Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rustic & Lush Styleboard for Chairish

I love bringing a room together. At first, the task can be a tad overwhelming. An empty room can feel a bit like the start of an essay. Where do I start? But much like writing a paper, once you have inspiration, the words all come together.

I recently discovered Chairish, an online marketplace for vintage furniture (here), and decided to build a room (via a styleboard) around one of their beautiful accent chairs. The chair would serve as inspiration to step away from basic neutrals and to infuse color -  to take a room from white to bright!

I found that the toughest part of this challenge was choosing just one of these awesome chairs:

So much inspiration! It was hard to narrow it down...until I found this gorgeous photo on Primitive & Proper for Sweet Clover Barn:

Ohhh the velvet! The mix of the plush fabric and vintage furniture is delightful. The gray velvet chairs pictured helped sway my decision to choose the 19th Century French Reupholstered Armchair for my styleboard:

I loved the pops of rich color from the Sweet Clover Barn and the glamour of the 19th Century Armchair. I used both as inspiration for my Rustic & Lush Styleboard:

It's a mix of metals and wood for the "rustic" aspect with velvety wine and emerald tones for the "lush." I want this room! 

Here are the items I used to create this styleboard:
  1. Dark Brown 4-light Crystal Pendant, Overstock
  2. Home Sweet Home, WhimseyandWanderlust, Etsy and "Main Woods" art print, pinetreeart, Etsy
  3. 19th Century French Reupholstered Armchair, Chairish
  4. Agate Bookends, West Elm
  5. Raspberry cupcakes from The Perfect Palette
  6. Rustic Cast Aluminum Tapers, West Elm
  7. Threshold Faux Silk Curtain Panel in Red, Target
  8. Ranunculus and Rose floral arrangement, Pinterest
  9. Sora Dining Table, Pier 1

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mundane into "Fun"dane Dare

Seeing as how it's a new year, I thought I'd share a challenge I gave to my friends back in September.

It all started while Geoff and I were celebrating our 2nd Anniversary. We had spent a day on the beaches of Lake Michigan. We were feeling relaxed and laid back.
We had champagne and completed our annual tradition of reading our wedding cards and marriage advice cards. It's nice to revisit and reflect on the messages people sent us on our big day.

It's also fun to read our guests' inspiring and sometimes odd advice. Apparently someone at Table 6 knew something interesting about raisins:

For our Anniversary night, we had dinner reservations at the amazing tapas and even more amazing breakfast bistro, San Chez in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was in this moment that I realized I had zero motivation to dress up. Couldn't I just wear my flip flops and jeans - ok sweats? If this had been a one time thought, I wouldn't have given it much attention, but I realized this had become my personal mantra as of late. Where was the girl who used to love clothing? Where was the girl who liked getting ready for a night out? Why did I have this overwhelming attitude of laziness? Why didn't I want to get done up for our Anniversary date night?

I decided I needed to change my attitude and overall mindset. Getting ready was not a chore, it was an opportunity. An opportunity to play with makeup, hair, jewelry and clothing. I have friends that do this. They are the girls that could be fashion bloggers. These girls inspired me to dare myself to turn the mundane into "fun"dane.

I got up, picked out my dress and jewelry, did my make-up and clipped in my hair. Yep, I clipped in my hair.

I styled myself and headed out to celebrate my anniversary...and I felt great! It became clear to me that I felt better about myself when I cared enough to take time for myself. I felt pretty and confident and I know that I made a better date for my husband because of it.

I wanted to continue this self-dare into my work week. I also wondered how many of my friends were feeling this rut as well. So I sent out the dare to my group of friends with the following guidelines:

"This week I challenge each of you to step out and try something new with your outfit, makeup or hair. Find a tutorial if you'd like and send me the link. Once you've tried this new "look," take a selfie and email it to me. You'll have to master the art of the selfie while rockin' some red lips, a messy updo, a statement necklace or those awesome heels you never wear to work! Let me know how you felt trying something new. Hopefully you'll all have a little fun and like the experiment!"

My friends loved the dare! It gave them the push they needed to try something new. They had fun and heard a few compliments. The most popular look to try? Red lips.

Here's Kate's (DJ K-Swizzle) before and after:
Clearly her personality is a perfect match for bold lips!

Carrie is always up for a dare. She also chose red lips along with curled hair and a statement necklace:
My other friend, Kate ("DZ") went all out and sported a different look/hairstyle each day! So cute!
Cassie straightened her hair and wore the sweater that she used to pass over for a "safer" look:

And Jenny tried both a cat-eye and red lips:
Jenny's co-worker was inspired by her look and the fact that she had "stepped it up." 

Needless to say, we all had fun and it made us step out of our comfort zone or "safe" zone. I have to check myself from time to time to make sure I haven't fallen back into that zone and to remember to have fun with my look. To be more playful. Every day should be celebrated so why not dress for a party?!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Baby, it's Frigid Outside

Cold days like these make me long for summer. It's tough to find motivation to leave the warmth of your covers when the temps are reading below zero. Days like these make me long for the weekend when I can snuggle up on the couch for a cozy day in. This shouldn't be surprising as I once threw a cozy Girls Day in Birthday Party (here).

So I've compiled a list of a few of my favorite things for a cozy day in.

I am mildly obsessed with this One-Button Fleece Wrap Cardigan from Bobeau. I received one as a gift from my husband for Christmas in Heather Charcoal and I think I've worn it everyday since. It's so soft and comfortable, plus it's adorable. They are on sale at Nordstrom right now (plus free shipping here). Thanks to my friend Megan for putting this cardigan on my radar!

I would pair my cardigan with a nice pair of fleece leggings and comfy tee like this one from Broke Rich Girls (here):

Obviously my cozy outfit wouldn't be complete without a good pair of socks or slippers. I'm praying that J.Crew will bring back this sparkly pair (similar here).

And I would throw on my beloved pair of Joan of Arctic boots by Sorel (here, similar here and here) when I need to let the dog out. So warm and so stylish!

A roaring fire would be ideal for a cozy day in, but until I have a fireplace, my candles will have to do. Give me a sparkly, mercury candle and a warm scent any day! A little sparkle in January also helps me to transition out of the holiday glow. Is it hard for anyone else to take down the Christmas lights?

Here is a picture of our winter tablescape in the day and at night. 

Good candles and good blankets are necessities for a cozy day in. I love a quality blanket or comforter. A couple of blankets have caught my eye from Parachute Home and the fact that their bedding is supposed to "soften over time" really intrigues me. 

Of course the Down Duvet looks super inviting and I would pair it with the Duvet Cover in Powder.

If I needed something lighter, I would switch to the Striped Cashmere Throw in Denim and Pebble Grey. Because who wouldn't want to snuggle up in cashmere?

Another necessity is a warm drink, whether it's hot cocoa, a chai latte or a hot toddy - a warm drink is a must when it's freezing!

Image via Pinterest
I'm pretty sure I'd like to try all 25 of these Hot Drink Recipes posted by The Cottage Market (here).

Finally, here are a couple of my my favorite activities when I need to stay all cozied-up indoors.

Saturdays can be great for catching up on missed tv. Treat yo Self to some binge watching (including Parks and Rec of course)!
Some of my current favorite shows are Parks and Recreation (NBC), The Chew (ABC), Fixer Upper (HGTV) and Project Runway: All Stars (Lifetime). All entertaining and inspiring in their own right. 

Books! Winter is a great time to read - especially if you can curl up by a fireplace...someday... 
1. For a book that will make you laugh out loud, I can't recommend Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh enough (here). It's a quick read complete with hilarious illustrations. 

2. For a creepy, page-turning mystery, I would recommend The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. I picked this book up in the airport for a flight home and ended up reading half of it in three hours!

If I'm not watching television, reading a good book, or following up with my favorite blogs, I may attempt a more "physical activity" like painting my nails or crafting. But that's an ambitious cozy day in. 

All in all, the winter can really blow (pun intended), but having a day to snuggle up on the couch and unwind is a welcome mental and physical break every once in a while. So cheers to one or two (or 40) frigid days!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Quick & Easy Nativity Makeover

A little over a year ago, my dad was cleaning out his house and put together a box of "things I might want." Usually I pass, but I saw that he was getting rid of the porcelain, Nativity set that had been displayed in our home for as far back as I can remember. My mom loved it as it was part of her 1980 Home Co. collection. We were fancy. 

It was a piece of nostalgia for me and I wanted to display it in my home, but I needed a quick and easy way to bring it into the 21st Century.

The answer: spray paint! I've seen several bloggers use spray paint to give all sorts of figurines a completely new look. The Nativity was a perfect candidate for a spray paint makeover.

Here's the gang before their makeover:

First, I sprayed them with a couple of coats of RUST-OLEUM primer.

I wanted a modern look, so I chose a white paint with a satin finish. I just so happened to have a can of KRYLON spray paint in the basement, so it made the decision pretty easy. 

The statues required 2-3 coats for an even coverage (they had a lot of nooks and crannies).

Once the paint dried, they were ready to display. So easy!

I'm so happy with the end result. I have the Nativity set from my childhood, but it feels brand new! A little paint can make quite a difference.

This post is part of the link party at

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Napoleonic Blue Chalk Painted Dresser

So I took an unexpected hiatus, but for great reasons.. Two pretty awesome things have been occupying a lot of my time lately. I am happy to say that I have an exciting new job and a new puppy! Please meet the newest member of our household, Hercules:

Seriously? Look at that face! And good thing he's adorable because that first month of training was rough! We have a sock thief in the house.

Needless to say, a lot of my DIY projects were put on hold, but I'm happy to be back at it. All of a sudden I am completely motivated and inspired - it's a great place to be!

Over the summer, my friend Emily had posted a ton of photos of her furniture makeovers using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Inspired by Emily, and Pinterest, I decided to join the chalk paint movement on a dresser that we garbage picked from our neighbors.*

*We waited for our neighbors to leave before moving in on the dresser all stealth-like. Geoff and I were both too embarrassed to pick it up while our neighbors were home!

The dresser was pretty beat up. The varnish was chipped and peeling. There were large scratches everywhere, but I loved the shape and figured it would be a great piece for my first attempt at chalk painting.

I chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Napoleonic Blue for the color. I had been admiring deep, blue dressers with brass hardware for quite some time and wanted one of my own. 

I bought a quart of paint at a local retailer. The paint is pretty expensive, but a little goes a long way. Luckily, Emily let me borrow her can of Clear, Soft Wax instead of having to buy that too. There's also a Dark Wax that is made for an antiquing affect. I just used the Clear Wax for this project.

I looked up a few tutorials online and texted Emily for guidance. For the most part I painted the same way I do with other paints. 

What I do love about using chalk paint is the amount of prep time you save. All I had to do was remove the hardware and clean the dresser. No sanding, no priming, the paint dries quickly, and no strong paint fumes. Plus it really covered all of the dresser's major imperfections.

The color was a bit bold before it dried. I referred to it as "Grover Blue." Here is the dresser with one coat of paint:

See. It's a bit Grover-esque..'s_Mommy
I looked for any excuse to post this amazing Grover photo. You're welcome.

Back to the dresser - Emily assured me that it would dry quickly and a few shades darker. 

It would also need another coat of paint.

I decided that I wanted a few areas of the dresser to be a bit "roughed up." I used sand paper to expose the wood in strategic areas. The picture below also shows the paint color a day later. It's definitely a darker, matte finish before applying the wax.

I used a sock to apply the wax and thought I would have to buff with it too, but Geoff surprised me with a Ryobi buffer! This man loves any reason to buy a new tool.

Here's what the color looks like after applying the Soft Wax and buffing:

Oh so pretty!

I really loved the original hardware, but unfortunately I was unable to salvage it. Most of the handles were broken. :(  I did a few online searches and settled on these brass handle pulls by Liberty (Amazon here).

The dresser is now in its temporary home in the dining room where it can double as a buffet/bar. Here's the finished piece - yay:

My favorite part about using this paint was the fact that this dresser only took me two days to paint and wax. I am so happy with my new dresser/buffet/bar!

For more inspiration, be sure to check out my friend Emily's Facebook page, Bohemian Treasures. Here's just one of her beautiful pieces:

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