June 19, 2013

Camping with the family

by Shelly

Last weekend we whisked away the Mr. for a little Father’s Day R & R in the mountains.  No cell phone service, no electronic equipment…just us and nature.  It had been about five years since our last camping experience and we were all anxious to try it out again.  We had gone three times before Ellie was about two years old, but every time it was a bit of a disaster…..wind storms twice and sweltering heat with no shade one other time.  So we had sort of curbed the whole camping thing for a while.

Ellie is now at a great age where she isn’t so dependent on us, she’s very into being an explorer and is quite the little helper when we need her to be. That combined with the fact that we are still in super budget mode (which means cheap vacas for a while)…camping just seemed like the perfect family trip!  We decided to check out Sequoia National Park which is known for it’s beautiful scenery and giant…I mean GIANT sequoia trees. They really are pretty spectacular!


Since we were headed there without a camping spot reservation, we knew that finding one might be difficult. Once we drove the 4 1/2 hours from North Orange County to the entrance to the park, we knew driving another two hours up into the big tree forest to camp wasn’t an option.  It was getting late and we still had not eaten dinner.  So we opted to stay in the foothill region of the park at Buckeye Flat Campground.  It actually turned out to be a beautiful little spot that is situated right next to the middle fork of the Kaweah River.

{kaweah river with mt.whitney peaking over the ridge}

Ellie thoroughly enjoyed herself!  She loved the whole sleeping in a tent experience and she thought it was a total blast cooking our meals outdoors on the propane stove and over the fire.  If anything the enthusiasm we saw from her made the whole trip worth while!  She is definitely a nature girl and we never would have realized it if it were not for this trip.

{ellie the first morning looking happy as a clam}

{cooking outdoors was one of her favs}

This particular campground did not have showers, but we drove up to another campground one day and took a shower for $3. Money well spent!  The other days, we all opted to bathe in the river.  Honestly, it was a wonderful, refreshing experience. You can’t beat soaping up your hair while gazing at Mt. Whitney! It was beyond beautiful.

{hiking to our bathing hole. my nephew and his fiance also camped with us.}

We are already planning our next camping trip since this one was such a success!  And let me just say friends….I am NOT a total outdoorsy girl. I’m pretty girly to say the least.  I still managed to wear a bit of makeup each day…lipbalm and a bit of my CC cream, last seen here.  And a cute trucker hat or a head scarf hides bad hair for sure!  Below are a few items that make the whole camping experience much more enjoyable for me.


1. I may be camping, but a cute table is still important to me.  Retro and bright are a fun way to dine alfresco!

bamboo flatware

melamine plates

enamel cups

oilcloth tablecloth

2. In the evening there is lots of sitting around the fire time. A comfy chair is imperative and this one is cool because you can set a drink or a plate down as well.

camp chair

3. Bugs really, really like me. It may just be all the red wine I like to consume. Haha!  But seriously, this lantern is fabulous for keeping away the bugs and shedding some light on your campsite.

citronella lantern

4.  Cooking in the dark or even at dusk can be challenging to do.  I have found that a headlamp is perfect for this situation.

head lamp

5.  Bottles are not exactly ideal when camping.  So I usually seek out good ol’ box wine, so that nothing breaks.  This wine is definitely a step up (a few steps actually) from the low grade stuff we usually drink while camping.


6. Truth be told, I don’t own this. BUT I will soon!  I think this little piece of equipment is just perfect for keeping the cooking off the main picnic table.  It just keeps all your cooking stuff in one convenient place. No more slouching over to sift through our big plastic storage box of cooking stuff.

camp kitchen


So, do you and your family like to camp? What are your must haves? And where do you like to go? I would love to get suggestions on both of these since this is quickly becoming our fav new hobby!

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May 31, 2013

Project: Vintage Bike

by Shelly

Around the same time last year I posted about a particular bike I had my eye on.  Well, I didn’t get that bike for my birthday last year, but my boy didn’t forget how much I wanted a vintage one.  This year he totally surprised me on Mother’s Day and picked up a 1975 vintage Schwinn Breeze off of a Craigslist seller for $60 bucks!  After researching the serial number, I also found out this particular bike was made not only in the year I was born, but the same month as well…July!  I just dated myself, but I don’t care. So cool!

*sorry for the blurry Instagram pic!*

She looks pretty good in this picture, but the paint is dull and chipped, she’s missing her pedals, the tires need to be replaced, and the chrome is all rusted and pitted.  My hubby use to do triathlons in his teens and early 20s, so he’s pretty good at taking apart and fixing up bikes.

I decided to try and make this bike as New England-y as possible and go with a navy, white and tan color combo. Here is what I’m doing to fix her up…  Thank you hubby!!

She’s getting a new powder coat paint job in Sapphire Blue (my fav color).  We’re replacing the grips with some cool cork ones and staining them a darker color to match the seat.  The old leather seat is coming off and I found a vintage style quilted one that will feel nice on the tush.  The old black tires are also coming off and being replaced with a set of fresh, white ones. And the final accessories are a large wicker basket just perfect for carrying groceries or a picnic in and a cute little brass bell!  I’m excited can you tell?

I’m sure you are wondering if I’m really going to spend a ton of time on it. Well, already Ellie and I take quite a few bike rides throughout the week!  Our neighborhood is also filled with lots of summertime activities…concerts and movies in the park, etc. Parking a car can get pretty crazy, so it will be nice to have a bike to avoid all that. The vintage bike thing has definitely caught hold in our household and now the hubby is looking for a Schwinn of his own and I’m looking for the kid version of my Breeze for Ellie. They made a smaller girl bike version of the same bike!

I’ll leave you on this beautiful Friday with some pretty bike images that I’ve found to inspire me!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

1.  begbicycles.com 2. lovelybike.blogspot.com 3. modern-sophisticate.blogspot.com 4. unknown 5. weheartit

Hope you all have a great weekend!

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May 23, 2013

Orchid Centerpieces

by Shelly

Hi all!   Today my buddy Andrea over at For The Love Of  is showing her readers how I helped her create an orchid and fern centerpiece for her dining room table.  Please stop over and say hi and learn how to make this easy and quick arrangement for your home!

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It’s no secret that I LOVE summer!  My little girl and I share a July birthday and combined with all the beach days, bicycle rides, bbqs, ice cream cones and outdoor concerts…well it pretty much encompasses all the things I love in life.

As far as our dinners around here, I have definitely been switching things up and making my menus a bit more light and grill friendly.  This yummy recipe was an older one I stumbled across in my recipe folder filled with lots of handwritten recipes and torn out pages from magazines.  You will NOT be disappointed!  The hubby and I SCARFED up our food, it was that good.

To make it a little kid friendly I just sliced up the steak, made her a simple salad of lettuce, carrots and garbanzo beans on the side and added a slice of the DELICIOUS grilled ciabatta . She was happy!

So get all the ingredients before this weekend and make sure you don’t forget a nice bottle of wine to go with! This is perfect for a relaxing dinner on the patio.

Makes 4-6 Servings

40 minutes


1 pound hanger, skirt, or flank steak

1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

1 medium tomato (about 6 ounces) halved

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 cup plus 5 teaspoons of olive oil, divided

4 spring onions or 6 scallions, bulbs halved, dark-green parts discarded

5 1/2- inch thick slices ciabatta

8 cups mixed summer lettuces (such as mizuna, baby mustard greens, and tatsoi) *I just used baby herb greens and it was great!*

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into 1/2 inch strips


Season steaks with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper; set aside.  Grate cut sides of tomato on coarse holes of a box grater into a medium bowl down to the skin; discard skin. Add shallot and vinegar; whisk in 1/4 cup oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside. Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead.

Heat a gas grill to high.  Toss spring onions in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill onions until just tender, 2-3 minutes per side.  Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2″ pieces.

Grill steak until seared and cooked to desired doneness, 3-5 minutes per side for medium rare, depending on steak’s thickness.  Transfer to a cutting board. Let rest, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make croutons.  Brush both sides of bread slices with remaining 4 teaspoons (or more) oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill bread until dark golden brown and nicely charred in spots, about 2 minutes per side.  Set toast aside until cool enough to handle, then break into roughly 1″ pieces.

Thinly slice steak against the grain.  Toss lettuces, basil, spring onions, croutons, and some of the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add steak and toss gently to coat.  Serve with remaining vinaigrette along side.






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May 7, 2013

Mother’s Day 2013

by Shelly

Mother’s Day is right around the corner.  Do you know what you’re doing for your momma?  We basically all want the same…. a little relaxation and appreciation for all our hard work and pain!  *wink wink*   So let her relax and spoil her right.  Give her a day that’s all about treating her nice.


recipe for mothers day brunch

lounge pants



initial cuff

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1.  I NEED this skirt!  Ok need may be a bit much, but want? Oh yes…definitely. Sheridan French was brought to my attention by a friend of mine. Thanks Trista!  And I instantly fell in love with her gorgeous tunics, bright colors, and THIS SKIRT!!!! It would be perfect for summer soirees, date nights and my birthday in July.  It’s absolutely beautiful and it needs to be mine.

2.  This soap caught my eye at West Elm a few weeks ago.  My husband comes from Swedish ancestry, so I tend to pick things up that even hint at being swede. Haha! The smell is divine and it looks so preppy cute on the countertop.

3.  Our dogs are mostly indoors, so consequently they require big cushy beds to lounge on.  They currently have beds from Martha Stewarts’ line at Petsmart and I haven’t been too happy with them.  And…they are definitely NOT as cute as this Dash and Albert dog bed! I’m a huge fan of the line and have been very happy with the quality of their products.  These will be seen in my home soon I think.

4. We ventured out to the desert for the big Coachella event a few weeks ago.  Having previously attended the concert (this was my eighth year), I knew that makeup tends to melt right off your face.  I decided to give this beauty balm a try after hearing so much about them.  Light weight coverage, primer, moisturizer, anti aging treatment, and sunscreen all in one….it sounds too good to be true.  However, I can tell you first hand THIS IS THE BEST STUFF!!!  I’m hooked.  It gives my blotchy, acne prone, sensitive skin a nice amount of coverage and hides my flaws, and I’ve also noticed an overall improvement to the texture.  You must try this!

5. I instantly fell in love with this tunic when I laid eyes upon it at Anthro.  It’s has a slight vintage feel and is just the look I tend to lean towards for summer.  It will be a great piece to dress up with bright skinny jeans and wedges or down with cutoffs and sandals.

6.  It’s no secret that I love a good monogram. This pillow would look adorable in our British inspired living room.


Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

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March 1, 2013

Spring Ikea Finds

by Shelly

The other day I joined my good friend Jenn and her adorable new baby Laird for a little Ikea shopping trip.  I like Ikea (mainly for the meatballs), to stock up on Swedish food (my husband is from Swedish roots) and usually to grab cheap supplies for parties.  This time I was searching for items to decorate my husbands’ new office!  That will be another post for sure.

I’m not always the biggest cheerleader of Ikea to be honest.  I think cheap finds, but I also want things to last and I don’t always find that combo there.  But this time I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a few items that looked really good and of quality!



This Flatweave Rug caught my eye just as we were checking out.  It was just laying across some boxes in the wrong area.  It looks much more expensive than it really is. But like most flatweave rugs, you get a great look for a great price!

It’s no big surprise that I love anything woven, rattan, cane or the like. It gives a room such a warm cozy feeling.  Another thing I love…a shot of black in a room.  This Rattan Chair fits both those bills!  I think a bright floral pillow and a light weight throw would look great on this chair.

This Buffalo Check Bedding isn’t new, but everytime I see it at Ikea I fall in love with it all over again.  It’s just perfect for a little girls room.  It also comes in tan and it would be great paired with dark navy accents and rustic furniture for a boys room.

I’m sort of still kicking myself that I didn’t grab these Pastel Check Towels.  They’re kitchen towels, but they would be SO cute as napkins for our Easter table!  They’re borderline neon they are that bright.  You could also unfold them and hang them off the table as placemats. I think I need to go back and pick these up!

Another fabulous piece for your table! This Stripe Table Runner would just be the perfect first layer on the table. I would line up colorful tulips in vases down the center of this. Pretty!

I about fell over when I saw this Graphic Pillow. It is THAT good!  TEN DOLLARS PEOPLE!!!! And it looks so much more expensive than that.  I wanted this, but it really wouldn’t go in my house. But someone needs this. Please go buy it.

Another shocker was this Poster Set of 3.  It looked like something wonderful I would find on Etsy. These would be adorable in a little kids room.  I may go back and get the set just for the London poster….being the big ol’ Anglophile that I am. It would look cute in my office.

These lanterns are a staple at Ikea, but I’ve never seen these Pastel/Neon Lanterns before.  My friend Jenn and I both went nuts for them. She’s already planning on buying a bunch for her annual Fiesta Del Sol party, that she and her family throw every summer.  Umm, and how cute would they look along with the pastel check towels as napkins? Cute!

This Oversized Floor Lamp is going to find a new home in my husbands’ office.  $69!  And it’s large and such a great look for a room. A must.

I am off to spruce up our patio area for some major lounging this weekend!  It’s set to be in the 80s all weekend…HALLELUJAH!!!  I see surfing, sun bathing, bbq’ing and doing nothing in our future.

Hope you have a good one too!

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February 28, 2013

tangle miracle

by Shelly

I thought it was just my kiddo, but no…it seems to be a common problem.  Tangles and kids who DO NOT like their hair to be brushed!  I wash Ellie’s hair usually about two to three times a week.  That’s all she’ll allow me to do.  Her head (like many other kids out there) is SUPER sensitive. So I can shampoo, brush, whatever…as gently as possible and she will still scream at me that it hurts her noggin.

But not now!

This is the magic potion….

We just got our brush and spray yesterday.  I immediately sprayed it in her…just home from school/ crazy tangled up hair…and wouldn’t you know it, I could easily brush her hair with the detangler brush. And she didn’t complain one bit!  She actually asked me to keep brushing her hair because it felt nice. NO JOKE!

I think it’s a miracle.

Get it here:

Tangle Tamer Brush

Detangler Spray

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February 22, 2013

Rugs I’m Loving

by Shelly


Love them WAY more than carpet. Please, if you have or want carpet…reconsider.  Ok, I’m not talking about carpet in a bedroom.  That’s a whole different subject.  I mean in the living room, family room, the SOCIAL spaces of your home.  Rugs add such an interesting layer to a room and bring in another shot of color and/or pattern.  And you can switch it out down the road if your style changes or if you want to do something new to the room. I just love them.

Here are some that have caught my eye as of late. I give the prices for the large sizes, but many of these come smaller too.  I’m crushing on….

Aztec Rug 8×10 $883.20

To do a room like this…

{via So Haute.com}

Overdyed Aqua Rug 7’10″ x 11′ 2″

Just like this eclectic dining room….

{country living}

Cream Garden Floral Rug  8×10 $699

Adorbs in a girls room!  But this could be so fun in a breakfast area or maybe a family room with buffalo check! Cute!

Fair Isle Grey/Platinum Cotton Woven Rug 8×10 $385

You can’t BEAT Dash and Albert rugs and their pricing!  This fair isle beauty is a perfect layering piece that will give your room instant texture and depth.

Olivia Jade Area Rug 8×10 $623

I have been crushing on this rug for a while.  I just love the jade mixed with turquoise and then accented with black! It’s definitely not an expensive rug, so I’m not sure about the quality.  But I may just have to get this for myself and my new office! More on the new office next week friends!  But this little number seems like it could be really pretty in person.

And a side note, I’m not usually a big tea drinker.  However, in my attempt to not always relax in the evening with a glass of red wine, (I like red wine…a lot!), I’ve been trying out hot teas.  I recently picked up this tea at World Market and I’m really enjoying it!

It’s caffeine free and is suppose to clean out the liver. Which obviously this red wine drinking/ coffee lover needs every once in a while.  Haha!

Well friends, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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There have been quite a few times that while working with clients on a room, they tend to want to use their entire budget on the BIG pieces.  Namely things like the sofa, the occasional tables, chairs, the bed, etc etc.   The things you sit on or place things on in a room.  Often when I’m presenting a plan, the thought of using part of the budget for the things that will really make the room feel pulled together, cozy and lived in, seems to scare the clients.  They often just want to use what they have…the ten year old quilt their grandma made them that has a hole (not joking), the 1970s floral painting that was given to them by their aunt, the knick knacks that are too small but were SUCH THE DEAL at Homegoods, things like that.   Believe me, if a client gives me something that is sentimental and fabulous, we can use it to design a whole room around it!  I LOVE doing that whenever possible actually!

But sadly, I usually have to persuade the people I work with quite a bit, to finish out a room completely and not just stop at the big ticket items.  This means bringing in a great rug or flooring, pretty lighting, well thought out and curated accessories, and one of the most important of all… fabulous ART!
Yes, ART!  It helps bring a room together, give it personality, and set the tone.  It draws your eye up to the liner space in the room, and keeps the viewer interested in the room.  Recently I have been searching for a fairly large piece to go in my own home, as well as spec’ing out a few pieces to go in my clients rooms.  Etsy is still one of the best go-tos for affordable, great looking original art.  And these particular artists caught my eye and I thought I would share them with you!


This artists’ work has such a beautiful tapestry quality about it.  Michelle Morin can be found HERE.

Her pelican reminded me of this room…

I will never tire from a simple landscape painting.  I’m always drawn to them and love to work them into a room where a client wants a peaceful, soothing experience.

These landscapes are a little haunting and I love them.

JShears can be found HERE.

See how the landscape in this casual living room just highlights the fireplace even more and creates a soothing environment?

A great portrait painter is hard to find in my book. Well…but I have high expectations since my favorite portraits happen to be by a Master. But this artist is phenomenal!

Here’s a cool vignette with a similar painting. Although, I don’t like it as much as the two above!

And his landscapes are pretty darn good too!

This simple still life would look so awesome over a bar cart or in a man’s study.

These were done by Kai Samuel-Davis. His work is found HERE.

* I have a strange “thing” for graveyards.We just don’t have the cool old ones that they have back East.*

Thor Wickstrom, shop HERE.

There are so many more talented, wonderful artists on Etsy.  I need to make up my mind on which one is going to be going over our living room sofa possibly.  So many choices!


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We’ve been completely blessed since having Ellie, with an abundance of fabulous babysitters for her.  Lydia was her first sitter and over the years she has passed along a few of her friends for us to use as well.  Carly of Carly Rae Weddings was one of those friends!  Not only is the girl great with kiddos, but she is THE go-to for a fabulous wedding!

Recently she asked me to give her a little help with her newlywed abode.  She knew what she liked, but she needed a little jumping off point to start from.  The Ikea sofa and the table lamp were the only things that needed to stay in their living room.  The rest was where she was having trouble.  I tried to keep things super affordable and budget friendly for her.  And since they’re a young couple, I wanted to keep the feel fresh and bright.

Living in an rental can make personalizing your space a little more difficult.  Since the walls must be left boring white, it’s important to bring in color!  Starting with a fun aqua chevron rug (which happens to be a fav print of Carly’s), it instantly adds some personality and color to the space.  A mirrored, lacquer console will double as a television stand and extra storage.  It will also create a focal point for a fabulous gallery wall!  Then the big grey sofa gets a punch of color by adding a fun mix of pillows… metallic gold linen, a quirky Thomas Paul bird print, a small scale faded coral and a cute monogram accent pillow.  For extra seating and another dash of color, two Moroccan turquoise poofs can go on the opposite side of the coffee table.  Add a fun faux fur throw to cuddle up in on colder evenings, and simple linen panels that can be spruced up with fun trim and you’ve got an expensive living room that can move when you do!

floor lamp | coffee table | side table | console | metallic pillow | bird pillow | diamond pillow | monogram pillowleather poof | chevron rug | faux fur throw | drapery rod | draperies

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February 13, 2013

Valentine’s Day Dinner

by Shelly


I’m just a cheesy girl who loves to get all romantic on Vday!  My fav way to spoil my main squeeze is to feed him silly. Surprise surprise!  Eating out is for the birds…who wants to deal with those crowds and those PRICES?  Not me.  So eat something fabulous at home and make him take you out on the town the following weekend!

My go-to to make my guy putty in my hands is a great big steak!  Filet cause it’s an extra special day.  Then add one of the mentioned accompaniments, a little something green and a delicate starch.  Don’t forget the…better than your everyday… wine and a chocolatey surprise to wrap up the meal.  He’s sure to understand why you’re his Valentine!

Oh…and make sure you put on the moooood music!

 steak | mushrooms | sauce | lobster | asparagus| fingerlingsmusic| wine| chocolate souffle

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February 12, 2013

Master Bedroom Transformation

by Shelly

I would say 9 times out of 10 my clients chose to focus on their master bedroom last…or sadly…not at all.  This always befuddles me!  In a room that you spend so much time in (yes even though your eyes may be closed most of the time), I feel it’s so important to have a soothing space that you love!

A few months ago a busy, young mom to three energetic little boys contacted me to transform her sad, neglected bedroom.  After chatting with her on the phone about the project, I felt a innate sense of DUTY to give her a room she and her husband could enjoy after they put the kiddos to bed.

Like most married couples it seems, they were living with hand-me-down furniture and lifeless walls.

The couple lives in a charming old home in a very sought after area in Northern California.  The room lacks storage…which they need desperately for their clothes AND her office which is also in the bedroom.

Then there’s the bed….which DEFINITELY needs a full makeover.  Her inspiration pics really helped me to design out a space that is uniquely THEM!

So our plan is to bring in traditional elements with some unique touches.  Lots of white fluffy bedding with some soft accent pillows. There will also be a slight coastal feel to the room with the paint, roman shades and accessories.  The whole room is going to be about layers, layers, layers.  And calm….. a place my client can retreat to at the end of a busy day of chasing boys.    Ahhh…

The ordering has begun and I can’t wait to see this room transformed!

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January 4, 2013

New Year: House Goals

by Shelly

Hello Friends!

I’ll admit, it’s been tough getting my blog posts in since our kiddo has been off of school for THREE WEEKS!  I may only have one child, but that makes me her full time playmate since she doesn’t have siblings to keep her busy. The hubby and I are wiped out for sure!  After Christmas we decided to introduce her to the Lord of Rings movies since Santa had brought her the Legos video game version for our XBox Kinect.  When we haven’t been watching the movies, we’ve been playing the game.  I’m DONE with electronic devices. I’ve been craving the outside and being active.  Luckily I’ll get my wish this weekend with a little time on the mountain snowboarding.

For New Years we got together with good friends and their kids and had a fabulous time!  The next day while the hubby was braving the cold, COLD water to have a New Years’ surf, I made a list of projects that I would like to conquer in 2013.  Of course I have resolutions of sorts, but for me projects are usually the goals I set for myself first.  That’s just where my design mind goes.  So here’s what I’m aiming to accomplish.  We’ve been on a strict budget since buying our home a year and a half ago, so I’ve only been able to decorate a little at a time. It’s driving me crazy, but my husband is good at keeping me on track and not blowing our bank account (which I could easily do in probably a day if given the opportunity!).

Project #1

The linen closet. Ain’t she purty!?

This space was home to the hot water heater that was broken and needed to be replaced when we bought our home.  We went with a tankless water heater which freed up this space.  Our home actually didn’t even HAVE a linen closet, so this was imperative!  Since we blew way past our budget, when it came time to do closets we were stuck with having to use Lowe’s ready made inserts. Not what I wanted, but we had to have something. So this space houses our towels, sheets, vacuum, iron, ironing board, etc.  It’s not pretty. And I hate that it’s right in our hall and it stares at us everyday. Adding doors isn’t the easiest solution since there is a bit of an issue with the ceiling and walls in this area.  I’m thinking maybe a neat tension rod at the top with just a really tailored pair of drapery panels might work.  But I need to do SOMETHING!  Another option is to rip this whole thing out and have my cabinet guy build me something I design up. We’ll see….but it needs to be fixed!

Project #2

The living room

I finally added some pillows to our blue velvet sofa…the check ones in front.  But I need side tables and lamps.  The tables are a mishmash….the round one to the left is a vintage ice scream table given to us by the inlaws. I covered it with a burlap tablecloth from Ballard to make it more formal, but I don’t like it. The bamboo campaign one on the right is a piece I boughtyearsago when I worked at Thomasville. I like it, but I want more symmetry in this room.  Not sure what I want to do with it yet.

So matching side tables and some ceramic style lamps are what I’m aiming for.  These lamps I pulled out of our bedroom after I found some other lamps I liked better for that room. These aren’t working for me. AT. ALL.

A rug would be nice too… I need to layer big time in this room now, since our new little pup has decided to use it as her personal piddle pad. We’ve become EXPERTS at getting out pee and poo in seagrass.  There’s no smell, but seagrass discolors with certain cleaning products. We figured that out now, but the first few incidents are still showing. Ugh.

And as much as I LOVE my bird prints over the sofa, they just aren’t big enough. Soooo, new art too.

This list is getting long!

Project #3 or maybe 2b?

Living room window

I’m over the bamboo. This window is SUPER wide and the locking mechanism keeps breaking! SO that’s why it’s down in this picture. It’s stuck this way now.  If I could fix it…again (it’s already been fixed once before), I would like to just add draperies. But notice that the top of these windows hits the ceiling?  That is going to make adding draperies and a rod tricky. But that’s the plan!

And then a table and some lighting for this side of the room also. I love my blue damask pattern chairs!

Project #3 or 2c

The fireplace

Our lovely 60s home has really odd angles and walls that make no sense.  The living room is long with a vaulted ceiling and there’s a weird jut out there…seen on the right…that once also had a shelf of sorts. Weird, weird, weird. We took the shelf out, but the jut out is still there. And then the fireplace is off centered at the long end of the room with an asymmetrical brick surround and a boring white mantel. It use to have a matching long PINK stone..yes pink… hearth, but we ripped it out along with the floors during demo. We haven’t replaced it because I’m not quite sure what we want to do here.   But I think we’ve decided on large stacked Mexican beach pebbles with a simple white mantel surrounding it. We’d get rid of the long side to the right though.

And notice my empty basket to the left? I killed my fiddle leaf fig just before Christmas, so I need to replace it now that I know the secret of how to keep them alive. Don’t water them! No seriously…. only once a month! Take them outside spray them down and let them drain. Then bring them back inside. Once a month. It’s been working on the one in our family room and it’s growing like crazy!

Project #4

The Master Bathroom

I’m going to add a linen roman shade with an interesting trim down the sides to the window. I also just ordered a beautiful Phillip Jefferies grasscloth with a subtle metallic thread running through it for the walls. It’s SO pretty!   I hesitated with doing grasscloth in here, but after reading reviews and getting advice from other people who have used it in baths, I’ve decided to go with it. The room needs to be warmed up and I think this will help.

And I may….may…. change out the mirror. Shhhh….don’t tell hubby!

Project #5

The Guest Room Closet

…or lack there of! The closet in this room was made into a closet in our master bedroom, but I STILL didn’t have room to put a long hanging section in. Yes, I know..I have a lot of clothes!  So here are are my dresses and super chunky coats that just don’t fit in my closet.  As soon as the hubs gives me the thumbs up, my cabinet guy is going to build a closet for me with antiqued mirrored doors. Hopefully SOON!

So there you go…my New Years house goals!  Those are the main ones anyway.  We still have the complete outside of our house to remodel and landscaping….argh..the list goes on and on.  But those will wait.

Does the New Year make you want to tackle things around your home too?

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December 29, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

by Shelly

I had completely intended on posting one or two posts before Christmas hit.  But alas plans were a bit altered when I realized I had to get my butt in gear to host the holiday and I only had a few days to prep before the in laws came to visit.  Christmas came….we ate, we drank, we laughed, and lounged…a lot.  My tradition each holiday is to NOT make the same ol’ thing.  This years’ menu contenders were a hit and I may just have to put a few of the dishes on holiday rotation.

The Christmas Eve table setting…..

Unlike holidays’ past, I decided to take down the decorations and completely de-Christmasfy the house before New Years.  I am just done done done with jingle bells, reindeer, glitter, etc.  DONE!  I left a few wintery items up like the knit pillows and the Pendleton blankets on the sofas and chairs however.

Well with the cleaning out and lightening up of the house, I usually also feel the need to internally “clean house” and eat lighter. The rain has come back today in So Cal and this soup (recipe here) is just the thing to start eating healthy again after all the rich holiday foods.  Fresh chicken meatballs, spinach, a light broth….yum!

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