Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sugar sugar

My tongue is numb. I had to have two small cavities filled today. Not the first, but I dearly hope the last. 

This is the first year in my remembrance that heart health warnings have advised against too much sugar. Which means that my sugar-laden diet that results in cavities might be taking a toll on my ticker, too. 

Perhaps instead I can get my sugar rush through pink things??

Like sweet little rainboots splashing in a spring puddle.

Or buckets full of peonies. I could at least treat myself to a small arrangement for my table.

The original color of our front door was pink. 

Although on this snow-annoying day I would prefer that our front door was somewhere with palm trees.

Pink pillows could be used in the bedroom or on the sofa.

Pink sofas sadly might be too much so maybe just a brightly colored orchid?

A touch of pink on some wallpaper somewhere.

Maybe I really can live without sugar??

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Design Mentor: Albert Hadley

Yesterday Kim posted a giveaway and asked "who's your design mentor?" 

I answered Albert Hadley, then went in search of a well-thought out reason for that instinctual response.

There are the rooms like this one: perfectly laid out with just the right amount of pop. I especially like how often Hadley used starburst mirrors over fireplaces.
This entry wows me with the color of the front door. I also appreciate the usefulness of the barrel full of umbrellas near the door. 

I love this vignette with the big blue panel as a feature wall for the console.
This daybed was in Hadley's NYC guest bedroom. I adore the canopy, which looks even more serene because of the similarity of all the fabrics.

This is a guest bedroom in his Naples, Florida, home. For an all-white room, there's still a lot of visual interest.

This one is heavenly. The bright yellow chairs, the wheat sheaf table base. The cranes and the bunnies on the fireplace. I want a room like this.


"My theory is we're not so interested in lighting as we are in dispelling shadows. We want to get rid of the gloom, to have enough light to feel happy."


This apartment with its fabulous staircase demonstrates just how important architecture was to Hadley. The room had to work for the people who were going to use it.

Hadley often used zebra rugs in his rooms. It was one of his few "signature" items. His style was otherwise characterized as curious and open-minded. It's a great way to live as well as design.


Hadley's philosophies are probably the biggest reason I consider him my design mentor. He said things like "Make your home as comfortable and attractive as possible and then get on with living. There's more to life than decorating."


"The essence of interior design will always be about people and how they live. It is about the realities of what makes for an attractive, civilized, meaningful environment, not about fashion or what's in or what's out. This is not an easy job."

Add caption
A close-up on the iconic library in Brooke Astor's NYC apartment. Designed in the 1970s but so timeless. The people Hadley met doing what he loved is also so fascinating to me. I'm adding The Last Mrs. Astor: A New York Story to my reading list.

Hadley looking dapper on a leopard print rug. Notice the red piping of the rug.  

Hadley poking out of a hedge at his Naples home.


Nourishing our souls with beauty.... No wonder I call him my design mentor.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Number One Rule of Organizing

To keep your house organized, there is really only one rule: Put it away. Seemingly so simple. Yet, what if you don't have a place for that thing? And what if you just don't feel like it? Or think you don't have time? Time management guru David Allen recommends following the two-minute rule. In a nutshell, if it will take you two minutes or less to do something, you should do it now. Read more about it in Success magazine here.

Or, just adapt this funny video of Bob Newhart to your home.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Downton Withdrawals?

I rolled out of bed early Saturday morning to go into the office. But when I got there couldn't access the suite. Rather than feel upset about what I couldn't get done, I decided to roll with it. A morning spent with Lord & Lady Grantham instead of going through financials? Yes, please!

I love the aesthetic of the sets, the relationships of the different characters on the show,  and the music. It just looks like perpetual spring. Lady Grantham and I are most alike, I think, which is not surprising since our birthdays are only one day apart. 


Technically, though, I am an ENFJ personality and according to this chart most like Lady Sybil. Do you know what your Myers-Briggs personality is? I think it is so fascinating! 

{Don't say a word about what this scene relates to: I haven't watched last night's season finale yet.}

Moving on... have you played the game "Unblock It"? I saw it over the holidays and think it applies well to what I needed to do in the basement. Everything that didn't have a home when we moved in got shoved down there. Which is pretty much exactly what I did in our old house, too. In this house, though, we are on multi-levels so it was much more apparent how haphazardly I had stored things.

I instagrammed my progress. It took about two hours, and is really just phase one. But my seven-year-old noticed immediately! 

I also decided to write out a list of projects since all my favorite shows are ending and I'll need something to do. 

1. Basement: Properly pack away holiday ornaments, stack tubbies neatly, decide what can be donated or discarded.
2. Replace dining room drapes with blinds.
3. Create a plate wall on dining room wall.
4. Style TV credenza.
5. Print large format photos for frames.
6. Layout family photo gallery. Hang family photo gallery.
7. Stencil long wall in powder room.
8. Trim out sheers in bedrooms.
9. Paint (master, Bela's room, bathroom).
10. Replace baseboards in bathroom.
11. Build mantel over fireplace. 
12. Find wallpaper for area by back door.
13. Wall hangings in master bedroom.

Out of my head and into the world. Are you bummed when your favorite shows end for the season, or I am just the ultimate couch potato? :)

Friday, February 21, 2014


I have a to-do list as long as my arm and am developing a twitch under my left eye. So the last place I should be right now is here. Yet, there's no way you live to enjoy your golden years without finding some meaning in life. And this is it for me (besides my family and friends, of course).

Some things on my mind this Friday.

Eames Reproduction on eBay
We lit a fire in the fireplace last night and I pulled our old recliner up next to it to enjoy the light and warmth. How much more awesome would it have been in a reproduction Eames chair, though? I found this on eBay while pricing out the one that is for sale in my hometown. I have no idea if it's even for sale anymore, but it was a decent price, which is why I can't get it off my mind.

Rain boots are a fashion must-have. I am seeing them everywhere lately. Maybe it was just the thundersnow yesterday, but I'm hoping my spring fever means that tulips and chirping birds are right around the corner. Spring has to come sometime, right?

via 100 Layer Cake
And then after spring, summer and our wedding! Less than five months now. I have to "propose" to the rest of my bridesmaids this weekend, plus send back the DJ contract, contact the florist and caterer, and make sure we really truly are on the books for the baker. But, I met with my wedding coordinator this week and we are in agreement about black & white stripes for the table. Gorgeous, no?!

In a few weeks, Phil and I will also meet with our church couple for some pre-marital counseling. I am not totally sure what it will entail (since the first time I got married it was not religious), but I so hope that they are a little bit like this couple

By the way, do you know your love language? I am pretty sure mine is words of affirmation (which is why I'm so delighted when you comment! :) I also heard about this quiz on the radio this week, and while it was right on for where I am from, I'm so wishing I was somewhere with pineapple rain.

Happy Friday!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Random Acts of Kindness Day

I wasn't planning to post today. It's mid-winter break and I am enjoying the extra long weekend with my kids. I also have a looming deadline at work and a wedding to plan and yada yada yada.

But then I logged into Facebook this morning and discovered that it's Random Acts of Kindness Day. In our community (East Lansing, Michigan), "kindness day" has been dedicated to a sweet little boy who lost his battle with cancer in December. I am one of the few, I think, who doesn't directly know the family, but it's impossible not to care about them and want to help.

So at the grocery store this morning when the self-checkout got jammed up by a little helper who over-enthusiastically moved a bag too soon, rather than sigh loudly and act like a jerk, I thought about being kind. Sometimes all it takes is a smile in a tense moment. 

We ended up having enough time between our grocery trip and my daughter's playdate to stop at Starbucks. I wanted a coffee, but I really really wanted to pay for the drink of the person behind me in the drive-thru line. Somewhat coincidentally, the building had been a Burger King when I was in college, and I remember the driver ahead of me paying for my meal one broke night. My kids got to see her happy, surprised smile. Maybe she'll be thinking of it when she's a mom? Who knows!

I'm not sure what else I will do for #KindnessforCharlie day, but it's a lot of fun thinking of ways to be kind. And such a big happiness boost once you do something for someone else. I hope this becomes a movement--a way to re-set and be a little nicer than yesterday and a little better tomorrow. 

Are you doing anything nice today? Want to share in the comments??

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What's Your Personality Type? Doors

I think personality tests are so interesting... Do you?

Which one of these ten doors appeals to you? You can check your choice against the personality descriptions at the end. 

I chose door #3 because we literally have an orange front door. 

Today I noticed that Bela's dollhouse has an orange front door, too.

Which one of these is you??

1 - You are a fun individual that likes to keep things light and airy. You are all about nurturing others and appreciating the simple luxuries in life; such as your fine dishware, favorite candle or eating artisan bread from the local bakery. You most likely have a love for traveling and other cultures. You truly want the best for everyone and love creating a welcoming atmosphere. It is important to remember that if you ever feel that you need help or support, it is OK to just ask someone.

2- You are clean and simple and don’t like any frills. You might strive to have a clean and perfect existence; but is it totally worth it? Don’t you feel that there is something missing? You are all about your personal achievements and you take pride in your work or career. Although you might be on track with your career path or have a few diplomas/ certificates on your wall, you need to spend more time on developing yourself as a person. Remember... the real you. Life is all about creating balance, surrounding yourself with color and creating memorable adventures. If you are finding that you have been taking the safe road lately, try veering off the beaten path. You might surprise yourself!

3 – It is obvious you are a quirky individual and very interesting to the people that you let into your life. You are good at many things... a “Jack or Jill of all trades”. You are an artistic individual that expresses yourself in many ways. You can make something out of anything and are not a stranger to your local thrift shop. You can basically make vintage “new” again. It is easy to get stuck inside the house or inside your urban bubble; but remember that you have to get out and connect with nature. It is time to come down out of the clouds and get grounded!

4 – You are an old soul that can be slightly dramatic. You are a very artistic person that loves to express yourself through writing, music, art or some kind of expression. You are a dichotomy; for you can be very open and friendly, yet closed and deeply private. You often have your guard up, keeping your thoughts and troubles to yourself. Although you might think that nobody will truly understand you, if you allow yourself to open up and share your feelings, you will feel so much better. Deep down you are not aright with any imperfections and you feel the need to come across as “the rock” in any group situation. Know that people are willing to share their feelings with you and want you to share your feelings with them.

5 – It is very important for you to fit in and feel as though you are a major contributor in every situation. You always have things going on, for being productive is what makes you feel at ease. Your busy-ness can sometimes cause the need for you to become more aware of what is really going on around you. What does your body want you to be doing? It is alright to relax on a Monday and simply just BE. Feel free to take some time to figure out what you really love to do. Possibly try some new hobbies or activities that are out of your normal routine. Explore being you, even if that means relaxing. Life is not just about how many muffins you can make in a single batch or how many fit-it jobs you can do in one day.

6 – You are a confident person with an eye for detail. You can come across as someone who is all together and exciting; yet you are just YOU on the inside. You care about your appearance and how the world sees you, yet the inside your home or car is probably a total mess! Your personality can be self destructive, for you could turn against yourself when the going gets tough. The life of a person who is a living a total contradiction... has got to be a difficult one. Remember to breathe and just relax. Life is not just about pleasing others. Truth is, the world isn’t always watching... Take time to reflect on who you truly want to be? What is it that you truly want to do?

7 – You are a simple minimalist that always has important things to do. You care for others and find your time anything but your own. You surround yourself with meaningful things, for you are very sentimental. Family and friends are very important to you and you would do anything for them. Not putting yourself first has made your life a safe and complacent one. What is it that can enrich your life today? What will make your life more colorful and enjoyable? Even though life gives you labels such as a mother, father, wife, husband, teacher, manager, etc; remember that your life is still YOUR life. Take a moment to decide what you want your future to look like. It is perfectly acceptable to want wonderful things to happen to you. Carpe Diem.

8 – Your fun and playful personality keeps you young and youthful. Although you are easy going, you tend to have lower self-confidence and anxiety about specific things in your life. You are usually unorganized; yet don’t even know where to start to help yourself to fix the messy problem. You are a proud individual but you need to learn to love yourself more. You need to take the time to find yourself through self expression. How are you currently expressing yourself to the world? Remember that there are people around you that can help you, but you need to let them know you are willing to receive help. Life is easier when you let people in.

9 – You are a quirky person that is always making things work. You are an amazing problem solver that prides yourself on your thrifty living. You like to live an uncomplicated life and usually get by with the basics. Why would you need anything else? You are very easy to please and love doing things for others. Whether it be fixing your neighbors toilet, building a bird house for your mother out of reclaimed wood or helping your friend find a great living room set at the thrift shop; you are always there to lend a hand. Remember that life is special. It is OK to treat yourself to amazing things. You are special too!

10 – You are one who truly appreciates stability and wholeness. You are a reliable person that takes pride in their love of quality and detail. Some might say “cookie cutter”, but you say dependable! You always know what you are getting because you have checked the consumer reports. You love safety and security in all parts of your life. You prefer not to have anything frivolous or extra, if you can’t see the use for it. Chances are you have some sort of creative side that you have curbed in some way. You might love scrap-booking, music or art; yet would never try to make it your career. You feel your problems are your own and nobody needs to be burdened with them. Just keep in mind that exposing your true self to the world (or your neighbors) is not a crime. We are all human.

Let me know in the comments which door you are. It's all in good fun!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Be Mine, Valentine

The celebration of love known as Valentine's Day is nearly upon us. My friend Dana shares some ideas for how to Feng Shui your life for greater love on her blog here.
You & Me Pillow / Bubble Vase / Heart Sheet / Love Candle / I Heart You Candles / Love Story Candles /
Faux Fur Throw / Zebra Rug / Knit Pillow Cover

I also recently discovered that H&M has a housewares section. (If you're thinking "duh" just realize that H&M is one of the four stores that, if it moved to my town, would make my life feel complete). The prices are sooo good! Everything seen above can be purchased for just a bit over $150. In fact, the candles are $5.95 or less (and what's shown in sets are sold that way) and the pillow covers are $12.95 (for the knit) and $5.95 for the You & Me print.

And, if you need some music to get you in the mood, a few of my favorite love songs.

  1. I Want You Bob Dylan
  2. You're All I've Got Tonight The Cars
  3. Ring of Fire Johnny Cash
  4. Closer Tegan & Sara
  5. Treasure Bruno Mars
  6. Just Like Heaven The Cure
  7. Livin' on a Prayer Bon Jovi 
  8. I Just Called to Say I Love You Stevie Wonder
  9. I Will Follow You Into the Dark Death Cab for Cutie
  10. Crazy in Love Beyonce & Jay-Z
  11. I Want You Elvis Costello
What's your favorite love song??? (This is also the week we choose the DJ for our wedding).

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lovely Lucite

To me beauty is a little bit imperfect. A little bit broken. A little bit of a mess. Ultimately, beauty is something that is real and timeless.

So, when it comes to trends, I tune out. 

But... there are a few things that are hot right now but I think I will always love.

In particular, lucite.

lamps / bar cart / file / chair / coffee table / set of chairs

The clear, or sometimes tinted, acrylic that is on chairs, tables, housewares--even the frames of my new eyeglasses--was first developed in the 1930s. 

I loooove this look and the wide-ranging price points for it. In fact, did you know Staples now sells lucite chairs?? At less than $20 a pop compared to Phillippe Starck's Louis ghost chair which starts at $410, these are totally worth the investment.

Now check it out in these rooms!

via Elle Decor
That amazing poster is from a Gap where the homeowner once worked.

Using the ghost chairs updates the otherwise classic feel of the room.

via Red Soles and Red Wine
How glam-bam-thank you ma'am is this room with a lucite coffee table?! Or do you call it a cocktail table?? Inquiring minds want to know.

Friday, February 7, 2014

POTUS vs Batman and a Peplum Dress

Which is more exciting on this chilly Friday morning? 

via MLive
That Air Force One is touching down at my local airport so the President can sign the farm bill here in my town?

via HuffPo

Or that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are moving to Detroit for the summer??

Both portend warmer days ahead, so for me, it's a toss-up. 

Instead I'm thinking about filling out my wardrobe with some items from the Loft's "Sweeter Than Candy" sale. I mean, really, I'm powerless to resist a name like that.

And check out this cute peplum dress in cobalt. I should wear more dresses... With espradilles! 

Like these from Tory Burch

Vietri's new line is out and I'm loving these dishes for a project that's coming together in my mind.

Ritz-Carlton Aruba

And I'm doing a little wedding planning. Which led me to look at my Marriott reward points (not nearly enough for a trip here). But I'm singing along to this song in my head. It's always a good day when I hear "Girls just wanna have fun." Do you have a theme song for your life?

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Happiness Pots, Prancing Zebras, and XO

I usually save up my shopping posts for a Friday (afterall that is my payday) but this week can't wait. 

If you have a hankering for some of your own blue & white check out these happiness pots from Wisteria.

Traditionally Chinese newlyweds were given these pots inscribed with the symbol for happiness. You can buy them individually or as a group from Wisteria here. Today is the last day of their sale, however.

Also, have you seen these adorable capris from Lands' End Kids? 

The zebra print reminds me of Scalamandre's zebras prancing wallpaper.

The Third Floor
Life imitating art. Here's the paper in red in a nursery.

The Glow
Red nurseries are a nice segue into Valentine's Day.

XO Dish // Arrow
I'm loving this cute XO candy dish and jewelry-hanging arrow from Pottery Barn. Both on sale!! The dishes could even be used year-round on your dresser to catch the little items from your pocket at the end of the day. What would you use it for??


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