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!

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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.

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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