Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Full Steam Ahead: Fall

I can hardly believe that today is the last day of September! It's full steam ahead with fall around here. And it seems like everything I am digging this week is designed to make this season something I experience with all my senses.

My daughter got Taylor Swift's 1989 for her birthday earlier this month and then a client introduced me to Ryan Adams' version. I'm loving the moody take on my favorites! There's still nothing better than listening to my daughter and her BFF sing along, though.

Signature drink
When it comes to alcohol, my game is really all swagger. I'm a lot more likely to get excited about a second cup of coffee--or even a cup of tea lately--than something from the bar. But, fall is the time for spirits and this mulled wine is so darn pretty!

Tidy Mom
For My Front Door
The scent of burning leaves has been in the air outside my front door, and nothing evokes the autumns of my youth more than that smell. I love it! I also love this gorgeous wheat wreath. 
Crate & Barrel

Touch of Yellow 
Similarly I am LOVING harvest gold upholstery right now. Check out how good it looks in the following rooms!
Bliss at Home

via House Beautiful

Chronicles of Home

A House in the Hills

via Flickr
There are a variety of textures here. Everything from velvet (the yummiest!) to tweed to leather. Here are a few to buy:


Interior Define
This last one looks a lot more electric on my screen than the sample does in person. The feel of the felt is to die for. Have you heard of this company before? I ordered free samples from them recently and really dig their business model.

Look Out!
I just did this personality quiz and got the exact same result for the umpteenth time: ENFJ. Does your type sound like you? I swear that I'm only a little bit J. ;)

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi today.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Back to Basics: Wardrobe

Besides the makeup-free mini-challenge I mentioned yesterday, I woke up this morning with zero desire to wear the fun but funky outfit I'd laid out for myself last night. 


Instead, I chose a crisp white button-down shirt with gray windowpane plaid pants and a pair of open-toe black heels. Of course, it's all old-as-the-hills because I need to go shopping. 


But I really love the idea of a work "uniform." I read about it this summer, around the time that capsule wardrobes were getting so popular, and it resonated with me. It's not too much of a leap for me. Until I was 12, I wore a uniform every day for school.

via Turquoise and Teale

I'm tempted to go out and buy a bunch of slacks in a rainbow of neutrals (black, grey, black & grey together) and five new white button-down shirts. I can always make it feel more fun by adding cool accessories.

via Stylabl

Maybe I should sign up for a wardrobe service like Stitch Fix? My pinterest board is exciting, but no help. Who are some of your favorite fashion bloggers? I could really use a cute pair of jeans like these for fall!

The back-to-basics look is appealing to me on the homefront, too. More on that later!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fall Bucket List

Happy Monday! It's amazing to me how much it suddenly looks like Fall around here! The trees have begun to change color. There are leaves on the ground. The whole world is golden!

Friday night we went to the high school Homecoming game. My son and the rest of the middle school band students were playing with the marching band! There was so much energy in the stadium and it was so nice to feel like part of the larger community. I saw lots of families we have known since my kids were just little-little. 

The rest of the weekend was extremely low-key. I finished one book and got most of the way through another. I slept in, then napped until lunchtime (the joy of having older kids who can get their own breakfast). I baked a delicious banana cake and drank lots of cups of coffee and tea.

Tone on Tone

And I thought about my Fall bucket list... {Fall decorating will have to be another day, but I am so inspired by this neutral tour.}

I would LOVE to make a list full of all the typical things like "visit a pumpkin patch" or "go to an orchard to pick apples" but as my kids are getting older they are less and less likely to want to do some of those things. Or maybe I should say that they are more and more likely to have plans with their friends. Or homework. Or their own interests that do not resemble my picture perfect family ideal. And, the more I insist on life looking a certain way, the more stress it causes for all of us. So, instead, I'm looking forward to a lot of Disney Channel Monstober and connecting with them in the seemingly insignificant pockets of time that I might miss if I was checking things off a to do list.
Better Homes & Gardens

The other thing I did this weekend was to go without makeup!!! It started on Saturday and has turned into this strange mini-challenge. I'm now on day 3--out in public without "my face"-- somehow surviving. Ordinarily I wear really a lot of makeup: foundation, blush, brow powder, eye pencil, mascara, lipstick, nail polish... My makeup routine has just sort of built up over the years. Without it, I feel naked. But now I also feel like I am a little bit closer to being my authentic self. Like a barrier between me and the world has been stripped away. 

Anyway, I wasn't planning to turn it into a challenge so I don't know how much longer I'll go without makeup. But it did remind me of other years when I've given something up in the Fall. One year it was Facebook, and that's when I began reading blogs. Another year it was coffee, which just seems crazy and unnecessary now. But I suppose I enjoy the challenge. It's a little bit like the excitement of going back to school. Setting a goal and working to meet it.

Linking up with this lovely lady today:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dark and Moody Rooms for Fall

It is the most beautiful day here in Michigan!!! The sun is shining; the sky is blue. It's warm, but not too hot. The leaves are just starting to turn colors... Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!! Such a perfect way to welcome the new fall season. 

Although the weather has me all smiles right now, in a design sense this autumn is all about dark and moody colors for me. I think it's because autumn is the beginning of a long season without much light. Rather than fight the darkness, I want to embrace it.

William Sofield via Asmara Rugs
Like this room, which has walls saturated in a deep blue-green and the main focal point is dark grey. It works because there's still a lot of texture and shine from the lacquer of the paint, the sheen of the velvet, and the accessories like the mirrored side table and brushed stainless lamp.

On the other hand, there is this stunning entryway. The walls are so crisp and perfectly white. But it still feels moody because of the large piece of art and the mushroom-colored velvet settee. Art can really set a tone for a room. And velvet is an easy way to make it feel more like autumn. I'm especially excited about all of the inexpensive velvet pillow covers here.

And George

The coppers and dark greys in this abstract piece of art make it feel to me more like autumn. Even the drinks we serve can change with the seasons. In the fall, I prefer red wine and spirits that burn the back of my throat. When the weather turns cooler, I want to feel warm from the inside out. 

Autumn is also a nice time to buy or bring in branches to display. In fact, I currently have a big bunch of eucalyptus leaves at my own house.

Linking up to these lovely ladies today:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Trend or Trad Tuesday: Shibori

Just like "Wine Wednesday" is always a winner, I have been toying with the idea of theme days here on the blog. 

So Tuesdays may now be known as Trend or Trad (as in "traditional"). This is where I will examine in more depth some design thing that seems to be everywhere.

First up: blue and white textiles. Is there anything more classic?!
Halcyon Style Blog
I especially am digging blue and white pillows.

Charleston Mag
Don't they look so crisp and summery? I'm intrigued by the challenge of making them work for other seasons.
via Amber Interiors

The Shibori technique is basically Japanese tie-dye with indigo ink. When I saw the tutorial Shannon did, I realized this style is on trend. There are also tutorials here, and one from 2010, here.

When I researched the background of the word Shibori, I learned that the technique dates from the eighth century... So it is a trend with some very solid roots in tradition.

Although all of these links provide great how-to examples (I had already put the dye in my Amazon cart) it was this mini video on One Kings Lane's Instagram account two weeks ago that inspired me to get it done.

*Blue Sharpie marker
*Rubbing alcohol

Step 1: Draw lines in a pattern on your fabric. I did a grid, but it's whatever you feel like.

Step 2: Pour the rubbing alcohol into your bowl, then dip your first Q-tip. I ended up using five Q-tips for a single side of a 28-by-28 inch pillow.

Step 3: Then alternately drag your Q-tip across the line or dab at the line. It produces slightly different results to drag vs. dab, and you can make the lines as saturated (or not) as you wish. 

The whole process took about 30 minutes and was easy enough to do while I watched a movie in my living room. Julie & Julia--have you seen it? Of course you have. It's from 2009, but I loved it all the same. How adorable is Amy Adams?! Also I totally want to try making a Julia Child recipe now. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

High Five Bookish Friday

Happy Friday! It's overcast here so I'm doing my best to create my own sunshine! 

I have a big batch of books to read from the library so it can rain all weekend if that's Mother Nature's plan.

And speaking of books, here are five(!!) new decorating books that look like must-reads! Christmas is less than 100 days from now. Hint, hint! :)

Anna Spiro's Absolutely Beautiful Things looks bright and well, absolutely beautiful. Isn't the cover pretty?? It comes out October 6.

Emily Henderson's Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves is sure to be full of good tips. It comes out a week later, October 13.

Sarah Richardson has a new book At Home Sarah Style. It doesn't come out until November 3rd. But that's okay because I still haven't managed to get my hand on the first one (which looks amazing as all of her work is).

Lauren Liess' Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating looks like it could be my favorite of all. She has such a way with neutrals. It also comes out October 13.

And, finally, the one that released earlier this month, Eddie Ross' Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic and Accessible Finds looks like it is as information-packed as it is beautiful. Hubba hubba!!!

Have a great weekend! I'm linking up with some lovely ladies here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pillow PSA

Consider this a little public service announcement! 

H&M Home has the most amazing deal right now on new pillow covers for fall. Check out some of my favorites, and how I'd mix and match for the new season.

Turquoise Diamond / Black and White Graphic / Turquoise Velvet

Velvet jewel tones can warm up more summery graphic patterns.

Black and White Stripe / Chunky Knit / Faux Kilim / Black Solid
If black and white is more your style, though, check out these budget-friendly stripes mixed with a pair of chunky knits and a faux kilim. 

Black & White Stripe / Chunky Knit / Gold Lumbar / Black Diamond
Looks equally good with a little more pattern in the black & white diamond jaquard and with a touch of brass from the mustard yellow velvet lumbar pillow cover.

Coral Velvet / Black & White Graphic / Fringe / Black Solid
A little coral velvet plus fringe for this black and white graphic scheme.

Fringe / Turquoise Diamond / Floral / Green Velvet
Even bright florals can feel a little less summery with some cozy velvets and fringe.

In the interest of "research" I really think I need to place an order. It looks like shipping is only $5.95, no matter how many pillows you choose. And since many of these pillow covers are only $9.99 -- and the bargain pillows are only $3.99 -- it makes it so easy to stock up!!

Not sponsored, just too good not to share. :)

Book Review: Rejection Proof

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? 

Wouldn't that be a good way to live your life???

Jia Jiang's new book Rejection Proof is all about his 100-day journey toward living a life without fear of rejection. He documented the experiment on his website, which I wasn't familiar with until after I read the book. Each request is documented with a blog post and short video.

Many of the requests--like asking for a burger refill--are silly and Jiang doesn't expect to get a positive response. For him, the fear-busting is in the asking. It's part of rejection therapy.

Over the course of the 100 day experiment Jiang, an entrepreneur who has an MBA from Duke, learned a great deal about how to ask for what he wants in order to get a yes response. He shares those tips in the book, along with examples of others who have overcome fear, failure, and rejection to become great. 

The topic of rejection is so much more personal than failure (a point that Jiang makes in the book). And so initially I found myself resisting this book in the same way that I at first resisted Brene Brown's books about shame. Ultimately, both rejection and shame are just a part of the human condition. Like Brene Brown, Jiang's book makes the point that we can transcend the negative aspects of these hurtful experiences.

Overall, I found this book to be engaging and informative. I learned a lot about how to be more persuasive in order to get to yes. I'm thrilled that really smart people like Gretchen Rubin with the Happiness Project and now Jiang with his 100-days of rejection are sharing their experiences to help others become their best selves.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Let's Sell This House!

Good morning, friends! I am revved up and ready to get this week started! What? It's already Wednesday, you say? Well, whatevs. Let's get down to business...

This house in my neighborhood is still for sale. I wrote about it back in June. Then a few weekends ago, as we were coming home from church, I saw an open house sign! Since I am on my fourth mortgage, I feel confident saying this means there have been no (good) offers. 

And there really should be! The neighborhood is fantastic: quiet, tree-lined, and super close to schools. The house itself is a great price and a nice size. 

On behalf of my readers, I went to the open house to see it with my own eyes, and I'm glad I did--even if some people thought I was being snoopy. :)

From a decorator's perspective, there are a few issues with the house, most notably the kitchen. After going through the house, I would also say the upstairs carpet needs to be replaced and the bathrooms could use some updating.

"Move in ready" means different things to different people. Personally, I can live with lumpy carpet and less than ideal paint choices for awhile if the house has good bones. This one definitely does.

A few ideas for the next owner:

1. White out. By painting the kitchen cabinets and wainscoting white, this will make the space look bigger, brighter, and more modern. New cabinet hardware would also make a big difference for not much effort.

Since there is space in the living room for a dining table, this eat-in area could be turned into extra counter space with a freestanding island like this one. Open shelving on the wall above the island would provide more storage, getting things off the counters.

2. Designate dining. I would orient the dining table the other direction so it would face north/south rather than east/west. Adding a rug underneath the table, over the carpeting, and turning the sofa so its back is to the table will also help to make this area feel more like its own room rather than part of the living room.

3. Focus! By turning the sofa to face the fireplace, you create a natural focal point. This could be further enhanced by mounting a flat-screen TV to the wall above the fireplace. The cords could be hidden behind the paneling and run to components on the shelves next to the fireplace. A pair of light-weight chairs could be placed on either side of the fireplace for additional seating.

You can see more photos of this house and contact the realtor via Zillow

Besides baking you cookies to welcome you to the neighborhood, I am also available to help you re-decorate! Check out Your Organized Space for more information about our services.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Catching Up

When I haven't been regularly blogging, trying to put a post together feels agonizing. On the one hand, I have soooo much that I want to share that I feel like I am going to burst! And yet my brain feels totally lost, as if the habit of putting words to all those scrambled thoughts has vanished into thin air.

For that very reason I am thinking about participating again in the 31 Days writing challenge that begins October 1st. This is the series that was started by the Nester. It now features categories, and if I do it, I'll write in the House & Home category. I'd like to keep each post brief and relate it to the idea I wrote about here about having a house that is done. Is there anything you would like to read about? Or, are you a blogger who is planning to participate? Please let me know!

Victoria Hagan / Architectural Digest
Also next month--the One Room Challenge(TM) fall linkup begins on Thursday, October 8th. There is nothing in the blog world that I love more than the ORC!!! But does re-decorating a room in six weeks fit with my plan to have a house that is done??? 

The answer is most likely "Of course!" But then I have to decide which room to do... I've been dreaming about a mirrored accent wall for awhile. After seeing the one above on Victoria Hagan's Instagram feed earlier this week, I've been pricing out mirrored tiles online and pulling out my tape measure at home.

Right now I've just started the Closet Cure from Apartment Therapy. After doing 10,000 loads of laundry before school started Tuesday, I culled both kids' wardrobes for things that were either too small or that they just don't like anymore. It really simplifies putting laundry away when the drawers aren't so stuffed! Today's assignment is sweaters.

I used the last, long days of summer to take care of all sorts of things around our house, most notably getting our photos organized. I'm planning to order a few more prints to update this wall, and am excited to give Artifact Uprising a try. Have you used them before? I followed a Facebook ad and was pleasantly surprised to learn about this company. 

In anticipation of first-day-of-school pictures, I bought some grasses to place in pots next to our front door. I really don't love gardening (it makes me hot, sweaty, and cussy) but I do enjoy thinking about flowers. The Fall is a great time to plant bulbs, and I've been adding lots of pretties to my online cart at Longfield Gardens. LFG20 earns you 20% off your first order with them and free shipping on orders over $50.

What have you been up to??? Let's catch up!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

From White to Bright: Two Rooms, Two Design Principles

It's the first day of school here, and my end-of-summer blogging hiatus is over! If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen that I completed some projects IRL over the weekend (along with a TON of laundry!). 

For today's blog post, though, I want to talk about some imaginary rooms for a fun challenge with my pals at Chairish

The idea is to take a room from white to bright using a chair, or chairs, from their collection.

One of my favorite ways to create a sense of symmetry is by using two of an item: two lamps, two pillows, two chairs...
This room started with fantastic millwork and a pair of glass cylinder lamps behind the sleek sofa. I layered in the pink velvet Victorian chairs to give the room a different vibe and a punch of color. The colorful Otomi pillows on the sofa coordinate with the pink but add a different, funkier element. The wire coffee table and fiddle leaf fig tree in a concrete planter further modernize the room. 

Overall, it's meant to be a fresh, fun place for a working girl to come home, kick off her Kate Spade heels, and turn on a little music like this version of Whatever Lola Wants.

Pairs = instant symmetry

To link to the rest of the items used in this room, click here.


But what if, like me, you don't have a pair of chairs to decorate your room around?? This is where the second design principle that I promised comes into play. 

An assortment of three or more constitutes a collection, or creates a collected feel in a room. Odd numbers are also more visually interesting than pairs (although these two principles really work best when they work together).
This room by Ashley Goforth needed no improvement. The white sofa, Lucite waterfall table, and mirrored background are my idea of heaven. But, it is also the perfect room to illustrate the second design principle. I added in this harvest gold Hollywood Regency swivel chair and mixed it with other brassy elements such as the mid-century modern chandelier and bar cart. 

This adapted room also shows that you don't need to add bright colors to make a room bright. All that glitters is gold (or brass). To link to the items I added to this room, click here.

Thanks to my friends at Chairish for this fun challenge! To see even more options, visit the accent chairs section of their website. There are so many great choices! 

If you are interested in having me work with what YOU have, you can now hire me! Visit Your Organized Space to learn more.


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