February 27, 2015

using pinterest as my travel agent

Good. Gracious. What a week! It was a busy one for sure. A lot was accomplished but a lot was lost as well (auctions are stressful and putting things on 'hold' is just torture). I'm ready for Calgon to take me away, but since my jet is in the shop I'll just have to imagine my weekend.

I'll have a cozy night of good food and cocktails with friends.


Then I'll spend Saturday swimming and sipping cocktails. (my butt looks really good in that pool, doesn't it?!)


And Sunday I'll be eating take out while watching House of Cards all the livelong day. 


Not a bad little (faux) weekend I have planned. What about you? What will you be doing this weekend? Have any real, or faux plans?

February 23, 2015

monday minute - birthday tradition

Rise and shine, it's ONE degree outside! Remind me again why I live somewhere that would be so cold?!

Monday's are not usually a day I post because I try to make the weekends pure family time and that would mean I'd have to write a post for Monday on Friday and let's be honest, that kind of advanced preparation is just not happening. But from time to time, there are quick little things I want to share. Not in a big long post, but just a quick 'hey, check it out' way. Hence the not promised to at all be regularly scheduled new series, Monday Minute.

Yesterday we celebrated Eve's birthday. My baby is four (insert tears here) and so we celebrated. Kids birthdays could be an entire series on their own, and I know when talking with friends the phrase 'kid's birthday party' is a lightening rod. I'm not going to get into all of that except to say that I tend to revolt against that type of parental pressure. We don't do huge birthday parties (except for the 1st birthday which is really more of a celebration for the parents who made it thru the first year). But, we do have several family birthday traditions. And the biggest hit without a doubt is the tradition of decorating the birthday tablecloth.

Easy as can be. I roll out brown craft paper on the table, bring out the always under lock and key and therefore a treat in and of it self - MARKERS and let the girls go to town. I always do their name, because they usually want it really big (duh) but they do the rest. They have usually picked out a theme of sorts, Eve's was rainbows, and we just have a free for all color session.

I let them trace a plate at each seat and then determine the seating chart. It gives very anxious birthday people something to occupy their time, it gives them some 'control' that they are determining what their party will look like and they are always thrilled when the guests arrive and they can show everyone their seat.

Add a rainbow of balloons (the yellow popped early but the extra pink was happy to stand in) and whatever flower the birthday girl picks from Trader Joe's (another birthday tradition) and voila - birthday prep complete. We also always get a cookie amuse-bouche at the bakery when we pick up the cake. A bunch of little traditions add up to a lot of things to look forward to.

Nothing pinworthy or pintastic, but something the girls love. And the older they get, the more they talk about what they will be putting on their birthday tablecloth days (or weeks) before the big day.

Happy girls = happy parents.

Do you have fun family traditions for birthdays? Anything your kids look forward to? (besides the presents of course) Want to invite me to your beach house to ride out the rest of the winter? Thanks so much!

February 18, 2015

what is fearless design

"She is fearless in her design."

I've heard that dozens of time about dozens of designers. Men and women. Professionals and novices. But between you and me, I'm not exactly sure what this means.

Design, contrary to how it sometimes feels, is not a matter of life and death. If someone does something "different" in design, no one gets hurt. Lives aren't ruined. And you can find just as many 'experts' who will tell you there are no rules in design as there are 'experts' who says there are rules in design. So if it is indeed a wide open world based purely on personal taste, what exactly makes something, or someone, fearless?

Is it a polite term for ugly? The same way eccentric is a nice word for crazy. Or is this just another overused and therefore meaningless phrase, like 'epic'.

What do you think? What is your definition of fearless design?

February 11, 2015

nashville antiques and garden show - road trip recap

I can't believe it has already been almost two weeks since I went down to Nashville for the Antiques and Garden Show. If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don't, why the hell not?!) then you got to see some of the highlights, but I thought a full recap was in order. And please note, 'full recap' is blogger speak for 'a whole lot of pictures'.

To travel for a weekend full of walking and ogling over antiques, I could think of no better companion than my mom. She is the one who taught me all I know about antiques and spent the first 18 years of my life dragging me across the country thru every home and museum open to the public. So dragging her around a huge convention center and a very busy city for a weekend was the least I could do. And by the end of each day, trust me, we were dragging.

Thursday afternoon kicked off the weekend with a private event for a handful of bloggers and all of the stars of the show, hosted by the wonderful women at StyleBlueprint. I got there just in time for a discussion on inspiration, the good and bad side of trends, process, successes and failures, the power of social media and basically all things design. Heaven people. Pure heaven.

From left to right: Christopher Spitzmiller, Kreis Beall, Suzanne KaslerCarolyn Englefield, Michael Devine and Margot Shaw
We also got a preview of the show to open bright and early the next morning. After this point, things get a bit fuzzy. Staring down at the show was the last moment of calm for the weekend. The next three days were a blur of talks, celeb sightings, and almost more eye candy than my eyes could handle. Almost.

There were about a half dozen speaking events over the course of the show, and I could go on for hours about all the wonderful stories, advice and great one liners from everyone I saw. But in going thru my notes, yes I took notes, I thought I would share some of my favorite bits and pieces.

I texted this picture to the hubs as I waited for Diane Keaton to take the stage. The elderly lady sitting next to me said, "What is a blog, anyway?" We started to chat but then Diane came out and the lady proclaimed, "Oh thank God she isn't wearing gloves!" How I love visiting with strangers.

My fuzzy picture of my new best friends, Diane Keaton and Alexa Hampton (Alexa later retweeted this picture). I must say that Alexa Hampton is my new crush. I already loved her work but now I'm a total fan of the whole woman. She was SO funny, self-deprecating, quick witted, and basically just an all around gem.

And Diane Keaton was exactly how you think she would be; so sweet, open and just relaxed. It was like she was just chatting with 300 of her like-minded friends. She talked about her work on more than 30 houses, experiences with contractors, real estate and her life long love of design.

My seats for all the other speaking events were much further back so pictures weren't an option. But, luckily my ears are good so in no particular order... some of my favorite quotes of the weekend:

Spitzmiller - "I never go for cutting edge. I go for what feels good to me."

Englefield - "What's important is how a place feels and does it have a soul."

Kessler - "Clients want a foundation of tradition, but not traditional. Style evolves so if you respond to something, then bring that in. Let that give you the freedom to find your own style."

Devine - "There is a hunger for more pretty in design."

Keaton - "Play with your dreams and then just do it for Gods sakes."

Then there is the other side of the show, the goods. So. Many. Amazing. Things. Booths from all over the country, even a few abroad, with dealers who knew their stuff. They were all so friendly and the combo of knowledge, kindness and incredible taste paid off because I will tell you - things were selling like hot cakes. I can't even tell you how many things I saw on Friday that were sold by Saturday. There were things at vastly different price ranges so there was honestly something for everyone. My mom and I tend to pick the most expensive thing in a booth, so we were generous enough to let others buy many of our picks.

There were booths styled to perfection.

That leather was as soft as a baby's bum.

Miles of amazing furniture.

Can you say custom banquet perfection? Look at that right angle.

Chinoiserie secretary in pristine condition and the most perfect scalloped solid brass lamp. Damn it why am I not rich?!

I may have shed a tear when I saw this bar. Wouldn't my gin collection fit perfectly in there? It sold quickly to a very smart woman (sadly not this smart woman).

Lamps. So many great lamps.

Some with shades that I now dream about regularly (silk peacock blue custom shade? yes please)

And some with no shades at all.

If only I had more money, I would have taken her home with me.

Luggage for my next trip.

And of course, blue and white as far as the eye could see.

We also got to spend a bit of time exploring Nashville which is a city I want to spend more time in. I could go on for days but the moral of the story is, I will for sure be going back. A huge thank you to all of the wonderful women from the Nashville Antiques and Garden Show and StyleBlueprint for including me. I will be back!

February 5, 2015

the quick fix

Happy Sunny Thursday to y'all! Today I'm over at my online and real life friend Heather's blog, Decor Fix sharing my favorite quick fix for a room. I'm also doing a lightening round Q&A so be sure to check it out here! (a small hint of what my fix might be with this picture of the girls' room)

And let me know, do YOU have a quick fix in your bag of tricks?

February 3, 2015

what's on your...bathroom vanity

Hey everybody! I'm a little late to the game today - my computer had a tantrum and then I had a photo shoot. The dog ate my homework and there was traffic. Any other excuses I can think of? :)

At any rate, I'm here and happy to have a sun filled day in these parts. I'm still recovering from Nashville and I promise to give you the play by play on that amazing trip soon, but for today I'm joining my friend Sarah at 702 Park Project for her new series, 'What's on your...'. So if you are from one of the other wonderful blogs participating, welcome!

As some of you might know my bathroom is...compact. (how's that for diplomatic) So aside from some hand soap for the girls, I'm not really in possession of any bathroom real estate for my goodies, so instead I use my bedside table. #smallhouseproblems

Many of you have seen this table a time or two before, and admittedly it is always changing but there are a few staples that never leave.
- Flowers - OK, the flowers do change because eww, dead flowers by your bed wouldn't lead to sweet dreams. I go as fragrant as possible in this spot, hyacinth, peonies etc. to ensure a flowery deep breath to start my day.
- Candle from K Hall Designs - They have the best scents, their candles last forever and when you are done you have a beautiful hobnail container for, wait for it, your flowers! It all comes back to flowers people.
- And speaking of people, I keep pictures of my people close by as well as whatever stack of books I'm skimming reading at the time.

On top of my books is my tray that keeps all of my 'if I had a big vanity' things.

1. Eos lip balm. Holy softness! I'm highly addicted to this stuff. If you don't have it yet, you should. I put it on every night before bed, and about 100 times thru out the day. That and a bit of mascara is most often my 'beauty regime'. I also have their lotion. Aces.

2. Rubber bands. Necessary for long hair, taking it off after washing my face is the last thing I do before rolling over to go to sleep each night.

3. Essie No Chips Ahead. I put this on every two or three nights to keep my manicures in tact as long as possible. This stuff works like a charm.

4. Whatever jewelry I had on that day.

5. Flowers. I can't say it enough (apparently). Flowers everywhere.

So that's my pseudo vanity. Be sure to check out all of these other lovely ladies for a peak into their vanities.

What do you keep on your vanity? Do you have as many vanity items by your bed as you do in your bathroom? Did you play a drinking game with the word 'flowers' while reading this post? If not, I think you should start over again and play.

January 23, 2015

how do you indie mat

So this post is one of those triple whammies. I've got a quick and EASY super cute project to share, a story about a wonderfully talented and inventive woman, and a gift. That's right, its that good.

I'm going to go out of order and first tell you about this wonderfully talented and inventive woman. That would be my friend Emma Hand who owns a company called Indie Mats. About two years ago I found her wonderful product in a local store and was psyched to find it was locally made and run by a fellow mom. I contacted her about doing a giveaway on the blog and she was totally game. The giveaway went well and life went on. Then a few months later we met in person at an open house and hit it off right away. Since then we meet for coffee and brainstorming, sharing kid and work stories and feeding off of each other's passion for creating. #womeninbusinessrock

Great story yes, but I do have a point. During one chat we talked about how fun it is to see the different things people can create using the exact same tools. And that is when #howdoyouindiemat was born. Basically, send a variety of bloggers the link to Indie Mats, have them pick out some mats and then...create!

This is where part two of this post comes into play. I've used Indie Mats several times in my home and shared my love of them before (here and here, I'm biased I know) but basically you have cool printed mats in all matter of colors, patterns, sizes etc. and they stick to the wall without the need for nails. Making them easy to change, move, reposition etc.

I used some of my stash over Christmas and created a fun way to display our Christmas cards. The girls each made their own (paper) Christmas tree and we put those up, as well as a "Happy Christmas" banner the girls made out of Indie Mats banners. The mats worked perfectly since our plank wall is on our foundation wall, i.e. no nails can bust into that piece of rock.

Well, Christmas came to an end and I started to take down all of the cards and Christmas artwork and I got a little bummed. The basement is our family place; the girls create forts, doll hospitals and frequent works of art down there and I loved how our Christmas wall had shown off some of the fun we have down here. Everything was down except for the 'happy' part of the banner and the quote at the top - Enjoy the little things. SO true about this space. So with that, I decided I had to create a post-holiday version of our happy wall.

So here is how I Indie Mat...

I picked the girls favorite art projects of the moment - a monster and a 'rainbow' from Eve and a family drawing and a portrait of Mom (that would be me) from Amelia. Side note - I'm glad my real hairline isn't quite as suspicious as it is in this portrait. But I'd be thrilled if my neck was really that skinny.
I filled the rest of the frames with some recent family photos.

We used the 'happy' the girls already wrote in marker and traced the letters with glue and then sprinkled with gold glitter. If you are creating a display with a 7 and 3 year old, it is legally required to include glitter.

Without having a photo that was big enough for the yellow mat, I simply placed another mat on top. I love the pattern mix and of course, the colors. That's right, I double matted. I'm crazy like that.

The girls even hung some of the mats themselves - no nails or hammers required, just sticky squares - and they now love pointing out which mats THEY hung up.

I love having something so bright and happy in the family room that truly gives a sneak peak into the people who LIVE in that room. As new artwork comes into the house, we can easily switch out whichever piece they like for the new 'of the moment' option. And I have to say I'm partial to having such a quick and easy project that brings such big smiles.

Saving the best part for last, part three of this post - the gift. Emma (and I) would love to see what you would do with Indie Mats, so she is giving all Little Black Door readers a discount on your purchase. Just use the code LBD15 for 15% off and then show us #howdoyouindiemat

And stay tuned for next Friday when another blogger will be showing her take on Indie Mats. Hint: she's got wicked good style and a new house full of walls to fill.

Do you have a corner that needs a bit of cheer? A spot where nails are a no no? A room that needs to be photographed when the sun refuses to come out? I know your pain.

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