Hi All! Give yourself a high-five- you made it to FRIDAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!! Woo hoo! What’s on tap this weekend? Well hubs and I are celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary with a quiet 24 hours to ourselves. I booked a couples massage, scoped out some restaurants and previewed an art fair I am thinking of perusing. Also planning to take kiddos to a movie this weekend and get some overdue yard work done. It is supposed to be sunny and gorgeous all weekend…cannot wait!
So lately I have been feeling totally blech about my style, or rather “overall lack of pulled togetherness.” Perhaps this is because we have NO (and this is not an exaggeration) local shopping options, or perhaps it is because I have happily slipped into the Summer mode called “hair-on-top-of-head”. Regardless, I am feeling the tug of a Fall rebirth to my style. I always look forward to the doorstop edition of the Fall Vogue, and although I am not rushing a Summer that is already moving too fast…here are some fun Fallish pieces I am loving, including my go-to fav, blazers.
Hi All! So we in NY don’t head back to school until after Labor Day, but I know many of you are heading back in early August, including college students who have the exciting opportunity to set-up an amazing dorm room! Here are some fun ideas to personalize your room and show.your.unique.style!
ONE: Personalize your room with artwork or download some of the amazing printables out there.
TWO: Create a custom headboard. I constructed an upholstered headboard for my older daughter’s room using this tutorial and it was easy peasy and can be done on a budget (not speaking from experience or anything, but when you totally change your mind next month it is easy and cost effective to alter).
THREE: Organize your desk area to study.in.style! I was out and about at one of my favs, HomeGoods, and saw these awesome options to give your desk area some PIZAZZ!
Below is one of my favorite pics pulling the look all together:
and lastly, I have been informed by my kiddos that we are doing this at our house for all their homework necessities:
FOUR: Bring in something living. Adopt a plant, orchid, or succulent and it will make the room feel more like home. When I met hubby in college he had a palm-like plant in his senior suite they named Kiki. She actually made it to our first apartment together.
FIVE: You can never have enough bins or storage containers. They hide messes, organize like items, store things, and….did I mention hide messes?
And, as I read this over, I realize that while the top five things apply to ladies and gents heading to college, my inspiration tends to be more for the ladies. So guys, PBDorm has a cool Lookbook for more gentlemanly dorm room designs.
Hi All! As many of you know, Hubs and I are still going around and around on whether to sell or stay in our home having been here 8 years(!!)….. and having not yet found something we love enough to make us move on. Sooooo, in the meantime we are doing some updates to refresh things in the kitchen. The cabinets are in good shape so we started by retrofitting the pantry area to accommodate a 30″ double oven. The oven that came with the house was closer to 24″ and never fit hubby’s prized turkey roasting pan that is still packed away in the attic unused. We have already updated all the other appliances in the kitchen, so we bought a double wall oven to match (stainless as well) and I cannot wait (for hubs) to use it!
I am also looking forward to replacing our laminate countertop and backsplash. It has served us well (I still think laminate has gotten a bad name) but it is time to move on and try something new. I painted all our upper cabinets Simply White (Ben Moore) and the lowers a gray color called Dragon’s Breath (also Ben Moore). All the walls are a light gray called London Fog, so things are much lighter and brighter after making those initial changes two years ago. I am using these inspiration pics for light and bright backsplash and countertop choices, and am sourcing different coordinating options ASAP.
We are also building in the refrigerator that we purchased a few years ago and, like the current wall oven, it was too large for the space where it previously resided. So we plopped it in another area and it has sat there sticking out into the room creating a bottleneck in kitchen prep. Needless to say I am VERY excited to get the fridge in its own designated space. We had gorgeous millwork done for the kitchen entry from the dining room, so I am planning on replicating that on the fridge built-in. Although I also saw this gorg and practical (what!?) pic on Pinterest soooooo……
In order to build-in the fridge we will be moving it 15″ , so we will gain new upper and lower cabinets that we are having made to accommodate more storage. That will enable us to remove the IKEA piece we have been using as an island buffet, and instead add a nice eat-in area, possibly with a banquet under the windows.
I have been dreaming about these pics for inspiration:
And here are some amazing organizational pics to get me inspired as I am getting closer to ripping things apart:
Looking forward to getting the oven in this week or early next, and then tackling some of the kitchen projects around the Holiday Season toward the end of the year.
Hi All! We had a wonderful weekend celebrating our friends’ wedding, for which I had the pleasure of assisting with the design and decor for the tented reception. It was a 40 x 80 tent, so with such a blank slate we turned to Pinterest and made.it.happen! This was a DIY adventure, so when the tent was delivered on Wednesday we jumped in immediately to pull it all together in time for the Saturday afternoon wedding celebration. There were a few hiccups along the way, but everything got done and it went off without a hitch. Below is a pic via Pinterest of what a 40 x 80 tent looks like. I was so busy getting things checked off the list, I didn’t snap our own “before”:
If you are planning your own tented event, wedding or otherwise, I cannot stress enough the importance of creating a traffic flow for guests. We chose to place the bar outside and to the side of the tent in order to create a cocktail and appetizer area. This moved guests away from the tent when they arrived, providing the wait staff a clear path to setup the buffet tables and prepare for dinner service. Additionally, be sure to have a clearly marked area for cards and gifts so guests aren’t having to carry them around while balancing their cocktails and appetizers.
Another important consideration for a tented venue is lighting. The Bride rented globe chandeliers from the tent company, and strung up tons of twinkle lights around the inside perimeter. There were brief periods of overcast weather right as people were arriving, so I was happy we added the globe lights to create a lovely glow.
For the table decor, the Bride purchased mixed vintage plates and flatware and rented goblets and glasses for water. I made 16 table runners from a bolt of light pink chiffon fabric I found on Amazon. I was able to cut it without worrying about frayed edges because I pooled it at the bottom and then tied a satin ivory ribbon on either end of the table (the ivory wired ribbon was purchased from PaperMart). Here is the inspo pic (so glam!):
In addition to vases of hydrangeas on each of the tables, we rented potted plants and trees from a local florist, which made the space feel more intimate and polished. The trees are European Hornbeams and served double duty to provide lighting as well as hide the center poles of the tent. We added white petunias around the tree bases to define the spaces and add even more color.
The Groom’s father made the cool wooden circle slabs for each table (you can find some here and here), which ended up being the perfect bases for the hydrangeas. Due to the humidity, the cold water in the vases caused them to really sweat and thankfully the wooden bases absorbed all the moisture keeping the chiffon runners dry. Flameless candles in various sizes, along with table numbers purchased from Etsy, completed each tablescape.
Lastly, I created this arbor using a rebar base that the Groom’s father built. I purchased floral cages here and affixed duct taped them into place on the rebar. I soaked the foam overnight because it was over 80 degrees with full sun on the day I assembled it. I was so nervous I kept watering it and thankfully it all held up and stayed fresh! We wrapped it all in an ivory muslin fabric that also held up to the passing showers and humidity of the day.
Here are some additional inspiration photos you may find helpful if you are planning your own tented boho chic wedding celebration:
We all had an amazing time, including my kiddos who had the honor of being a part of the flower girl party. The evening was capped off by a visit from the ice cream truck which was thoroughly enjoyed by adults and kids alike. Congrats to B and Z and thank you for letting us be a part of your special day!
Hello All! Hope you are having a great week! I am trying to organize myself ahead of the long weekend to tackle some procrastination projects.. though not very successful thus far. I am looking forward to getting together with friends and taking time to recharge a bit. The weather is not going to be very cooperative, with only one day looking sunny, so I am going to make the best of it and pack it all into one day!
Here are some red, white and blue inspiration photos should you be hosting your own Summer kickoff party:
Hello All! I am still thinking about the wonderful Mother’s Day Brunch we had with our family. It was so nice to get everyone together, and while we couldn’t be outside, it was fun to come together and celebrate the Moms.
Speaking of getting outside, it is gorgeous here today so I made myself several lists (doesn’t everyone?). I know I get this crazy quirky trait from my Dad who still organizes his lists by the weather. Outside projects to be tackled are on one yellow pad, inside on another…naturally. So, in the midst of tackling home and office projects, I am helping my friend style her gorgeous house in advance of her bridal shower this weekend. It was a last minute, let’s do it! so all items had to be sourced locally, not even Amazon Prime could save us. We hit Target, TJ, Michaels, and Lowes and I cannot wait to show you the styled result. Here are some before and afters of their house that I worked on beginning last year, future posts on this to come (with sources):
This was a fantastic project from start to finish because I got to work with people I love, who were adventurous and creative with design and laying out everything from scratch was.the.best. Who knew choosing where the outlets go could make you giddy…oh wait that’s just me? Anyhoo, looking forward to styling this gem with all our fab finds! Sneak peek- we are incorporating this Ikea chair they fell for and the color is AWESOME in the space!
If you are interested in a design refresh just drop me a note via email through the Design Services link above.
Morning All! I cannot believe all six weeks of the One Room Challenge have flown by! (You can check out all the amazing designers and their finished rooms here) I originally thought I would have time to tackle both of my daughters’ rooms (HA!), but quickly realized after plaster repair set me back that I needed to focus on one room at a time. It was down to the wire, painting the bookshelf side table late into the night…the night before the photoshoot. Full disclosure, I was off by a week and thought last week was the reveal. HOWEVER, when I realized my mistake I added more projects…and more late nights. This project was totally DIY so I am happy to now rest, enjoy the room, and celebrate Mother’s Day with my family.
Photo Sources: Bins– Target| Printable– The 36th Avenue| Navy Polka Dot Vase- Michaels (in store)| Flamingo– Target| Curtains– Overstock| Room paint colors (all Benjamin Moore): Walls-Stonington Gray; Ceiling- Caribbean Breeze; Trim- Decorator’s White; Closet Door Abstract Color- Razzle Dazzle; Bedside Bookshelf (see below)- Hale Navy
Photo Sources: Bed (similar)- Pottery Barn Kids| Duvet (similar)- Pottery Barn Kids| Custom Pillows- Sara Langley Designs (my own!)- see shop link above| Blanket– Annie Selke (now only $18 in the outlet!)| Artwork- my own creations
Photo Sources: Flamingo jewelry holder- TJ Maxx|Trophy holder– Michael’s (in store only)| Silver jewelry box- Gift| Shoes– Target| Laundry bin– Pottery Barn Kids
I had a great time pulling this together and am counting down to the next Challenge. Already picked my room…and warned hubby. Now I am off to prepare to host Mother’s Day brunch.. so stay tuned for pics! Thanks for following this adventure.
P.S. Do I really believe the room will stay this way!? Nah, but I have pictures for posterity and accomplished my client’s goal of having more space to play. Now if I can only keep the Barbie Dream house in the playroom!
Morning All! It’s Thurrrrrrrrrsday! Which also means a One Room Challenge update! You can see last week here and check out all the amazing participants’ progress here. I cannot believe five weeks have gone by! Well, here is what I have tackled so far, completely DIY (with a shoutout to hubby for his help installing the trim and laying out the design on the closet door #thatfastidiousnessreallycomesinhandy):
Prep, paint, prep, paint, prep, paint….(you get the idea) for ceiling and walls
Tore out the carpet
Added base molding
Painted abstract closet door design
Sourced new curtains, pillows, rug, lampshades and linens
Created fun desk area and added new chair
Changed up furniture layout to create better flow make my client happy
Tackled closet for better storage and to remove dresser
And, here is my list to complete this week before the final reveal next Thursday. It is all about the details at this point:
Choose art and photos and get them framed and hung
Try my hand at creating a unique abstract as a gift for my daughter.
IF the weather cooperates (they are showing a snowflake for Monday…really!) then I will paint this cute shelf my husband’s grandfather made and incorporate it into the room as a nightstand. It is pretty beat-up having moved with us from city to city, but with major sanding and a few coats of Hale Navy it will shine!
Cannot wait to show you the reveal- down to the wire on this one!
Hi All! Hope you are well! This Monday morning greeted me with a sick kiddo so best laid plans to start the week with a bang have a whole new meaning. I have been looking ahead to Mother’s Day, when I host brunch for our whole family every year, and in doing so I checked the weather and saw that we are expecting rain for the next two weeks. Seriously, cloud graphic with the rain pouring out on every.single.day. Yikes! So, not much I can do about that, but it did get me thinking about the amazing weather we had on our cruise that I have not shared with you…until now (warning- wordy post up ahead)!
In early February we went on a Western Caribbean Disney Cruise and it was AH-MAZING! It was our first big trip with the kids, ages 6 and 8. There was something for everyone and we had a great time! I am seriously still dreaming of the palm trees, sun, sand….and umbrella drinks!
There are a few tips I wanted to share with you should you have a trip planned or are thinking of taking the plunge. These are things I learned through the process of being a first time cruiser, or through our travel agent and/or fellow bloggers who are regular Disney Cruise aficionados.
NUMBER ONE: Pack ziplock bags of all sizes. We used these to bring things with us off the boat for our excursions, but predominately for ice. We filled the bags with ice and then purchased a soft sided Disney cooler bag with 6 bottles of water ($19 and available at debarkation on our first day of excursions). We then refilled the water bottles on the ship, and kept it all cool with the zip bags of ice. The stateroom concierge will bring buckets of ice to your room anytime upon request, or ice is available on the upper decks with the drinks.
NUMBER TWO: Water is free and available on the ship, but only from a dispenser on Deck 11 (on the Disney Fantasy). I had read the recommendation to bring empty water bottles to keep refilling, because if you have a kid who needs drinks at night and you don’t feel like running to the upper deck, you have your water bottle readily available. This worked well for us in addition to the aforementioned cooler we purchased. To save money you could bring all these items ahead, but our packing space was at a premium and as it was we went over on our bag weight on the way home!
NUMBER THREE: The kids club is amazing. Hands down one of the biggest sellers for us. It took my kids a few days to warm up to the idea of going, but once they met the counselors, and saw all the activities, they were thrilled to take part. By the half point in the trip we had a bit of a routine in that we would do the pool first, have lunch, do our excursions in the afternoon when the pools were busier, have dinner as a family, then the kids would head to the club and we would go to the shows or the adult lounges. We would then meet up for the late shows, fireworks, dancing etc. I had no idea how this schedule would work for my kiddos who were used to a 7pm bedtime, but they adjusted without a hitch and we were able to do all the activities they wanted.
NUMBER FOUR: Download the Disney Cruise app to your phone and try not to get overwhelmed with all the options. I remember once we made it onto the ship we went right up to the swim deck (see NUMBER FIVE) and I tried to settle in after days of packing, schlepping, flying etc. Hubby and the kids were immediately at ease while I, like a complete nut, tried to make sense of the packet of papers that were given to us as we boarded. There were schedules of events, notes on food options, character appearances etc. and I was trying to get it all organized in my brain. The app is what helped with this immensely. We had real FOMO with this trip as there were no less than 5 things available to do every.15.minutes. Once I learned the app and saw that you could favorite things and make them into a list for the day, I felt better knowing we would be alerted when Pluto was available for a meet and greet with my youngest, or what time the show was that my oldest wanted to see. It was really fun planning things out as a family because there really is something for everyone!
NUMBER FIVE: Boarding was a smooth process for us- Disney was so organized and everyone was very pleasant. They were clear in the literature that you may not have your bags until that evening (we boarded at 11:30) but somehow I missed that until I read it in a blog. We flew in the night before and I was able to pack backpacks for each of the kids that we kept with us after depositing our luggage at the ship. We all wore our bathing suits under our clothes and had flip-flops, sunscreen etc packed as well. When we got on the ship we were able to go right to the pool and enjoy lunch and an afternoon of swimming before meeting up with our luggage before dinner.
NUMBER SIX: The adult only areas are a terrific option, though we only made it there a few times. We sampled the English Pub to watch the Super Bowl, had some wine at the wine bar, and had a parent’s night out dinner at Remy. There are two restaurants (apart from clubs and lounges) for adults only on the ship and we chose Remy due to the menu, availability of reservations, and price. We got dressed up and had an amazing meal. We enjoyed a few hours together as there was no rush through the meal and dessert, and the kids had a blissful time at kids camp (FYI, kids can eat at kids camp while parents are dining elsewhere). I highly recommend trying Remy (and I heard Palo was delish too) though try and book your reservations ahead to get the time/dates you want.
NUMBER SEVEN: Research the excursions as much as possible. Read other blogs, ask others who have gone, discuss it with your agent etc. I found that for the ports we stopped at, there were not a lot of activity choices available for kids under 7. So, in Cozumel we went to a water park that included food and drink and while we had a section of the beach to ourselves, my kids love the pool and there were no chairs or umbrellas near the water park area, nor were there lifeguards. So hubs and I walked around with our backpacks, schlepping towels etc. so we could watch over our kids. The food was great and it was very clean, but we wouldn’t sign up for it again. Conversely in Cast Away Cay, because it is Disney’s Island, it is set up for families, is super clean, and has amazing food. Definitely a great place to get off the boat and unwind.
NUMBER EIGHT: The shopping is terrific- so I heard! Unfortunately I cannot speak to this myself as we did family excursions in Mexico, Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay, so I did not have time to sneak away to check out the shops. However I was privy to the plethora of items available on the ship and of course we could not go home without Minnie. Needless to say the ship had terrific shopping unto itself that transcends just Disney Merch.
NUMBER NINE: The cleanliness of the ship is five star! I have to admit I was a bit concerned about being on a ship with two young kids…not to mention all the other families and kids, but Disney did an amazing job keeping everything clean and tidy. We were greeted with hand wipes whenever we entered a food area or restaurant every.single.time. They washed the walls in the halls, not just the handrails, and our state room was cleaned TWICE a day. Towels were plentiful and laundered and replaced often, and all food areas had attendants helping and wiping things down. AND, there were attendants in the bathrooms! Five stars from this Mom!
NUMBER TEN: Every day we saw people standing in line at a desk and by the third day I just had to walk by and inquire. Sure enough it was the lineup to book your next cruise! So of course I planted myself in line while hubby took the kids on an adventure and signed us up again. It really was a great deal in that you put down a $200 refundable deposit and then you receive 10% off your next cruise booked within the next two years. Then you get that deposit money back as a stateroom credit. But this deal had to be booked before you got off the boat and the pixie dust wore off. Well played Disney, well played.
Good Morning All! Time is marching on and I am draaaaaagging. How is it that when Spring arrives every year I promise myself to be ready (I was obsessively counting down afterall), and yet I am always doing the last minute scramble. This week, as the weather turned warmer, I found myself less than prepared. The kids need spring clothes that fit, the windows need cleaning (just love seeing that dirt when the sun beams in blech), the deck needs to be stained before we host Mother’s Day brunch, I need a spray tan if I am ever going to go out in anything other than pants, and don’t get me started on soccer cleats. And then the whole spring cleaning thing… is that biological? Why this time of year do I feel the urge to purge everything and give it all a good Lysol wipe down? So what’s a girl to do? Make.A.List. Or possibly several lists. Getting it all down on paper always seems to help….as does crossing things off when complete!
Per my list, today I am diving into our overflowing closets, starting with my daughter’s room, as part of what I want to accomplish for the One Room Challenge. You can read about what got checked off last week here, and follow along with all the amazing designers here. I am struggling with this project because the closet is small….. really small. The opening is just shy of two feet, so I have my work cut out for me! Annnnnnnd my daughter wants to move all her clothes from the dresser into the closet as well, in order to take more furniture out of the room and make more space for Barbie and Pony houses, naturally. I have scoured both the internet and stores near and far to find solutions that fit both the tiny space and my budget. Here is what I am thinking, for which I may be able to utilize things I already have:
Here is what I am tackling, though to be fair we piled things in while painting…..but yeah, it really is a mess.
I ordered these cute bins that I am hoping will help me:
So to come full circle, here is my list for the room:
Choose art and photos and get them framed and hung
Set up desk top (fun details going here)
Get all bedding pulled together
Paint closet door detail
I think that may be it, until other things crop up. My original intention was to update my older daughter’s room as well, but I think I am going to focus on art, new pillows, and closet organization for the time being. She is still not sure of paint colors, and I am going to have the same issues with fixing the plaster in her room soooooo that will have to wait until a long weekend when she can be out of her room for awhile.