from Ikea. They have decent faux plants at great prices. Make sure you look for good ones, sometimes they have been picked through pretty well. "Replant" them into a nice pot and you're good to go. The second three are from Pottery Barn. They are little more expensive but look really good in person.

Now, to further inspire you and prove why you need plants in your life, a little selection of some of my favorite rooms.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Patio Mini Makeover

Back in May I shared a few things I wanted to do to our patio to really take it up a notch. Instead of following my plan for a simple makeover, which included about three new things, I basically scratched the plan and went for something completely different. Make sure you check out that post after this one so you can laugh at my well-laid plans.

Enough laughing, let's move on to the good stuff. Next summer I'm hoping to gut our existing patio and have a new one poured or install pavers, all depending on our budget for the year. So this mini makeover consisted of some new furniture pieces and some plants. Of course I have no before photos because I'm mega lame, but the only thing on our patio at the beginning of summer was our small swing, an old coffee table, and a gorgeous mosaic top table I had made. Here is the after.

We picked up this gorgeous dining table from Ikea, along with a couple matching chairs and from there my simple project was thrown out the window. Then I discovered this great lounge set on Wayfair for a steal so I figured I may as well go all in. Now when we install our new patio next year, theoretically, I won't need to buy a single piece of furniture for it. Theoretically.

The sign was a DIY project by yours truly. I was inspired by my friend who offered me the piece of metal. I loved the color and knew it would go great against the house - just barely contrasting, but the perfect background color to add some teal and green.

The dining table is made of pretty acacia wood in a warm tone that goes well with the brick. To keep the wood from really overwhelming the space, I opted for metal chairs in the middle. The best part about the table is that the ends can drop down and take up a much smaller footprint, which is how we will leave it most of the time for the two of us. When my order from Wayfair arrived, I was really happy to discover the color matched my dining chairs almost perfectly. The loveseat is also the perfect length for my short self to stretch my legs out while reading and sipping on iced tea.

Since our house is this pretty shade of rusty brick, I wanted to really pump up the color by adding complimentary shades of blues. My outdoor mats really set the tone and it was so easy to find various shades of blue and green to add in with the accessories.

Since I didn't want to plant anything permanent until next summer, a couple of potted plants were the way to go. The yellow and orange added a fun bright look. Now I just need to keep them alive; yikes. Our dear little swing still fits perfectly with all these new pieces, which is great because we can now seat so many people.

The only thing still missing is some kind of storage. I still really love the wooden storage container from Ikea, but I think it would be too small now, considering I doubled my number of cushions. If you have a great cushion storage container please leave me a link in the comments!

If you're wondering about my darling mosaic table, she actually got moved out to our fire pit along with the blue metal chairs. She's the perfect size for KJB and I to eat at while roasting over the fire. I also spray painted our existing metal chairs blue so they all match. I may share that set up in a separate post later if you're interested! I've listed all my sources below in case you are needing patio furniture of your own. The best part about buying now is nearly everything is on sale!

Dining table | Wood chairs | Metal dining chairs | Lounge furniture set | Table runner | Cloth napkins | Lumbar pillow (similar) | Square pillow (kinda similar, great source regardless) | Throw blanket | Tuorquoise floor mat | Blue and green floor mat (similar color) (similar pattern here, but more of a rug instead of a mat)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Creating Cohesion, Part 2

Creating a color palette for your home can be overwhelming, especially if you have a large home. But this is a fun, creative project, so feel free to let loose a little and play around with online tools to help you visualize.

Starting the process can be a bit daunting, so to ease you into the process, I'll share a few of my favorites in the image below. Following these steps and the selections below will get you started.

The trend cycle of neutrals can change, but they tend to last longer than colors. My best advice to to consider what type of environment you want to create and the architectural style of your home. Warm tones (A, B, and C below) tend to work well in spaces that are traditional, primitive, transitional, arts and crafts, Asian, country, French, and Mediterranean. Cool tones (D, E, and F below) are more popular in art deco, coastal, contemporary, eclectic, mid-century modern, modern, and shabby chic.

Once you choose your neutral, this will be considered your field color and you will paint all walls this color, with the exception of your accent walls. The next step is for those with painted trim and doors. You have a couple options here as well, and again you will want to consider your style. Contemporary homes typically have white trim, but it is also increasingly popular to opt for a taupe (see G, H, and I). If you decide to choose taupe, your selection should contrast your field color.  Go two steps down on your paint deck. If you selected a cool tone field color also move a couple of strips to the warmer shades. If you selected a warm tone, move a couple of strips towards the cooler shades. This helps to really neutralize the color and add contrast. If you tend toward an eclectic style, skip selecting a trim color and go for one of your accent colors. It should be colors that are almost black, like midnight blue, forest green, oxblood (see J and K below). This will add a lot of interest and look super unique. For modern, art deco, and mid-century modern black or very dark gray will accentuate the lines of your home (see L and M below)

a/ Sherwin Williams Macadamia b/ Sherwin Williams Softer Tan c/ Sherwin Williams Panda White d/ Sherwin Williams Passive e/ Sherwin Williams Gray Matters f/ Sherwin Williams Argos g/ Benjamin Moore Cotton Balls h/ PPG Winter Mood i/ PPG Shadow Taupe j/ Sherwin Williams Ripe Olive k/ Sherwin Williams Charcoal Blue l/ PPG Phantom Mist m/ Sherwin Williams Inkwell n/ PPG Aria o/ Sherwin Williams Ceiling Bright White

Next is the fun part, choosing accent colors. This will really be your preference, but I do have a couple of tips to steer you in the right direction. Unless you want your entire house to be very light and pastel, select your colors from the middle of the paint deck strips. The colors here will be saturated but not so dark that your colors all look alike. The number of accent colors depends on your personal taste and how big your home is. The bigger the house the more physical space for more colors. My home has eight rooms total and I selected eight colors but only plan to use four for paint colors. I can use these extra colors as inspiration for other decor like pillows, art, and rugs. Also, if I get tired of a color, I already have a batch of accent colors to choose from.

Last but not least, ceiling color is incredibly important! Unless you have an interesting architectural element that you want painted your trim color, I encourage you to opt for a cool white. Even if your walls and accent colors are warm, you don't want your ceiling to come across dingy and dirty. A bright and cool tone of white will keep your space from feeling enclosed.

For reference, my home is mid-century modern but I do tend to bring in a lot of eclectic elements. My doors and trim are all wood, so I don't have a trim color. If you're not sure what your style is, head over to Havenly and take their style quiz. It's fun because it's short and scary accurate!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beat the H E A T

Pool float - Flamingo or Swan preferred.
Keep your ice from melting in a pretty seafoam version of the best cup ever.
In 20+ years your face will thank you from protecting it from UV rays.
Constantly smell like summer with notes of bergamot, amber, coconut, vanilla, and mandarin. Yasssss!
I've blogged about this bronzer so many times you're probably sick of it. Let me force it down your throat some more.
Every shop everywhere has tassel earrings. Get you some so you're not left out.
Because it keeps the mosquito's away and when you forget to put it on, it clears up the bites in a snap.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Creating Cohesion, Part 1

Happy Friday my dear friends. Even though we have summer showers in our forecast today, I'm patiently waiting for my clock to hit 5:00 so I can start my weekend. It's my second long weekend in a row and I'm looking forward to keeping it low-key and spontaneous. That's the best way to spend summer weekends!

Today I wanted to kick off a new series on the blog to address a topic I think many lust after: creating cohesion in their space. Over the next several months there will be all kinds of insider tips to taking your home to the next level. So many of my friends are in the same boat: they still have some of those college furniture pieces that have definitely seen better days but they also have some great things they have invested in. How do you mix and match those pieces and still make your space seem "finished" or "adult" and not a hot mess? So far, I have a list of my favorite five things you can do to tidy up the loose ends in your home and feel confident about your space, including my favorite, selecting a color palette.

To start us off though, I'm keeping things really simple. The first step of any project is to clear out the clutter. Did you buy that vase just to take up space? Get rid of it. Has that rug been a hand-me-down for a couple years? Pitch it. To make it super simple for you, here is an easy checklist to follow.

1. Did you buy it?
2. Did you buy it because you love it?
3. Was it gifted to you by someone special?
4. Does it work (if it's an appliance or electronic)?
5. Does it evoke memories or happy feelings?
6. Is it appropriate for some room or space in your home?

Comb through your shelves, drawers, and hiding places. If the items you find don't meet most of these, I strongly encourage you to donate it or sell it in a garage sale. Do not keep things that you feel obligated to keep. If something doesn't fit your style but is still in great shape, offer it up to a friend who may love it. (But don't make them feel obligated to take it either! No one likes an instigator.) More often than not, your home is filled with place holders - impulse purchases or "this wall needs something" purchases that have little purpose or meaning.

Clearing out the clutter will make you feel lighter and less stressed. It's proven that not having a focal point, a place for your eyes to rest, can increase anxiety levels. Isn't it bizarre that the one place we are meant to feel most relaxed could actually be stressing us out?! So this is the first step. Lighten your load, then come back to see part two.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Feelin' all the patriotic feels today. So much so I may just buy me a dog to carry around in a tote. That might be a little much though, so instead I'll dress in some stripes and eat cold, themed foods. Like the rest of America. ;)

Friday, June 30, 2017

5 Things

It's the end of another month and I still haven't started on my New Year's Resolutions. Let's call it a fail an move on, shall we? One of these days I'll be able to put my foot behind my head. Just kidding, that's not it.... kinda.

June has been pretty okay to me, including bringing these five stars into my daily routine. First, the new Stella & Dot engravable bangles have me wanting a dozen to stack on my arm, each with a different message. These puppies hold a whooping 45 characters in various fonts and even some cute symbol options. Allllll the bangles, please.

Kate Somerville's AntiBac miracously made it into the top five after a rough start. Note to self: READ THE DIRECTIONS.  My rash from May hung out for a week on my cheeks, but after starting a second time, I'm proud to say all those little milia bumps around my eyes are goners.

In an attempt to change up our metabolism and try something new for our personal health, KJB and I switched to low-carb. After a week of that -ish, I realized I needed some bread and my hunny was begging for biscuits. Enter the most delicious almond flour by Bob's Red Mill. Everything I've made with it has been satisfying and wonderful.

After adding some fun color to my hair (picture here), I needed to find a good shampoo and conditioner that is color safe but also helps out my dry scalp. This Kenra conditioner literally smells like heaven. Ok, I'm not sure how heaven smells, but I hope it's like this. Oh, and no complaints with the shampoo either.

These mirrored sunnies actually found their way to my heart earlier in the year, but I've been popping these on erryday in June because SO. MUCH. SUNSHINE. I love the pinky-purple and the shape really suits me, if I do say so myself.

Tell me your stand out favorite from June in the comments!!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer '17 Tunes

With a glance at my music app, anyone would know I have quite a wide taste of music. Throughout my life my favorites have evolved but also stuck with me along the way. A love of classic rock started when I was young, then came the pop diva's of the mid-90's, followed by boy band swooning (including my first *NSYNC concert and a dozen after that). Late in high school and all throughout college it was country, country, country, along with a little hip hop and rap since I had to know the beats when going out to the club (i.e. a dirty little college bar where your feet stuck to the floor). Country music stuck with me for quite awhile and I still don't mind it too much. But within the last five years I've grasped onto contemporary Christian and 90's hip hop, which is probably a bizarre combination to most. Now, I find myself listening to a little of everything, with the exception of heavy metal, which has never really been my jam.

So for the summer I put together an ultimate summer 2017 playlist. I've linked my actual Spotify playlist here to make it super easy for you. Some upbeat, some dreamy, some old, and some new. All good.

If you prefer to look them up and add some variety to your own summer playlist, here's my list of songs:

Words by Daya
What U Workin' With? by Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake
Say My Name by Destiny's Child
Start a Fire by John Legend
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Deep Blue Something
Starving by Hailee Steinfeld, Grey, Zedd
Ain't My Fault by Zara Larsson
We Don't Talk Anymore by Charlie Puth and Selena Gomez
Complicated by Avril Lavigne
Diamonds and Dreams by Castro
Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls
Something Just Like This by the Chainsmokers and Coldplay
Knee Deep by Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett
Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee
Runnin' Down a Dream by Tom Petty
Where the Party At by Jagged Edge and Nelly
The Cure by Lady Gaga
Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See by Busta Rhymes
The Monster by Rihanna and Eminem
Slow Hands by Niall Horan
There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back by Shawn Mendes and NOTD
Fantasy by Mariah Carey
Lookin' Out the Window by Stevie Ray Vaughan

Friday, June 23, 2017

coming into 31

No, this is not a post about Thiry One bags which I have a love/hate relationship with and could be another blog post on it's own, but I would never bore you with my feelings on that. This is about *gulp* my 31st birthday, which slipped by earlier this week. While I really adore my birthday and typically like celebrating my entire birth-week, this year I've become less enthused. Any other 30-somethings out there feeling the same way? There's just something about being "in my 30's" that feels a little icky to me.

Mostly I feel pretty proud of the things I've accomplished in my life and, mostly, I consider myself a confident person. Through my career I've gained experiences that I never imagined, including a bit of travel, really interesting aspects to construction and design, and the pleasure of working with phenomenal people I've grown to call friends. Now, working in a job I can see myself in for the long-haul (which I think is really saying something at my age), I feel a nice balance with my work life and personal life. In my personal life, KJB and I celebrated five years of marriage and in that time we have learned so much about who we are together and discovered our goals for union. One struggle that I've always had that I finally feel like I have a handle on is my introverted-ness and mental health. Accepting that and finding ways to live with it has become one of my greatest achievements, because I now understand my boundaries. Becoming confident in my decisions to protect those things took time, but it is now also in a good balance. Lastly, I allowed myself to release the pressure of this blog, by dramatically relaxing the schedule, and social media, by removing myself from Facebook (except the occasional video of my nephews and niece), Snapchat, and Twitter. Instagram is easy and non-threatening for me, so it's the only place I'm really active.

Unfortunately the insecurities sometimes still sneak in. Regular questioning from others like, "when are you going to have children?" or "are you happy with that job?" can sometimes make me question the decisions I've made. As a young girl, I would often daydream about my adult life, and my current life looks so different from that daydream. It makes me wonder if I did something wrong along the way. These things create huge doubts, tug at my fears, and isolate me into loneliness. It is these things that leave me hesitant to celebrate my birthday loud and proud.

This past week was spent with a gaggle of fifth graders at the church Vacation Bible School. These soon-to-be middle schoolers left me a bit inspired. If you have been around my blog for any length of time you've picked up on the fact that I'm a Jesus-lover, an advocate of love, peace, and hope. Having the opportunity to listen to the questions of young believers can be so refreshing, because generally the answers are so simple. I, and most other adults, tend to over-complicate things. But the simple clarifications were stimulating.

"No one was made to be perfect. Jesus came to be that. Strive to love like He did in every aspect of your life and know that makes you enough."

In my 31st year on Earth, I hope I learn to take my own advice.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Living Room MAKEOVER?!

Okay, okay. Maybe I'm not currently planning to makeover my living room. Actually, let me just reassure my husband who may or may not be having a panic attack at the thought of another room makeover. Side note: three rooms/areas are currently getting a face lift this summer, and KJB might kill me if I suggest another one right now.

BUT there is no reason I can't daydream about the perfect living room. I can't help it; I am an interior designer for a living! It's to be expected. Anyways, my dream living room isn't too far off from what I have now, so it's not like it would be a massive project. Just a few items... am I talking myself into? Shhhh.....

Let's get into the look. It's pretty neutral with lots of texture variations and materials. There is nothing better about a room than successfully combining fabrics, metals, glass, and wood. With these soft colors, it keeps the space natural looking. This encompasses my style pretty well, a bit of glam with the matte gold, my love of the artisan feel with the highly detailed console, and the modern look of low, straight lines. I did go a little out of my comfort zone and pulled a couple of armchairs that are more traditional in style. But the pattern is lovely and the soft tones are perfect. I think they add to the glam feel. Also, a white and black geometric rug goes with everything, so it's the perfect investment piece. It could be switched out to be used in any room.

I love that these pieces provide such a great base for my current accessories. Wooden boxes, ceramic vases, plants, photographs, throw pillows - they will all layer so nicely. Most of these pieces are from Arhaus because their style is (insert hair-flip emoji) perfection. The pieces are super stylish yet classic, and give you that "lived-in" vibe. Toss a blanket over the arm of that couch when you're finished using it and it looks like it's meant to be there. All of their living room offerings are lovely!

What are the components of your dream living room? How would you describe your style?

Friday, June 16, 2017


Girlboss on Netflix. It's not the best show I've ever seen but hearing the story of how Nasty Gal came to be, and the crazy personality of the main character, I was addicted on the first episode. With only a couple shows left, it was an easy watch and pretty funny.

Already this month I've been to three of the surrounding states which has to be a new record. Cincinnati called to us when I discovered my beloved Braves were playing the Reds. Earlier this week I went to Chicago for the NeoCon trade show and I nearly melted with temps in the upper nineties. KJB is in Tennessee with family and this is maybe the longest we have been apart since we were married! Lastly, later this month we are going camping where I'm sure we will actually melt.

My Stella & Dot Wesley sunnies have been on repeat because I love the mirror lens. They are so on trend for summer and make me feel 10 years younger because of that.

At the beginning of the month, KJB and I decided to try out low-carb life. Surprisingly it's been super easy for me (not quite so much for him) considering our traveling and eating out. While our reasoning for the trial is for health purposes, I've also noticed a change in energy the past couple days. The third and fourth days were the worst because we both had sugar withdrawals, but it's been up-hill since then.

Several new IKEA pieces this month have me constantly assembling in my free time. We unexpectedly picked up a suite for our guest bedroom and it has completely transformed that room. Next up is our new patio furniture, which I changed my mind on several times after I shared my inspiration post. Hopefully I can share a finished makeover with you soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Anyone that knows me will tell you that sunglasses are my weakness. Next to jewelry, it's the accessory I have the most of, which may be slightly ridiculous since you can only wear one pair at a time. Hanging on the wall next to my vanity is a old metal pant hanger where I have all of my sunnies lined up in rows. Having them on display really helps me to rotate them, plus they are easy to put away and can't get piled up on my dresser (like everything else).

Anyways, I really wanted to share Warby Parker's new sunglasses collection, inspired by 1950's fashion. The mixed materials and the bold browline are super on trend for this summer and I. CAN'T. WAIT. to get my hands on a pair. Before I continue with gushing about this line, first some background on Warby Parker. The basis of the company is frames you can try on at home, by ordering up to five sample pairs. They arrive in a neat little box, ready for you to find your perfect pair. My husband and I have both taken advantage of this because I've never loved the frames available at my local doctor, and ordering online can be so risky. These people must be genius because it's incredibly convenient and the best way to find the perfect fit. As if that's not good enough, they also partner with nonprofits to give a pair of glasses to someone in need every time a pair is sold. Shopping with a conscience and getting a great product.

Back to this new collection. There are a couple different styles but I'm a major sucker for tortise shell anything so Addie is my favorite and the pair I've decided to get my hands on. The black pair (Hayes) I'm considering for my husband because I think the black will look classic on him. 

Being a retro fan, I'm really crushing on this collection. The fifties vibes are strong and have me thinking of feminine fit-and-flare silhouettes, wrap dresses, and pastels. When I first saw the images Warby Parker released I had to find some great pieces to pair with the sunnies. Once I get my pair I'm definitely coming back to share a couple of my favorite looks for summer..
Seeing fashion and trends evolve is so fun because while there are similarities to the retro look, there's always something updated about it - like the material, the neckline, or a fresh color palette. Warby Parker definitely got this collection right with timeless, classic designs. Be sure to check out the Insta hashtag #WarbyHomeTryOn to see how others are successfully finding eyeglasses and sunglasses that look amazing on them.

(moodboard items are all linked on my Pinterest)

Friday, June 9, 2017


Maybe it's an heirloom passed down by a great, great grandparent. Perhaps it was a gift, given to you by someone you hold dear in your heart. Or maybe it is something you purchased yourself that signifies a mile-marker in your life. These are treasures; the things we have that stir memories or make us feel love. We all have them and they look different for everyone. What I'm particularly interested in is the way we care for these treasures in our homes. Do you keep the safe and hidden, so that only you can enjoy them? Or do you put them on display for guests to see? And if you do put them on display, do you do so in a way that shows off how special it is to you?

While my day job is in commercial design, one thing I love about residential design is discovering these treasures. They always have a story associated with them and they bring forth some kind of emotion. I once saw a quote on Pinterest that said, "A room should be collected, not decorated," and that fully fits my style in my own home. Slowly over time, I've collected treasures that I love to display. Nearly everything I own has either been gifted to me, I've made, or has been collected. The drawing in the living room from New Orleans, the painting in the guest bedroom is from Nassau, the dining room table cloth is from Los Cabos, and so on. These particular items remind me of travel, but they also let me support local artist from the area I visit.

When considering all my treasures, I think of one in particular, which I call my inspiration wall. To anyone else, it may look no different to any other gallery wall. Various sized images all framed and hung together on a wall. But this gallery wall is special to me. Centered in the middle is the guest book from our wedding. It's a drawing of a small home that my Dad drew for me with dozens of balloons, lifting the house into the air. Each balloon is a thumbprint from a person, couple, or family that attended our wedding. Now, while many people thought I did this because of the Disney movie, Up, which I've unfortunately never seen, I actually had a different purpose in mind. The home signifies our new family - small and quaint, perfect for two lovebirds. The balloons lift the house representing our support system, which helps us and encourages us through our marriage. Each of these people are special to me.

Surrounding that image are various quotes and verses that uplift our spirits when we need it and remind us our our purpose in life. By donning our walls with these words of encouragement, we are reminded of peace and love every time we walk by it. Some of these are purchased by artists, some I've created myself. By locating the inspiration wall here, it is visible to the most rooms possible.

What treasures do you have in your home? If you are needing help finding a way for your treasurers to stand out, or have no idea where to start with designing your home, I encourage you to check out Havenly. This is a service I recently discovered, that includes a fun style quiz and matches your results with designers across the world. They also have a shop with page after page of furniture and accessories. My quiz results said my style was Scandinavian with a touch of Bohemian, which I think is spot on for the type of items I like to buy for my current mid-century modern home. If you take the quiz, let me know what your results say!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Mental health tracker - P R I N T A B L E

Today I wanted to share a fun printable I made for myself to help me track my mental health wellness. The older I get the more I notice how things affect me - both mentally and physically, so I thought it would be interesting to try tracking things. The items I've included on the inserts are things that I need to do for my mental well-being. Some of the items are laid out in a "checklist" style with boxes to mark off, but I don't consider them a to-do list. For example, prayer is not something I do so I have gratification of checking it off my list. It is more-so for tracking, to mark my mindset for the day. There are some days I focus more on prayer and less on praise music. Marking those things on these inserts could be interesting to compare with the other things I'm tracking, like my mood, the amount of sleep I get, etc.

Download the inserts here!