May 20, 2016

letting the cat out of the bag

The last time we chatted I promised you some news so I might as well just blurt it out.

I'm opening up a shop here in St. Louis!

I have to tell you that it feels really weird to type that (and it will feel even weirder to hit publish) because this has been what we refer to in our house as a 'lock it up conversation' for well over a year - meaning no one outside the walls of our house was to know. But now that leases are FINALLY signed and construction is underway, slowly over the last few weeks I've started to tell others - clients, close friends, etc. - and no one has laughed at me yet so we are off to a good start.

This is a very long time coming and it has been even harder than I imagined. And my imagination can lean pretty doom and gloom so that should tell you something. Potential business partners that flake, potential landlords that don't return phone calls and an architectural review board that has had...challenging opinions have made this difficult to say the least. However, I'm not a quitter. A cryer during all of this for sure, but not a quitter. And finally we lucked out and found a great landlord and a unique spot so with the biggest hurdles behind me (knock on wood) we are officially underway and I finally feel comfortable sharing.

So this is my new home away from home. Ain't she a beauty? NO. The answer to that question is no. If you think this is bad, wait till you see the inside. But she has a lot of positives - location, size, and most importantly - free range to change whatever I want. Of course when I planned and dreamed about this whole thing, I had visions of a super cute little shop downtown with a fabulous store front. But the more time this little mint julep and I spend together the more we are bonding. And let's be real, who doesn't love a great before and after?! Can I get an Amen!

And speaking of mint, that is the first thing to go. In my ice cream mint is an excellent thing, on buildings not so much.

So what will be in this little cinderblock gem? I'll have my office, which means I can have client meetings, store all my goodies and finally use my dining room table at home for dining. Wahoo! And on the retail end I'll have tons of great vintage furniture and lamps that have been refurbished, refinished and refreshed as well as accessories, custom lampshades and pillows, art etc. The goal being to provide people with pieces that have the character and uniqueness of vintage items without the work of having to remove the funk (old upholstery, broken drawers, missing legs etc.)

I'll for sure take y'all along as renovations progress and as I prepare for opening day, which will hopefully be in mid-June.

So, that's my Friday news. What do y'all have going on this weekend?

May 10, 2016

If you have a life and it isn't on social media, does anyone notice it?

Hey, I remember you! Long time no see. I may have had to do a bit of internet sleuthing to 'remember' my password to login to ye old blog, but now that I'm back it is just like riding a bike. (You hit enter at the end of a paragraph, right? ha)

I've got some fun stuff to share with you but I can't jump into that without addressing my absence. That would be like trying to dance around the giant elephant in the middle of the room. And if you know me then you know, I don't dance.

The obvious question is - just where the hell have I been and why haven't I been blogging about whatever it is I've been doing?! I'll answer the first question by saying that I continue to work with really fun clients on really cool spaces and they keep this girl on her toes. I try my best to be with my babies who are less and less like babies every day. Tear. Eve is going to be starting Kindergarten in the fall, which would make many a mom sad but I just gleefully think about having both girls in school five days a week, all damn day. I'm one excited mom. I talk to the hubs about how we should have more date nights but never get around to planning said date nights. You know, the basics.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I haven't blogged because I'm... that horrible 4-letter B word. That is a copout. Everyone is b*#y. It's called having a life. Even my 5-year-old told me the other day how b*#y she was. It is all relative people, and I do not dare to think, nor do I want to insinuate that my daily schedule is any more difficult, more important or more fascinating than anyone else's and therefore gives me the excuse to not do something. Not gonna happen.

So this leads me to answer the second part of that question - why haven't I been blogging about whatever it is I've been doing? Now to be technical, I do Instagram all the live-long day (except for the past week or so, but I'll address that next time). But Instagram and a blog post are far from the same thing. So I'm just going to lay it out there. For me, blogging became...tainted is the first word that comes to mind. When I decided to join this blog world way back when it was for an honest desire to share my design thoughts and ideas with like-minded people who enjoyed ogling at well designed spaces and talking about fabric, paint and furniture placement. And I just like to write. It was no more thought out than that. I liked the community - sharing ideas, building friendships over similar interests, braiding flowers into each other's hair while we sang in a circle. OK, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea - it was fun. Just fun.

And then over time it became about making money, affiliate links, following the oh-so important (eye roll) blogging schedule, getting professional pictures taken for a post on changing out a shower curtain and other general hysteria. In short, it wasn't fun anymore. I wasn't into blogging to make a career out of blogging. I blogged to escape from my career for an hour or two a day. So I dropped the mic and went on with my life. I would think about it from time to time and say to myself I really should write something. But it was like when you haven't run in two years and you think back fondly on that marathon you ran way back when - it is a nice memory but the idea of 'getting back into it' seems overwhelmingly hard. So I didn't.

And then about a month ago I ran into someone I hadn't seen in quite some time and we had a glorious catch up until she said - "So what are you doing now?"

A bit confused I said, "Still at my design business. Things are going great actually, I'm about to..."

"Oh." She stopped me mid sentence, "I thought you quit that. You know, since you weren't blogging anymore."

Oh hell to the no girl! She needed that mat from Office Space because she was doing some major jumping to conclusions. But I couldn't be mad for long because she had a point. One of my greatest joys in life is also what I do for a living (lucky to say that) so of course my general chatting about design stuff would occasionally cross over into chatting about my design business stuff which would then end up on my 'not about work but about fun' blog. How's that for blurred lines? So I had a talk with myself and agreed that I shouldn't give up something I enjoy doing - talking about design and writing - just because the forum in which I was doing it was no longer fun. Don't hate the player, CHANGE the game.

So I'm not going to worry about the rules of blogging. I'm going to blog like its 2008. When I've got something to share, I'll do it. Sometimes there might be a picture, sometimes there won't. (gasp) I won't worry about what time to hit 'publish' in order to maximize my readership or make sure to give my post a title that will increase my search probability on Google. And I won't be plugging anything except my damn self.

There it is my friends. I'm putting the fun back into blogging. Boom. So if you want to hang out, grab a drink and let's chat. And if you are long gone that's OK too. After all, I gleefully wrote on this sucker for months before anyone noticed.


This is getting too long so I'll share my new news next time. What?! A post with plans for another one?! I know, crazy right.

August 25, 2015

it all comes down to books and flowers

While doing some prep work for a photo shoot recently I went thru my stacks of magazines, books, binders, and Pinterest for some inspiration. And y'all know what I realized? All you really need for styling is some flowers and a few books.

Miles Redd

Jeffrey Bilhuber
The really good photos, are where the rooms speak for themselves. A little bit of life (aka flowers) is added and a simple stack of books to say, "hell yeah this room gets used" and you've got yourself the makings of a great photo.

Deborah French
Of course this is with the understanding that the room itself is 'great'. But really that's what you are wanting to see - the details of the room. The more accessories that are added, that more they take away from the design. Just some flowers/plants and a few books and you are good.

Domaine: Angie Hranowsky

Peppermint Bliss
Everyone is in danger of overdosing on accessories (I've totally been guilty of this). I mean come on, how many times have you come home from HomeGoods with a whole bag of things you didn't even realize you needed? Maybe sometimes we should let those things pass. 

Now understand, I'm not into absolutes, so I won't say get rid of your knick knacks all together, but let's try to use a bit less fluff and instead really show off the furniture, lamps, pillows, curtains and rugs that you've spent quality time reinventing and refinishing or quality $$ purchasing. Let the big details shine.

Am I alone here? Do you ever get the less is more itch? Are you happy dusting all of those bits and bobbles? Let's discuss. 

August 11, 2015

you've got to kiss a lot of frogs

A quick note first to say THANK YOU all for your kind words about the blue and white event we will no longer mention. Each and every one of you put a smile on this mom's face. As Dolly Parton said, "Laughter thru tears is my favorite emotion."

I often do posts on here and on Instagram of the wonderful things I find when I'm out and about in the grand world of antique stores. However, I think sometimes all of those grand finds may mislead you to think I am always finding great things. OR, that I only go to stores that have wall to wall awesome.

Not the case my friends.

As my grandmother used to say about estate sales - you've got to kiss a lot of frogs. For every great thing I find, there are 10 horrible things I see. Really that's optimistic, it is probably closer to 30 horrible things, but you get the idea. So, I thought I'd share some of them not only for a good laugh, but to show that in a store full of crazy crap, there can often be a great gem. Don't write off a place by what you see in the window. And with that, I think I'm fresh out of clich├ęs. Let's shop.

Oh the irony. A sign about everything being for sale, with a big fat NFS tag on it. The dreaded NFS (Not For Sale )is something that usually makes me angry to no end, but in this case I was quite alright with it.

Slap my ass, that is certainly a piece of work.

There are always spooky old dolls. Always.

Perfectly normal item to see. But not really.

Just don't.

If you were going as Run DMC for Halloween, these would actually be useful.

Clowns, are pretty ubiquitous, as is bad art. So this one scores on both counts.

Taxidermy is also pretty common, unfortunately. But notice this is just inches away from great silver and gold champaign buckets and just opposite the isle from the booth where I got my bamboo bench.

Body parts. In a bag.


And my favorite piece of all. This has been in one of my favorite shops for at least two years. I'm all for ironic art, and I enjoy good humor,  but this is not for me. Or apparently anyone else. Two years.

So remember, it only takes one good item to make a "crappy store" turn into that "cute little place you found that great (fill in the blank here)". There is never a shop I'll refuse to check out. The thrill of the unknown is just too great. I have a pretty regular list of places that I stop in weekly, bi-weekly or monthly depending on their success rate. And if you go often enough, you can breeze thru a place in under 15 minutes making it a great thing to do in between appointments, when you are a little early on your way to pick up or anytime you have a free patch of time.

Where are your places to shop? Do you get overwhelmed by the places with wall to wall 'stuff'? Need help finding something? Email me, and I'll find it for you.

Cheers to the hunt!

July 30, 2015

a moment of silence for my blue and white

I can still hear the crash. It's been a little over a week now but it hurts as much as if it just happened. My oldest was grabbing a bowl from the bottom shelf, and for reasons I still haven't gotten a clear explanation for, she grabbed onto the top shelf, putting all her weight on the corner and there by causing the top shelf to come. crashing. down.

Working downstairs when it happened, I heard a big thud, lots of breaking...whatever blue and white is made out of, and a quick "I didn't do it!" And then tears. Her's and mine. The hubs and I both arrived in the kitchen at the same time to see the carnage. All he said was, "Go downstairs. I'll take care of this."

Of course, it should go without saying, no one was hurt and that's what's most important (blah blah blah). But damn, my heart is hurt big time. Not only because I love my blue and white and have worked hard over half my life to collect all this stuff, but also because there were several sentimental pieces that were broken. The foot bath I was going to use in my wedding which I bought on a day that still ranks in my memory as one of the best. As well as the blue and white bowls I ended up going with for my centerpieces. (I couldn't get enough foot baths.) And a small blue and white jar I got at one of my first auctions. Things that cannot be replaced. Ugh, the humanity!

Now many would say 'see, that is why I don't have nice things with children around.' but I see that as a huge copout. I accidentally dropped a pair of scissors on my foot yesterday and took a big chunk out of my toe (true story), but that isn't going to prevent me from keeping scissors in the house. Life happens. I grew up with a house of treasures and antiques and believe me when I say many pieces were broken over the years. But my parents continued to collect and that home helped to develop my sense of beauty and joy. Kids climb things, things break, mommies cry. Life goes on.

Luckily this wasn't my entire b&w collection and now I don't have to feel guilty that I have too many pieces when I buy a new piece. So that's something. And in the grand scheme of life, this isn't a big deal. Upsetting, YES. Life altering, no. But just don't ask me about it, I still might cry.

What's broken at your house? Did you ever reconsider putting things 'out' with little ones around? Do you keep your broken pieces in an old shopping bag in your basement? Just me?

June 24, 2015

i will never stop collecting chairs

In the spirit of my post on my (former) mantel I thought I would address a clear hypocrisy. I know I just told you that it's good to acknowledge the elephant in the room and remove things that aren't working in your space. True. And, I know I've discussed many times my love of 'riding' and purging crap that you don't need. Very true. However, there is a time when all of those rules and truths go right out the window and that is when you encounter a killer chair. Curves, lines, wood, fabric, chairs have it all they are addicting.

Here we have just a SMALL sampling of chairs I have in my SMALL home that don't currently have a 'place'. I refuse to get rid of any of them, nor will I get rid of their siblings that sit in rejected groups in other rooms of the house. The hubs often suggests selling them but I scream "From my cold dead hands!" and he walks away shaking his head. Some of these do have in-the-near-future plans but others might be headed to storage for a vacation.

And damn it if I'm not on my way out to look at more chairs. Luckily I can often share my chair habit with clients and know that the beauties are living in a happy home somewhere where I can visit them. But I will never stop collecting. Never. And one day I'll have cause to hold a large gathering at my house where everyone will need a seat and I won't have to rent a single chair. So that's something.

Don't make me feel alone here, what do you hoard? Anything you don't have the room to keep but refuse to toss? Have any chairs I can take off your hands?

June 17, 2015

she was a good faux elephant

When I change things up I change things up.

I may have mentioned recently that I am making some changes to my living room, thanks to welcoming home this baby.

Truth is though she was just the push I needed to start making changes that I've had in mind for quite some time. Remember what I always tell the hubs, by the time I tell you about a change/idea I've already been mulling it over for a few months.

And before my mother anyone rolls their eyes at the fact that I'm changing things up, again, I just did a little research and realized that the last time I changed the 'ol living room was 2012. (thanks to the blog for keeping track of these things for me) Dude. 2012 is a long time. Especially for a girl who used to change up her bedroom so often I'd get in trouble (note: don't switch your bedroom with the guest bedroom without asking your mom first. Even if you are cute and 10, it won't go over well)

When we were house hunting all those years back, a fireplace was at the top of my wish list. Right behind three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Proof that you can score 0 for 3 on your wish list and still end up with the perfect house. But that's another post.

Long story short, we put an offer in on our house and I made a mental floor plan immediately with this family mantel as the center piece. I wanted a fireplace and damn it, I was going to have one. Thank God I have parents who hoard as much furniture as I do.

But because of the layout of the room the mantel had only one place to go, along the longest wall of the room, which at times made furniture layout a bit of a pickle. Over time, I got the itch to take the living room from a room where we could sit for a drink or some polite conversation to a room where everyone could hang out comfortably. Comfort often requires size (you gotta be able to spread those legs out) and size requires that one, and only, long wall in the room.

So...I call uncle. I have acknowledged the elephant in the room and have shown her the door. And as a side note, once that mantel was gone, I felt a huge weight lifted. I don't know about you, but for me mantels are just pressure-packed styling challenges staring you in the face 24/7. Ahhhh, sweet release.

And that's the latest from LBD headquarters. The mantel is out, and furniture is in. More about all of that at a later date. But for today, a hand over the heart for the mantel. Oh, and no fear on her fate, she's happily nestled in at my sister's place. A family that trades furniture often is a family full of bad backs. (antiques are heavy)

Have you ever had an elephant in the room that you had to work around? Ever gotten rid of something you never thought you would and felt great afterwards? Want to help me move some furniture?
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