Thursday, April 30, 2015

ORC Week 5: Bela's Room Re-Do

We are almost to the end of the six-week One Room Challenge. This is week five and next Thursday is the big reveal! Thanks so much for following along! :) 

To see more: Instagram / Facebook / Pinterest Bloglovin

Some great news this week: the wallpaper is in! It arrived six days earlier than anticipated. Hooray! 


This week I went back to my week one post and to my Bela's Room Re-Do board to review my plan and inspiration. Lots of canopies, pompom trim & tassels, baby animals, florals, and bright colors. And guess what?! I pinned our wallpaper a year ago!! It was a different colorway, but clearly that pattern has been on my mind for awhile.

The next few days will be all about the finishing details, which may include some more shopping. Striking the right balance between "cheaping out" and buying too much is a struggle for me (perhaps some of you can relate??). And there's really not a lot of time left.

Ballard Designs

To create the illusion that Bela's bed is a daybed, I would love to add lots of pillows like these beautifully trimmed shams from Suzanne Kasler for Ballard. Definitely too late for a monogram, though.

Chloe Fleury
This bunny head kit from Chloe Fleury would add a great 3-D punch to the walls, tie-in with the rest of the baby animals in the room, and is a whimsical take on the animal bust/antler trend.

Puffin Classics
And since I'm decorating a large bookcase, why not add in some classic stories with beautiful covers??

OK, wish me luck for the next few days. I've never put wallpaper onto a wall before. I am also not at all sure how my moulding plan is going to work out...

Mucho thanks to Linda of Calling It Home for creating the One Room Challenge!!! You can check out the other linking participants here and the Wednesday designers here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Modern Manners

Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top is written by Dorothea Johnson, founder of the Protocol School of Washington, and her granddaughter Liv Tyler, actress and daughter of Aerosmith lead singer/American Idol judge Steven Tyler.

The purpose of manners (and the book itself) is to instruct the reader in how to show common courtesy and small kindnesses to our fellow humans. In fact, Tyler writes in the foreword that although her family may appear more rock-and-roll than Rockefeller, her grandmother has always appeared to have a special grace and natural elegance that brings out the best in others.

It's a pretty little book with easy-to-access tips on how to handle a variety of social and professional situations. The book is full of illustrations, do's and don'ts, and cultural practices from around the world and throughout history.

The book is billed as being for young professionals in any field and those who wish to take their career up a notch. It also has tips for presenting oneself socially (and I would say is a good resource for any parent who wants to instill these values in their kids).

The contents of Modern Manners include:
  • Meetings and Greetings
  • On the Job (including cover letters, interviewing tips, and business attire)
  • Electronic Communications
  • Out and About
  • Dining Skills
  • The Savvy Host
Modern Manners can be read cover-to-cover or used as a handy reference when an issue of protocol comes up in your life. The attractive cover makes it something you'll want to keep out as a decorative element in a room. I intend to stack my copy on top of a selection of other coffee table-type books.

This book can be purchased online from One Kings Lane.

I received this book from Blogging for Books; however, the thoughts contained in this review are all mine.

Friday, April 24, 2015

High Five April Friday

Happy Friday, friends! We've made it to the end of another week... Here is what I can't stop thinking about, otherwise known as my High Five Friday!

1. Capsule wardrobe

via Dallas Moms Blog

I cannot get this idea out of my head. It seems like the perfect way to cut down on the clutter in my closet... Especially after reading this.

2. Yoga with Adriene

Since I can't always make it to yoga class, I'm excited to give this a try.

3. Jonathan Adler Contest

Jonathan Adler

Win $3,000 and be visited by a stylist from Jonathan Adler? Sign me up!

Jonathan Adler

4. Fuller House

via House Beautiful

My daughter and I started watching Full House on vacation earlier this month so I'm kind of excited about this news. The sets should be amazing if DJ (Candace Cameron-Bure) has anything to do with it...

5. NASDAQ 5000

Who knew the way to get me interested in the stock market was to play hip hop on NPR?!


And, in a week when we had the doors and windows wide open, then snow: some T.S. Eliot:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Have a great weekend! The sun is shining and we are headed to Carnival at my daughter's school tonight. My middle schooler is hoping to see this flick with some friends. What do you have planned??


Thursday, April 23, 2015

One Room Challenge Week Four: Hanged

Here we are at week four of the One Room Challenge, trademarked by Linda @ Calling it Home! I am working on my eight-year-old daughter's bedroom for this round. You can read about my plans, inspiration, and progress in weeks one, two, and three.

While I wait for the wallpaper to come in, I have a million little projects and those were the focus for this past week.

I used some of the principles from week two to hang the gallery wall. I laid all of the frames on the carpet and then started arranging them into columns. Since the frames are a mix of black, white, and gold, I wanted it to feel balanced.

Then I just started eyeballing and pounding nails.

I also stumbled upon a solution for my window treatment problem from last week. These pale pink silk dupioni drapes were in the clearance section at Target (fittingly enough on Pink Sunday), part of the Shabby Chic line. It looks like you can purchase them online at regular price--and proof that sometimes it's better for your pocketbook to go to a store than order online.

These are wider than the blue drapes I had purchased from JCP and showed you a little peek of last week. They are lined which I like. They are also significantly less expensive, so suddenly we have another $100 in the budget (or we will after I make returns)! And I love how the pink of the drapes looks against the blue headboard.

The only drawback is that there is no valance with these. Although I wasn't sure how I was going to hang one, a valance was a big part of creating the effect of a canopy over the bed. Trompe l'oeil for a pretend daybed (I did find this custom upholstered daybed thanks to Pursuit of Style, and would be all over it if money were no obstacle, but my total budget for this project is $300).

For next week I need to work some styling magic on this huge built-in shelving unit. Wish me luck!

Now go check out everyone else in the link-up (154 last week!) and the official participants too.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ORC: Week 3 "The Blues"

Welcome back to my One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda of Calling it Home! I am redecorating my eight year old daughter's bedroom in six weeks. If you want to see where I began, you can read week one here and week two here.

This was a productive week! I got everything ordered that we will need. The price on the Parsons desk even came down! It was delivered with Amazon Prime's two-day shipping, along with some neon feathers for our craft project. 

And, although I would not say that arts & crafts are my jam or likely ever will be, my daughter and I did manage to make a dreamcatcher that looks like the picture in my head.

She added colorful beads from our stash to this wreath form that I've had forever. I tied the shapes inside with yarn and we hung the feathers from bright ribbon that I had purchased for another project last year. Easy peasy! I'm hoping my Native American friends approve.

My husband even took off the old, noisy bi-fold closet doors. That was a great surprise! (Part of my plan but not part of the schedule).

When the closet doors were open, the bedroom door didn't open all the way (and as you can see I've put Bela's dresser in her closet to maximize play space in her room). Not having the doors makes the room feel so much bigger now. 

The only drawbacks to the week were 1. the wallpaper may not arrive in time. It's going to take three weeks because it's coming from the Netherlands (but it was half the price that I expected and I'm getting twice as much!) and 2. the blues...

This is the headboard with the new window treatments. Two very different blues. Can I make it work somehow, or will I need to course correct? I'm just not sure...

Now go check out all the other linking participants here (soooo much good inspiration!!) and the official participants here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Better than Before

Habits are the invisible architecture of our daily lives, says author and influencer Gretchen Rubin. In her latest book Better than Before she identifies four tendencies that affect how a person is able to change their life.

I am an Upholder, responding equally well to both external and internal motivation. For more explanation and to see which you are, visit Gretchen's blog here. 

This tendency may explain why I'm so keen to read books like Better than Before, to always be on a quest for self-improvement, and to be (quite literally) a Gretchen Rubin superfan.

Gretchen is also the author of the books The Happiness Project (which inspired me to start this blog) and Happier at Home. She considers the new book a prequel to those, as good habits answer the question, “How do you start doing those things that lead to happiness?”

In much the same way that Gretchen considers herself a "street scientist" who can be more influenced by the stories of ordinary change (a datapoint of one), here are my habits.


Church -- a good friend who has a strong faith asked me at the beginning of Lent if I was going to church regularly and I was sad to say no. Since then, this has become a non-negotiable in my weekend.

Outdoors -- the weather has been so much nicer this week so I've been leaving our doors wide open, but this habit really got its start in the colder temps of winter when I would force myself to walk outdoors.

Housekeeping -- Each week I do an adaptation of the Flylady's weekly home blessing hour that works for me. Every morning I make my bed and every night I run the dishwasher. And I've been decluttering here and there.

Moving more -- I'm really out of shape but I'd like to be strong. So I've been running a little bit, very early in the morning, before it even gets light outside so no one will see me. Today I ran around the block without stopping. My lungs burned and my legs felt like jelly, but I ran for more than the length of an entire Taylor Swift song and that's progress for me.

Eating better -- For me this is all about less sugar. Right now I'm just trying to cut out the obvious culprits especially soda pop. Which makes me an abstainer but in a moderate way.

Reading everyday -- I am making good progress on my GoodReads challenge. Our local library offers audiobooks through the Hoopla app, and since there are many books I want to glean information from but not necessarily read the words, I'm using that to maximize my reading progress!

Email -- I've never had a set time for answering messages and feel so badly when I have unanswered emails, comments, etc. so I'm working on developing a time during my working day to incorporate this necessary function (rather than just try to answer things on the fly).

Similarly, I've had better productivity at the office this year by simply keeping track of my working hours. I use an Excel spreadsheet to record when I arrive, when I leave, and what I've accomplished vs. what needs to be done each day.

These habits fall within the seven categories that Gretchen identifies in the introduction of Better than Before, called "Decide Not to Decide."

I highly recommend this book! Have you read it yet? Do you plan to?

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

Happy Monday, friends! With spring break and the #OneRoomChallenge last week, I missed my High Friday post. Since we could all use a little treat on a Monday, here a few of my favorite things lately...

beach towel / contest / drink

The Lilly Pulitzer for Target sale starts Sunday. Six days, people! I'm hoping to pick up one of these cute beach towels for a classroom gift. You can view the exclusive first look on Elle here.

Today is the last day for the $500 Loloi giveaway on Bellacor. Click here to enter!

This drink has become my new favorite. It's not sugar free, but it's got to be better for me than soda. And it tastes like a mimosa without the buzz!

I'm almost done reading Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives--I hope to write more about habits in another post, but getting ahold of my emails and not eating the muffins in the break room are at the top of my list for today.

This op-ed stirred me...

How about you? What are you reading/drinking/buying right now?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

ORC Week Two: Bela's Room Re-Do

It's spring break! We don't usually go anywhere because I also have a big work event in April, but this time around we decided to head here for a few days.

Which means I didn't get too much accomplished for the One Room Challenge... You can read about my plans and inspiration in week one here.

What progress have I made?
I moved this chair to my daughter's room. The pillow from it was part of the original plan, shown below. It may be too dark, but since I'm using a range of blues, we'll give it a whirl. It does add some extra comfort and pulls the room together in a way.

I also worked on the gallery wall that I have planned.
West Elm
And by worked on, I mean that I framed some posters and read this article about how to hang art--my takeaways? Create columns, lay everything out on the floor, and take a picture. Besides the great tips in the article, I like seeing how everything looks on a dark background. I haven't decided yet if it will be too busy to put the gallery wall on the wallpaper or if I will paint the wall. If I paint, will I go dark to match the base of the wallpaper or do another, lighter color???

I also didn't buy a single thing yet. I used some IKEA frames that I had in storage because, keeping it completely honest, I didn't have a good coupon for Michaels' frames. I was also feeling aggravated because the price on the Parson's desk I've had my eye on forever went up by $20--I don't think there is anything I can do about that. I also missed out on a coupon for buying the wallpaper online (but found another one for Sherwin Williams!)


There's a lot to do to catch up this week. Including possibly crafting with neon and feathers...

For more of my inspiration, check out the Pinterest board I developed here.

And be sure to check out all the other amazing rooms here and here. I'm so excited to be meeting so many new bloggers! Thank you for following along! :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Where We Work

Now that I am not commuting--and since I don't have wee little ones at home--when I go to work, I actually go to an office and I love it!

By day, I work for a legal history nonprofit. I have a large wonderful board of directors, but I am the only employee. One of our most interesting tasks is maintaining a portrait collection. I am not an attorney, but my background is in nonprofits, specifically law-related communications.

This is how my office looks on an ordinary day. Is a messy desk the sign of a busy person? We do have several projects going currently.

One of the things I like best about my office is how it reflects not only my own personality but our mission. It is decorated with books, flowers, and art that have been part of our work. Rather than keep those things hidden away in boxes (of which we have a few anyway), I put them out on display.

To create additional storage, I even brought this antique stereo cabinet (below) from home. I think it gives the space a bit more personality than something you'd find from a big box store.


But, my dream is to open an office dedicated to interior decorating. Maybe my husband (who is the business-side) will be my partner or maybe my daughter in about 15 years. Or just maybe one or more of the many creatives that are already working in my community will want to work together???

My ENFJ personality pretty much requires that I be surrounded by people. And so I also imagine our clients and others popping by the office to see what we are working on, having a chat and a cup of coffee. Dance parties when we score a new client. Yoga in our conference room. Maybe a podcast like this one. Doesn't it all sound so lovely???

Even though it is lightyears away from happening, I've found the perfect building and ogle it every morning on my drive to the office. It's biking distance from my house, and right at the edge of Michigan State University's beautiful campus. The walls are no longer this awesome shade of radiant orchid, but that fantastic chandelier is still there.

If I was in one of many fabulous cities like NYC, Boston, Austin, Washington, D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, or Miami, we wouldn't have to wait for someday. There's a brilliant group called WeWork, a coworking company, that offers memberships to business people who need an office, a conference room, a sense of community. Besides those nine cities, they are international with locations in London, Israel, and Amsterdam.

There are 14 WeWork locations in New York City alone, with a 15th coming soon, and another in Brooklyn. Check out a few of my favorites from the Big Apple below:

West Broadway

West Broadway
West Empire State
West Empire State
42nd Street

Park South

Check out the website here for additional images of their locations and to learn more about their innovative services.

Friday, April 3, 2015

High Five Spring Break Friday

It's the Friday before spring break here and I'm busy trying to get everything done to go out of town for a few days with my family. A happy Friday, for sure.

Here are a few more of the things that I loved this week, otherwise known as the Friday High Five!

1. Sinatra Loves Elvis
I read this morning that the house Frank Sinatra lived in during much of the 1950s and 60s is for sale. Ol' blue eyes was mentioned a few times this week but my favorite was this clip of him and Elvis together.

2. One Room Challenge
The happiest time of year has started: One Room Challenge. I'm linking up with 140 others on Thursdays. Go check them all out!
Coco + Kelley

3. Easter Table
This Dodie Thayer inspired table-setting inspired me to set our Easter table. I love love love all the neon!

Little Green Notebook

4. Chairish the Love
Chairish has teamed up with Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook for a $150 giveaway. Go here to enter.

Barnes & Noble

5. Love the Home You Have
Melissa Michaels' inspiring new book was released on Tuesday. (I'm still waiting for mine to arrive in the mail; I think today is the day!) She writes about it on her blog here.

Happy Easter/Happy Passover!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

One Room Challenge!

Can you just feel the excitement?! It's One Room Challenge time! For those of you who are not familiar with the phenomenon that is the ORC, it is a semi-annual design lovefest, featuring 20 talented interior designers/bloggers/DIY enthusiasts on Wednesdays, owned and operated by Linda of Calling It Home, who sweetly/smartly invited link-up participants in Fall 2013. Think of us Thursday participants as the "farm team"--some of my favorites from last year are in the official program this year.

So I had hinted at what I was going to be doing here and here. That's not a hint? That's straight up telling you my plan, you say? Well, whatever. :) Today, let's talk about my inspiration for my daughter's bedroom.

Before we begin, let me tell you a bit about her. Bela Simone is 8.5 years old. She loves My Little Pony, plans to be a teacher when she grows up, and has the best laugh of anyone I know. Before she was born my son (who was three at the time) wanted to name her "Bunny Milkshake." The two of them spend nearly half their lives at their dad's house and the other half (my favorite) with my husband and me. Our houses are basically across the street from each other, in two different but similar neighborhoods. His house is a mid-century modern ranch and ours is a mid-century modern split-level, which we moved into a little over a year ago to be closer to school.  

I want Bela's bedroom to feel pretty; to be a space that when she is an adult she thinks back on with fondness and pride; and for her to always always feels like this was a labor of love.

We are starting with this duvet cover If you are on the fence about splurging on higher-quality bedding for a child, I urge you to just do it. This is such nice bedding; the old design rule about the closer to your skin, the better the quality of textiles is true. However, the colors and pattern have limited where our design can go...

My very unsatisfying plan for a long time was to just paint the walls a color that coordinated with what is in the duvet cover. Until I saw this room. 

Agent Carter. She was the girlfriend of Captain America and is now on her own in NYC after World War II. I adore the girly floral wallpaper, the built-in shelves, and the daybed with sconces.

I have also always wanted to create a canopy like the one in this room by Albert Hadley.

Autumn Clemons

Or, this one by ORC participant Autumn Clemons.

And with lots of special touches like this closet by Julia Ryan.

Julia Ryan
So, as much for you all as it is to keep my thoughts organized, here's the plan:

1. Buy wallpaper (fingers crossed my local store has it since it's sold out online) and pre-cut moldings from Home Depot. Figure out how to get the wallpaper on the wall. Add moldings. Answer whether I will need paint.
2. Buy enough pompom trim for drapes, bedskirt, and bulletin board.
3. Find best price on Parsons desk and get it ordered.
4. Probably order some neon feathers. Make a little arts & crafts project with my sweet Boo-Boo.
5. Pick up a few more poster frames and ribbon.
6. Source drapes and valance in acceptable colorway.
7. Design layout for gallery wall.
8. Decide if we want sheers or will try to patch roller shade.
9. New light fixture?? Sconces??
10. Is there room for the blue & pink chair from last spring's ORC?
11. Pick up some other little items and style like crazy!

It's really not that much to do. The basics are in place, and with the exception of the desk, all of the furniture has already been purchased. But there is some DIY involved and that's not particularly my jam. 

We also only have six now five weeks--reveal coming May 7! I hope you will follow along. :) Instagram / Facebook / Pinterest / Bloglovin


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