Friday, May 30, 2014

Tips On Writing Thank You Notes, And A Look At Stationery

I feel like the handwritten note is really becoming a lost art.  I, for one, love to give and get handwritten mail, don't you?  And nothing does a better job of expressing your gratitude for a gift or a particular kindness than taking the time to compose a note to the gift giver.  Not to mention the fact that I absolutely love pretty stationery.  Personalized papers, monogrammed cards, lovely folded notes, I love them all.  I could just have drawers full!

Tips for Writing Thank You Notes

  • Timeliness is appreciated.  Try to get to your Thank You Note out as quickly as possible.
  • If you are late in sending it out, don't despair, and also don't simply give up on it.  A late note is better than no note at all.  Just be sure to apologize for your tardiness in the first few lines of the note.  
  •  Begin with a greeting.  Dear Aunt Lauren...  Be sure to mention everyone who deserves credit for the gift or act which you are mentioning.
  • Express your gratitude.  Exaggeration is not needed.  Simply say Thank you for...and mention the gift or act for which you are thankful.  In cases where I am writing a note of thanks for a gift that was given during a party or event, I first like to express thanks to the giver for attending said function.  It is always nice to know that your presence was just as appreciated as your presents.  
  • Mention ways in which you will use the gift, or how it will impact your life.  The scented candle smells lovely and is such a pretty addition to my bedside table...
  • In situations where the gift was money or a check, there is no need to mention specific sums.  Simply thank the giver for the generosity of their gift, and be sure to mention how you plan to use it.  
  • I always like to then make a mention of regards for the future.  It was so nice to see you, I look forward to seeing you again at Granddad's Birthday Party...
  • And then mention an additional thanks.  Thanks again...
  • Use a proper closure.  Sincerely,... Best Regards,...With Love,...
  • Remember, thank you notes are not just appropriate for tangible gifts, but for anytime that someone does a particularly special act of kindness for you.  
  • Take your time to write legibly (this one is particularly hard for me!) but be sure the note is handwritten!
  • Keep in mind that someone took the time to purchase the gift for you, and five minutes spent writing a thank you note will go a long way to express your gratitude.  

Some lovely stationery to get you started...

1.   //   2.    //   3.
4.  //    5.  //     6. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hollywood Inspired Living Room

Today I was checking my regular blog roll, and, as usual I looked in on Cupcakes and Cashmere.  Today she is featuring a link to a post about the beautiful interiors of Nancy Meyers Movies.  Think, Somethings Got to Give, The Holiday, It's Complicated.  These movies all feature home interiors worth drooling over.  Reportedly, Ms. Meyers as director of these films, has quite a bit of influence in the look of these movie-model sets.  With those images fresh in my mind as inspiration, I decided to create my own version of a Nancy Meyers themed living room.

Here is the Living Room Set from Somethings Got To Give

And here is my version:


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The "Write" Idea - Incorporating Writing Desks Into Your Design

One of my favorite things to do in a Master Bedroom design is to incorporate a writing desk.  These are such lovely, and often feminine pieces of furniture.  Utilizing a writing desk with a lovely chair in place of a night chest or table one on side of the bed provides certain unexpected interest in a bedroom, and keeps things from looking too matchy-matchy.  And as a bonus, they are useful pieces as well.

Writing desks are also great for providing "office area" in small spaces where a full size desk would be too heavy (visually) and where space is at a premium.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Nordstrom Distractions

I had meant to have a completely different post done for today, but I managed to get completely distracted by looking at the Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale.  So, I decided to just go with it, and give you some of my favorite picks from the sale.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Beach Bag Essentials

Summer is almost here.  We made our first official beach outing over this past weekend, and I am so ready for that to become a regular event.  Here are a few beach favorites of mine.  Including my two favorite sunscreens.   I feel like I have tried every sunscreen possible, and the La Roche Posay Anthelios Sunscreen is the only one I have found that is actually kind to my sensitive face and also keeps it protected.

More beach bags to love.

1./    2./    3./     4./    5./    6.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Updating the Laundry Room

In yesterday's post I presented several dream laundry rooms.  Any one of those rooms featured would certainly make laundry a bit less arduous.  However, I live in reality, and in reality, my laundry room is not even close to any of those.  In case yours isn't either, here are some tips for livening up your laundry room.

  • Be brave! A small space such as a laundry room is the perfect place to use wallpaper.  I know that often times wallpaper can seem like a big commitment, but when you apply it in small rooms it has such a huge impact without a huge risk.  Take a look at this space:

Even Target now has wallpaper selections.  One of my favorites from their collection has some similarity to the paper in the photo above. 
Devine Color Diamond Wallpaper - Horizon

  • Never underestimate the impact of changing a light fixture.  Especially in a small space such as a laundry room, it will make a huge difference.  So pull out that florescent light box and replace it with a lovely pendant lamp or small chandelier.  
  • Add a small area rug to the room.  Be sure it does not overwhelm the space by taking up the entire floor, but choose a rug that is more than just a small mat.  I am a big fan of using an indoor/outdoor rug in the laundry room.  They are so durable and can sustain muddy shoes and detergent spills. 
  • If your room does not have cabinetry, opt for open shelving on the walls to give you extra storage space.  Sturdy, deep shelves will be your best bet.
  • Use a decorative bin or basket to hold your laundry essentials, such as stain remover and dryer sheets.  This is especially useful if you are using open shelves.  With shelves, you want to use baskets or bins to corral all the clutter and keep your shelves looking neat. 
  • Keep a large basket or bin handy to toss in all those random socks and dishtowels.  This will keep them out of the way  and off of the counter or top of the washer until you have a chance to wash that load.
  • Add some fun accessories.  Artwork, a cool rolling wire hamper, a glass canister to hold your powder detergent...all of these things will bring some fun and personality to your space.  
And if I put it all together it looks like this:

Monday, May 19, 2014

Inspiration for Monday - Laundry Rooms

Doing the laundry is one of my least favorite household chores.  That feeling is just made worse by the fact that it is never ending.  I once heard someone point out that everyday a family of 4 is wearing a full load of  laundry.  Every single day.  That thought alone makes me want to run and hide from my laundry room.  So I thought that for all those of you, who like me, dread the never ending process of laundry, maybe a beautiful space in which to do the laundry would make it just a little less terrible.  Maybe.

Here are a few lovely laundry rooms to daydream about.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Design Love - Baker Furniture

I have a love affair with Baker Furniture.  Baker is the epitome of class and elegance in the world of furnishings.  They are modern, yet timeless.  Every piece is a picture of beauty.  All of this perfection means Baker Furniture pieces are an investment.  With that in mind, and also the fact that I have two small children and two large dogs,  a room full of Baker is not on the horizon for me anytime soon.  But a girl can daydream...

Here are some of my favorite pieces.

Thomas Pheasant Moderne Platform Bed / Barbara Barry Glass Front Cabinet
Lacquer Console Table/ Barbara Barry Signature Lounge Chair

Jacques Garcia Atrium Chair / Laura Kirar Neue Sofa
Michael Smith Glebe Bedside Chest / Thomas Pheasant Paris Writing Table

You can find all these pieces and more at the Baker Furniture website.  Furnishings can be purchased through your local authorized Baker Furniture dealer.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

From Design to Fashion

This week I have spent quite a bit of time looking for blue and white porcelain.  These searches also led me to come across some beautiful porcelain print clothing.   So, I thought I would put together an outfit with one of the pieces that really caught my eye.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Touches of Blue and White

The lamps I featured in yesterday's post had me thinking about blue and white porcelain accents.  While these decor items are typically traditional, they can be used as an accent in an array of different styles, from traditional, to transitional, to Shabby Chic.  Just remember to use them sparingly.  A little goes a long way.

See it in action...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Make An Entrance

The foyer, or entryway of your home, is the first thing that people see when they enter your house.  This area really sets the mood for your entire home.  When I was in the process of designing and building my current home, I was so excited to have a defined foyer.  We designed it so that it is an open area that leads to the Living Room on the left, the Dining Room on the right, and forward to the Family Room.  A very classically traditional layout.  I was so excited about this space because I saw it as mine, a mess free zone that should always stay clean because my children would have no cause to play in there.  Sounds reasonable, right? Well, the kids really have no interest in the space, but it has become the dog's favorite place to hang out. And he sheds.  He sheds like no short-haired dog I have ever seen before(good thing I love him dearly). Oh well.  As they say, best laid plans...

Anyhow, before I go get out the vacuum again, here are a couple of foyer idea boards.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fun Finds for Friday - Anthropologie

Happy Friday! Anthropologie is a great store to find unique looking decor for your home.  It is perfect to pepper in a few interesting pieces in your home to showcase your individual style.  I just wanted to share a few fun new things I found at Anthropologie.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dreamy Master Bedroom

I have loved the art piece "Storm Over the Marsh" by James McLaughlin for a long time.  Unfortunately, right now there is no where in my house I can fit it in.  So instead, I have been daydreaming of a beautiful Master Bedroom where it would fit in perfectly.  Soothing blue-gray walls, a luxurious linen upholstered headboard, fluffy white bedding, antiqued mirror accents, and a chaise to lie on and read a fantastic book. Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

/White Bedding/ Antique Mirror Lamp from Hobby Lobby / Artwork/  Armoire/
Sherwin Williams Paint Color SW7613 Aqua-Sphere

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Crush on Blush

I am really loving the color Blush lately.  This pale pink is so lovely and feminine, and so popular right now.  I really love it combined with white, tan, and gold.  So fresh and clean feeling!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Problem Solvers - Skirted Tables

I am a firm believer that skirted tables are far too neglected in the design world.  To me, skirted tables are under appreciated pieces of furniture.  Why? Because they are so versatile, elegant, and most importantly, inexpensive.

A skirted table is a great way to bring a feminine touch to a Master Bedroom as the side table for "her" side of the bed.  Round skirted tables are great for smaller rooms where you really need to squeeze a table into a corner next to a sofa or chair, but you don't want it to feel squeezed in.  Conversely, if you have a larger room and you need a larger table to fill up a big empty corner, a skirted table is a great solution. And did I mention the fantastic hidden storage possibilities?   Also, not ready to invest a ton of money on an expensive dining room table, but you still want your room to look great in the interim?  A larger skirted table is just the solution for the time being.  With the right fabric choice, it will be elegant enough for your dining room.  Then when you get around to buying the dining table of your dreams, you can fold up your table, store it away, and bring it out when you need extra seating for a dinner party.  Two problems solved at once!

To achieve the look, just be sure your tablecloth grazes the floor.  You can also dress it up a bit more with a glass topper, or give it a little glamour with an antiqued mirror topper.  The antiqued mirror topper is especially lovely in a bedroom.

So you might be wondering, "what size tablecloth do I need?"  This should help:

A 72" tablecloth fits a 24" diameter table that is 24" tall.
A 84" tablecloth fits a 24" diameter table that is 30" tall.
A 90" tablecloth fits a 30" diameter table that is 30" tall.
A 96" tablecloth fits a 36" diameter table that is 30" tall.
A 108" tablecloth fits a 48" diameter table that is 30" tall.

Ballard Designs has a great variety of options for table sizes.  They call it their Terrific Table, and you can view that here.  And tons of options for tablecloths here.

Here is an example of a skirted table being used in a Living Room:

Making a statement in the foyer:

Some lovely square skirted tables on either side of the bed:

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Kids Rooms In Progress - Take 2

Yesterday we looked at some options for decorating Big Sister's room at "A's" house.  Today I am going to present some ideas for Little Sister's room.  "A" and I had talked about a few different ideas regarding Little Sister's room.  We had discussed decorating the room in a shabby chic style, and I had also put forth the idea of a Parisian theme to the room.  Themed rooms are usually not in my repertoire, but sometimes for kids rooms I will make an exception.  Especially if it more hints at a theme rather than screams it.

And so here are the idea boards for Little Sister's Room,

Open Frames from Hobby Lobby

Paris Print Storage Bin from Lowes

Framed Tin Wall Art from Hobby Lobby

And whether Parisian or simply shabby chic, the Little Sister definitely must have a chandelier.  I found this cutie 

We selected this color for the walls, Sherwin Williams SW6309 Charming Pink
(can I just say that this swatch does not do this color any justice, it is simply lovely)

Happy Friday!  
Questions, comments and side notes are always welcome!
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