May 22, 2015

project design - refresh your living room with this inexpensive tip



Welcome to the long weekend my friends! Today I'm joining several blog friends to talk about different ways to give your living room a refresh without spending the earth. And if you are anything like me, with a happy spring holiday weekend ahead, a bit of time fluffing a busy room in my house sounds like a great way to unwind! (I know, I'm weird)

I wanted to think a bit outside the blogger box and share something that absolutely anyone could do. Something that would give you a big change for ZERO dollars. That's right, no money spent and no DIY necessary. How's that for a budget buster?!


My advice is to turn on some great music, make yourself a good drink, give your arms and legs a quick stretch and then start moving furniture. Instead of buying something new, or even rushing to paint, just try moving that chair out of the corner. Switch the sofa to the other wall. Bring a table in from another room and put a lamp on it to brighten up a dead space. It is amazing to me how different a room FEELS, let alone looks, by spending just a bit of time shuffling everything up.


And the best part is, if it doesn't work, just move it again. No harm and no money lost. Just keep shuffling until it feels right. You'll find a new life given to your room, and a desire to actual spend time in there again.


Be sure to check out the other wonderful bloggers sharing their tips today, and thanks so much to Mary Ann and Cindy for asking me to join in.


When was the last time you gave your room a new layout? What would you move around in your living room? Remember, lift with your knees and don't spill your drink!




May 18, 2015

project design


Morning sunshine! There are (only) seven days of school left and it is the talk of our household. Those under the age of 8 are thrilled, while those over the age of 8 are having that standard parental "ugh summer break is upon us!!!!" reaction. Luckily we all agree on our level of excitement for the pool opening this coming weekend. A big WAHOO to that!! But I digress.

I spent some time this weekend stealing accepting peonies from my neighbors' yards before they die on the vine (or stem) and brightened a corner of my living room as I shared on Instagram. (follow me here) And it got me thinking about all the different ways there are to update a room for spring, beyond just adding flowers.



Luckily, this 'thinking' is going to pay off for all of us. My friends Cindy (Rough Luxe Lifestyle) and Mary Ann (classic casual home) have asked me to participate in the next round of Project Design and the topic is"Refresh Your Living Room with These Inexpensive Tips". So come Friday I'll be sharing my ideas, along with these wonderful bloggers.



Do you like to do a refresh to your living room each spring? Any update you've always wanted to try but have just never gotten around to? Anything you want me to try? I love being a guinea pig. 


May 11, 2015

she went out for a pack of smokes and never came back


So as I was saying...

Ha, just kidding. Yes, it's been a while. How the hell are ya?! Did you think I'd fallen off the face of the earth? You gotta know I wouldn't ever leave you hanging like that. Have no doubt, I still think about you all the time and I've got tons to share. A million things have been happening, and at the same time nothing crazy is going on. Just regular life, like everyone else.

The inspiration for my living room changes

I will say this blogging break has been good for me to get a fresh mind, take a deep breath and find out where my design mind is headed and I can say that the times they are a changin. Currently three rooms in my house are in major flux. Well, 3.5 really. And those of you that have been around for a while know, my house is NOT big. 3.5 rooms, that's like 80% of my house or something.

#ProjectBrentwood
I've been lucky beyond words to be working with lots of great clients who are inspiring me not only in my work with them, but kicking me in the pants to make some changes at home. What better place to experiment than at home, right? It's the idiot in me - when I'm busy with work, I tend to pile more things on at home just to put the cherry on top of my chaos sundae. I'm seeing about getting some help for my condition, if insurance will cover it.

#ProjectChesterfield
So where am I going with all of this? That wasn't rhetorical. Really, what am I trying to say? I don't know either. Mostly I guess just HELLO! I'm still here and I'll be around a lot more. It's been a long while since I've had an unplanned, free-flowing, no specific topic post. Aaannnd, I think we now all see why. It's a big bag of muddled weird in this head.

#ProjectSouthCity
Thanks for all of you who emailed and texted me to check in. I really do have the best blog friends. Now give me the dirt. What have I missed??? Anything big going on? What's new with you?!


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.

via

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

via

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

via

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!


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