Friday, August 29, 2014

Links Worth A Look

Here are a few links from the week that are definitely worth your time.

1. For those of us with daughters, it can be so difficult to respond to comments and questions about body image from our little girls.  We want so much to protect them from the we want so much to protect them from the pressure that society imposes on them, but we really can't.  This mom and blogger has lovely words for her daughter in this post.

2. My absolute least favorite abdominal exercise.  Which probably means I need to do it more!

3. Some eye candy for my addiction to old houses/buildings.  I just love all the detail in historic architecture.  I can look at photos like this all day.

4. Some often overlooked expenses when decorating, though I would say that their cost estimations for these items are definitely on the low end.

5. A little hint of an upcoming project I have in the works. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Recipe: Summer Corn Chowder

First off let me make one thing clear, I am not a chef.  In no way, shape, or form am I a chef.  What I am is a wife and mother who has a bit of a love/hate relationship with cooking.  I have a few set criteria when it comes to recipes.
 1. It must taste good. (pretty much everyone's top billing)

 2. It must be simple enough that I can make it in a limited amount of time while my oldest child is needing help with homework and asking for yet another snack while recounting everything that she learned that day at school about the growth cycle of a tomato plant; and the younger child is pulling everything out of the art cabinet and spilling glitter all over the floor (bonus for glue!) and also asking for another snack.

3. It has to be at least somewhat appealing to my picky eaters.  Because I refuse to be a short order cook.

Sound familiar?  If so, you will like this recipe.

Chop peppers finely.

Little tip: if you want bacon bits, just use kitchen shears to cut the bacon right out of the package, it will separate while cooking.

Saute bacon, onion and peppers.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Queen of Clean: Fun Cleaning Supplies

So let's be honest, cleaning your house is not so much fun.  Granted, there is definitely a great feeling of satisfaction in the finished product, and no one (well most people) wants to live in a messy or dirty home, but the actual activity of cleaning is drudgery.  I can admit that I am not going to win any awards for best housekeeper ever (if there even were such a thing), and I readily blame having two children and two large dogs to blame for that, but still I do my best.  Cleaning up, like laundry is a never ending process. So here are a few fun items to brighten the job.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Take A Look: Birch Lane

Today I want to share with you a new furniture and home decor retailer I have discovered, Birch Lane.  I was not familiar with this company until I received their catalog in the mail a couple of weeks ago, but I really love some of their pieces.  They offer a nice array of styles in both furnishings and accessories, and their prices are fairly reasonable.   I would consider their price point to be on par with Pottery Barn.

I have pulled together a sampling of some of my favorite pieces from their collections, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Outfit: Work-able Casual

The whole notion of having a "Mom wardrobe" doesn't elicit a positive reaction in me.  Don't get me wrong, I love being a mother, it is the best decision I have ever made.  I just tend to picture the classic SNL Mom Jeans skit whenever I hear an outfit being described as a "Mom outfit".  I am not disparaging anyone else's style of dressing, it just isn't my style.  That being said, I am always trying to find a balance between presenting myself in the manner in which I am accustomed, and finding outfits that are workable with my daily life.  While being a mother is fantastic, I still want to be sure that I am keeping a true sense of who I truly am as well.  Sometimes that can be difficult.  Unfortunately, running after a four year old and volunteering at school don't really work well in a pencil skirt and heels(as much as I do love a pencil skirt and heels).  I love the combo of a little shift dress that can be paired with some cute flats and a great necklace.  Super easy instant outfit.  This look also works great in an office or many other workplace environments.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fall Wish List

So, it is about 95 degrees outside, so I really can't believe that I am doing a post on Fall items, but I just can't help it.  Fall is my favorite season, and I love all the warm colors, leather, and boots that go along with it.  Here in Florida, we won't see anything that even resembles Fall until umm...maybe November, if we are lucky.  But a girl can dream, right?  It's especially hard not to start thinking about Fall since all the stores have already started bringing out their merchandise for the next season.

Here are a few of the things I have on my list for when the cooler weather finally hits...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Links Worth A Look

Some recent links that are definitely worth a look:

-The absolute dreamiest of dream closets.

-While the new owners of this home may or may not be some of your favorite people, there is no denying the amazing beauty of this home and it's interior design.

-Fun dorm decorating ideas for anyone heading to college.

-Advice on how to re-upholster that chair that desperately needs it.

-Getting ready for football season with these tailgating hacks.

-A fish dinner I would love to try.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

"Her" Office - Home Office Ideas

-This white writing desk with the cutwork detail on the sides just screams "girly!"
-This mirrored brass tray is the perfect place to corral all those small desk accessories.
-A pale pink ceramic lamp to light the desk area.
-Blue and white ginger jars would be great just as they are, or as a vase for some beautiful tall flowers.
-Feminine and frilly gold frames.  The more the better!
-This blush pink wall color is so warm and light.
-The varied tones of gray stripes in the upholstery of this chair play nicely off the area rug colors.
-An area rug like this one with a large open overall pattern leaves plenty for options for coordinating fabrics and feels modern without feeling stark.
-This blue and white porcelain garden stool adds a delicate touch.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Perfect Tee Shirt

Jennifer Aniston really has sophisticated casual style down to a science.  I don't think that many people would argue with me on that one.  I have hardly seen anyone look so pulled together in a pair of jeans and a tee shirt, but at the same time make it look so casually effortless.  I was reading this interview with her the other day, and she mentioned that she has her tee shirts tailored to fit her.  A little light went on for me.  As much as I am a proponent of having clothing tailored, and am aware of what a huge difference good tailoring can make, it had never crossed my mind to tailor a tee shirt.   It is really sounding like a good idea to me.  Granted, it could get a little pricey, but for a few favorite tops, it seems like a great plan.

Here is my round up of perfect tees:

Top Left  //  Bottom Left  //  Center  //  Top Right //  Bottom Right

Check out the link up below:

"His" Office - Home Office Ideas

-A great pair of antique brass lamps.
-A kilim rug is ultra durable and adds color and personality without being too fussy.
-Audubon prints are always a classic.
-This writing desk will not take up too much visual space in a room, yet it still provides storage with ample shelves.
-A simple desk chair with timeless style.
-This globe is especially fun because of it's chalkboard sphere.
-Vintage books can be purchased off Etsy, or at a local book resale store.  Remove the book jackets and they are great for accessorizing.
-I love the modern industrial feel of this desk clock.
-Every guy loves a leather arm chair.  With it's saddle colored leather and nail head trim, this one is a sure fire favorite.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer Trends: Full Midi Skirts

I am just loving the full midi skirt trend this Summer.  I just think that they are adorable.  They feel like such a 50's throwback, without too much kitsch.  The shape is so feminine and universally flattering, it really makes  you wonder why it has been out of the collective consciousness for so long.  But for certain it is back, and there are so many to choose from.

I pulled together some of my favorites, and (bonus!) they are all well priced.  A few are super inexpensive!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Gratitude - Finding Joy In The Little Things

Beautiful and unusual flowers that cover a pergola in my parent's backyard...

Trader Joe's Lemon Kitchen Soap.  Smells yummy, comes in a cute bottle, and is super cheap!

A friendly butterfly...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Roland Mouret Collection for Banana Republic

Today Banana Republic opens it's new Roland Mouret collection.  There are several beautiful pieces, but I really don't expect them to be around long!  When I was putting this post together yesterday, they were having a pre-sale for BR card members and one of the most anticipated dresses, the black and white colorblocked sheath, was already gone!  I am fully expecting Banana to replenish their stock, but even with that, I am sure it will sell out quickly.

Here are some of my favorites:

One Shoulder Dress in Navy Star  //  Sleek Black Zipped Jacket  //  Classic White Button Down  //  Little Black Dress

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Floral Pants

How fun are these kimono floral print pants from Goodnight Macaroon?...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gift Ideas - Welcoming A New Neighbor

Before my husband and I moved to our current neighborhood, we spent six years living in the historic district of our local town.  We really loved living in the "district" not only because of the mature trees, brick streets, and beautiful homes full of character; but also because of the sense of community and the true old-fashioned neighborhood feel.  Everyone knows everyone there, and stopping to talk to a neighbor as they sit on their front porch is just a part of daily life.  We really miss that aspect of living there.  We do like our current neighborhood, we have the house we love, and things are quiet there.  Just sometimes too quiet.

Modern neighborhood design has it's positives in many ways, we have further setbacks, larger lots, higher fences, and garages in which to park our cars; but as much as all these features grant us more privacy, they also get us into a pattern of keeping to ourselves.  It is so easy to get into the routine of: go to work, drive into the garage, walk into the house, and close the door.  Getting to know our neighbors takes much more effort.

With that in mind, I made a decision not too long ago, that I needed to make a commitment to be more neighborly lately.  And as luck would have it, the house next door to us finally sold and we have some new neighbors.  Time to live up to my promise.

Never wanting to welcome someone empty handed, I decided to make some scones.  I always feel that when a gift has a little bit of a handmade element (whether food related or not)  it just shows the recipient that you put in some extra effort.  Extra effort makes everyone feel special, doesn't it?

A quick trip to World Market yielded me a bag of yummy lemon poppyseed scone mix, the cutest little mini jars of jam, a colorful fabric napkin (found on the clearance rack) and a moderately priced, yet simple and timeless baking dish.  Yes, you read that right.  A bagged scone mix.  I said a little extra effort, not spending all day in the kitchen sifting flour.  I am perfectly comfortable with using pre-made baking mixes.  Most of them taste great, and sometimes the difference in time saved is enough to convince me to do it in the first place.

This handy little mix is super easy (I can't stress enough how easy) and made a perfect batch of scones.  Notice the little tiny one at the top of the tray...that one is for me! I had to make sure that they tasted good before I gave them away.

Seriously, how cute are these little jars of jam?

I lined the baking dish with the napkin, placed in the cooled scones, and tucked in the mini jam jars.

 Folded up the napkin and finished it off with a grosgrain ribbon.

I also included a welcoming note that included our contact information (phone numbers and names).  I am the worst ever with remembering people's names after first meeting them, so I always figure having it in writing is a good thing.  And giving a neighbor your phone number is always a good plan.  You never know when they may need to tell you that your dog has escaped the backyard fence...again.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Decorating A Girl's Room With Zebra Pattern- A Refreshing Take

Today a Facebook friend of mine posted a plea for help.  Her 7 year old daughter was ready to redecorate her room into a big girl room, but her heart was set on zebra print.  It can be such a tough line to walk as a parent.  As much as you want your child to be happy with their room and to feel like it mirrors their personality, most of the time if you let a 7 year old take the lead in decorating a bedroom, it is going to look like an entire Justice store exploded in the space.  If you can't quite imagine what I mean, just go on Pinterest and run a search for "Girls Zebra Bedroom".   I wholeheartedly sympathize with my friend who is facing this dilemma.  My eldest daughter informed me that she would like to redecorate her room with a "Space Theme".  (Really.)  I am not sure how I am going to tackle that one.  I had to inform her that "Mommy doesn't do themes, dear.  We incorporate elements into a design to create a mood."  Not sure that she bought it.  Luckily I told her that we are not redecorating her room again until at least next year.  That buys me a little time.

But, back to the matter at hand.  Zebra does not have to be scary.  I know that often times, people have an aversion to animal prints because, let's face it, they can be tacky.  But honestly you will hardly find a bigger fan of a good animal print than I.  A good animal print in a good fabric is truly a neutral.  Meaning, you can use a good animal print in just about any room, as long as it is done in a way that blends in that room's style. Think of it like a fantastic pair of calfhair leopard print pumps.  They are so versatile. (And my absolute favorite pair of shoes, too!)

So the way I am approaching this room design is to allow the zebra print to accent the otherwise soft and girly features of this plan.  I chose a lavender color for the walls and part of the bedding because purple is a natural evolution of black, and therefore it feels very calming against the black and white palette.  The furniture, bedding, drapery, and lighting are very feminine and soft, which offsets the boldness of the zebra pattern.  The entire look together is feminine, fun, girly, and just a touch sophisticated.  The best part is that the zebra is all incorporated in accessories that can easily be changed in a few years when she has tired of that pattern and decides that she wants something else.

Zebra Pillows  //  Lavender Quilt  //  Zebra Upholstered Bench  //  Initial Pillow  //  Light Lavender Color  //  Darker Lavender Color  //  Tiered Ruffle Drapery Panels  //  White Matelasse Coverlet  //  Zebra Art Print  // French Dresser  //  Chandelier  //


  • For the bedding I am suggesting a combination of the Lavender Pottery Barn Quilt and the patterned white matelasse coverlet.  I would use the matelasse as the bed cover and fold the lavender quilt at the bottom 1/3 of the bed and then use the lavender pillow shams.  Add in the black and white monogrammed pillow and one of the zebra (figurative) pillows.  This combination of colors and textures will add interest to the bed. 
  • Either paint existing furniture with white chalk paint, and switch out the knobs (vintage style crystal knobs would be fantastic) or incorporate french style furniture like the dresser pictured above.  
  • In this space, lightweight, gauzy white drapery keeps the room so fresh and girly.  The ruffles help keep things from being too serious. 
  • Ok, so I added this bench pictured above more for a feel than for the actual piece.  Because this piece is priced a bit higher than I would be inclined to use in a child's room.  This would be a great DIY project, though.  If that is attempted,  keep in mind that what makes this bench so great is that the base is painted a light color (white/cream with a glaze) and that the fabric is a needlepoint, which adds a richness of texture and keeps it from looking cheap.  In other words, look for a zebra fabric that has a heavy weight and texture.
As an alternative to the bench pictured above, I have a few other options to add a bold splash of zebra to the room that are much more cost effective.  

  1.  The zebra print rug is a great way to bring in a ton of look for a small price ($88 for a 5x7) which can be layered over existing carpet or flooring.  I always like to lay a rug so that it is halfway under the bed, that way it doesn't feel like an island floating in the middle of the room.
  2. This Ikea throw is a great way to bring in the black and white stripe feel of a zebra print without being too literal. 
  3. Same with this Ikea rug.  It is fun and versatile.  It would go great with the figurative zebra pillows and artwork pictured above, and would continue the feel without being too committed to zebra. 
Good luck to my sweet Facebook friend, and to anyone else who is trying to walk the line of making your child happy and yourself happy too!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wardrobe Workhorse: Nude Flats

This is an ode to my favorite pair of shoes: my patent nude flats.  Let's face it, I have a lot of shoes.  Many more than I really need, don't we all?  But my go-to shoe, my never fail answer is a simple little nude patent ballet flat I bought at Target two years ago for around $15.  A chameleon of the shoe-world, they can be dressed-up preppy, or casual cute with jeans, a skirt, or shorts.  I get so much use out of these little babies, I just felt I had to share.

Here are some options, and (bonus!) they are all well priced!

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