bedroom refresh plans

Bedroom refreshMy brain must be in hibernation mode, because I’m paying attention to my house again (beyond the weekly upkeep, I mean). Just when I thought I was content with everything (with extra touches courtesy of Hurricane Hannah), I realized our bedroom needs some love. It’s sad. Everything is mismatched due to the light blue walls I chose (too hastily) LAST November, and I never picked new bedding, curtains, etc for the winter months. The room also houses our elliptical machine (and will for a while); but I am determined to make the room feel a little cozier.

Our budget doesn’t allow a complete redo, and my husband might kill me if I say I want to paint again, so I am planning to work on creatively making our bedroom nicer over the next few months without buying much. This means mostly using what I’ve already got, possibly working with the coral-ish bedding/shams I have, as well as the bench I upholstered in a random purple pattern. I made the mock up above to tie it all together, but I’m not sure I love the color combo. Any feedback? I normally have no problems making colors “work” but that light blue is stumping me completely. I do NOT want an otherwise neutral palette just to make the wall color work. I need color! Ideas are appreciated.


styling a black leather couch

It’s a true First World problem, I know, but about every other week I want to scrap our big black leather sofas for something different. They just aren’t my style, and they aren’t even as comfy as the ones we test-sat in the store years back. In fact, they’ve deflated rather than broke in. It’s a bummer, because we spent a good deal of money on them (besides our bedroom set, it’s the only furniture we have that isn’t either hand-me-down, refinished, or from IKEA.)

There are plenty of good reasons to keep them – mainly that they are already paid for, but also they are kid and pet-friendly. So I’m trying to convince myself they are more versatile that I’m giving them credit for by coming up with some different ways to style them. A living room makeover isn’t in my near future, but it’s fun to dream anyway. Really, I just like making collages in my insomnia. 🙂

1. Eclectic and Jewel Toned.

Leather Couch 1Rather than downplay the dark bulkiness of the couch, I could just embrace it with lots of deep, moody colors and patterns. I love an eclectic global vibe with a mix of patterns. I scout Turkish rugs on Ebay constantly just to torture myself, but maybe one day I’ll find an amazing deal on the perfect thing and it will just bring the whole thing together.

2. Traditional and Earthy.

Leather Couch 3This one’s definitely a bit masculine due to the earthy tones. I like the idea of using different wood tones, woven items, and metals. Lots of textures kind of makes the couch recede into the background, which I like.

3. Light and Airy.

Leather Couch 2This isn’t my style, but I think it’s pretty. The idea behind this one is just to pretend the black leather doesn’t exist by layering white, cream, and metallic items around it. Very feminine and classy (and not at all kid-friendly). I think I need more shiny things in my life.

4. California Bohemian.

Leather Couch 4This one’s probably the most budget and kid-friendly. And it’s actually my favorite because it’s livable. The dresser, side table, and rug are some IKEA favorites. The curtains, terrarium, and art are easily DIY ideas. The black and white with pops of color is really easy to recreate, isn’t limited to a certain palette, and easy to change out. Plus every item is something that could work elsewhere, which I like since I love changing things up regularly.

I’m inspired, so some use-what-I’ve-got rearranging is in the plans for the week. Which is your favorite?

updating our spaces (planning post #2)

I mentioned we are finishing our basement (it’s really close; I need to get some things cleaned up and take photos!). The space will actually be a temporary home to my brother-in-law and his family of 5. They are in the process of selling their home and will be building a new one (so fun/stressful!); while they are building, they will be staying with us. It will be chaotic to be sure, but I love them and I know we are going to have a blast and just enjoy being one big ol’ family for a while.

Jonathan did ALL the work himself which saved a bundle, and we definitely are going with budget-friendly options, but it still added up. It’s actually kind of perfect to have a span of time that we can’t do anything with our basement so we can recoup some money from the finishing expense. It also gives me a lot of time to plan.

I’ve been so excited to plan out the little play area we are going to incorporate into the family room. I love designing kid spaces, it turns out! Or at least I love the idea of designing them. So much less anxiety. Kid spaces can be so bright, and you don’t have to worry about perfection. Just practicality and fun. I actually feel like this is a lesson to just go with my gut on the whole house (it can all be fun).

Here’s what I’m eventually envisioning for the play area:

Playroom board

  • It WILL have a black and white (indoor/outdoor) rug. It just will.
  • I have a play kitchen my dad built me when I was a toddler (ahhhhhhh!). It’s really adorable, but needs modernized. I will figure out a way to incorporate it. I love the colors of the one above (just a cheapie from Amazon, but good paint inspiration).
  • Chalkboard. Either painted directly on the wall or a big framed-in version mounted to the wall.
  • Cute storage. I’ll probably just spray paint some big baskets or paint a cheap crate or two. I like the mustard yellow.
  • Bright bunting or something else I can DIY to liven up the corner.
  • Not pictured, but I want a cute little reading chair as well (or maybe just a pile of bright floor cushions). There will already be a large bookcase in this corner, the bottom two shelves or so will be dedicated to kid toy bins and books.
  • The play area will be right outside what will be the office/craft room. Hannah will get a little art desk area in there as well (where I can supervise the messes).

Hope to post an actual basement progress post soon!

decorating with scarves and pashminas

headwrapOne of the perks, or hazards, of my job, is I am gifted with an excess of souvenirs. I work with – and do lots of paperwork for – people who travel overseas. Many of them bring me back pretty scarves and pashminas, which is so thoughtful! I also am frequently gifted with scarves for holidays and I pick up pretty ones at thrift stores. And as a result I have a LOT of scarves. Somehow I’ve amassed a pretty ridiculous (-ly awesome) collection.

I wear scarves pretty often, and I use them as head wraps. But I have so many pretty scarves and so few places to go these days that I hate seeing them tucked away. The fabrics and colors are so pretty! So I’ve rounded up a few ideas (some that require cutting and sewing for the thrifted ones, but most that leave them in tact) for using and displaying a scarf collection more frequently.

how to tie a scarfMy friend Cassie actually got me a cute book, How to Tie a Scarf, for Christmas. It’s full of fun ideas. There are also tons of tutorials on Pinterest, including how to tie and knot scarves stealthily to turn them into kimonos and vests. Really awesome! There are plenty of head wrap ideas or tutorials on braiding scarves into your hair, too, though I don’t have enough hair or swagger to pull off many of them. I just go for the super simple wrap-styles.

But the ideas I’ve been collecting are more for decor purposes. I love the casual vibe that different patterns and fabrics give off when layered around the house. I suppose you could use any textile for most of these, which makes them even more awesome. I like scouting textiles. They are so versatile. So.. here we go:

I LOVE these huge pillows made from big scarves {plus the link has tons of other ideas I love for scarf-upcycling}.

big pillows - dishfunctional designsSmaller pillows wouldn’t require sewing; you can wrap the scarf and twist/knot the back. The link for this one didn’t work (found on Pinterest), but it directed me to All You.

all youI like the idea of using scarves to cover poufs and ottomans, like these ones: (left from from Urban Outfitters, now sold out; right from Plumo). The Urban Outfitters version is something I’ve wanted to make for a while now. A less pretty “collection” I’ve got going on is 5 gallon buckets (I know, random), and I think with a little creativity I could make a similar ottoman with some patchwork scarves/other fabric.

UO Pouf   Plumo pouf

I use one pashmina as a runner on our dresser top to keep the surface from getting scratched. They are nice for table runners over a table cloth to keep them from sliding.

table runnerThere are lots of images out there for patchwork curtains made from scarves and handkerchiefs, but just hanging one in a window is really pretty and will allow it to be worn later.

windowI loved framed scarves like these, because you can see the entire design. It would be simple enough to switch out, too. (I wish I owned both of the ones below):

framed scarvesYou can hang a scarf on a wall without framing or doing anything special, like below. No cutting into the fabric for the special scarves I’ve got. I love this for the huge silk pashminas I’ve got from the Middle East.

wall hangingStoring scarves in plain view lets them be part of the decor and still keeps them usable. I’ve done this before in the bedroom, but it’s a great idea for an entryway.

hanging scarvesAny other ideas I’ve missed?

it’s a girl!!

We had our targeted ultrasound this week (the 4D one) and finally got the Big Reveal. At 22 weeks it was finally officially confirmed, we’re having a little girl. We are so excited! 

Here’s the first picture of little missy on the Internet. 🙂 That ultrasound was an amazing experience.  I already adore her little face.

our girlieHitting the midway mark a couple of weeks ago, it hit me that this pregnancy is going FAST. It probably helps that it’s been a relatively easy one (compared to so many other moms-to-be I’ve known). It felt so far away when I found out I was pregnant back in early June, and here we are nearly approaching the string of fall and winter holidays. February will be here in no time.

I feel pretty good, I have energy back again, and I have lots on my mind. Here are a couple things in-work/on the brain, list-style.

1. Nursery. I blogged about my  nursery inspiration boards previously. I’ll have lots of fun winter projects to keep me occupied, like painting the bedroom furniture I had as a kid (thanks for hanging on to it, Mom & Dad!), making a quilt and mobile, and finding/making some artwork.  If its a girl2. Clothes and play stuff (buying & DIYing). Although there is nothing cuter than a newborn in a onsie with gigantic diaper-butt, toddlers in floral Dr. Martins and camo pants are a pretty close second. I’m already collecting some DIY fashion and playtime ideas. A tent or teepee is mandatory. This isn’t going to be any fun at all. 😉baby girl3. A baby book. I haven’t been into scrapbooking for a lot of years, but I definitely want to record some of the fun pregnancy stories, ultrasound photos, and predictions for the future in a little collage-y style book. Something graphic like this (source):

baby book4. The immensity of raising a tiny human. When I was a kid, it never occurred to me that my parents were learning as they went like I was. And even up until being pregnant, I never really gave much thought to that.

A household of kindness, reinforcing healthy body image and general self-esteem, taking care to not push any gender stereotypes, encouraging individuality and free-thinking, being confident in my abilities and intuition as a new parent… these are the things that truly keep me up at night, and make up the reading material on my nightstand. But these are the things I am also truly looking the most forward to- she will be adorable and amazing from the start, but she’ll keep growing into herself as a person, and I get to help shape that, encourage that, and watch that happen. 

dining room inspiration board

Last week I posted some house updates, including this picture of my dining area:


What to do with this area of the kitchen has kind of alluded me. I don’t want to buy new furniture {switching up the chairs was fun}, or spend a lot of money on anything for the house right now, because I am saving my house budget for the yard this summer. But I also think it’s time to start making some small changes, using things I have, and adding a few things that will make it prettier and more functional.

I have been pinning images that give me fun ideas for this room. I love this one; simple white curtains and lots of plants. I’ve been meaning to plant lots of herbs indoors {kicking myself for not bringing some in from the garden at the end of the summer!!!}. That will definitely be on the agenda in a couple months {I’m afraid bringing them home from the nursery in this weather will cause them to go into perma-shock}.{Image Source.}


This dining area’s a little too shabby chic for my tastes, but I love the mismatched chairs (duh) and mostly neutral palette with a few pops of color. The mismatched candles are fun, too. {Image source.}


This eat-in kitchen is awesome (I covet white cabinets!). The red chairs are perfect. I think I need more red in my life. {Image source.}


I made this little collage incorporating some of the ideas I want to get around to for the dining nook, because it’s my idea of a good time, and I like arranging ideas visually to get them outta my head and into (semi) action.

dining room update

Here’s what’s happening:

  1. Some breezy white curtains from IKEA would be a great way to make the bay window a bit less boring, but without spending a lot (four panels can really add up elsewhere). If I do nothing else on this list for a while, I should at least get to this one soon!
  2. Even though I spray-painted the light fixture to a better color, a pendant with a drum shade would balance out that side of the room a bit more.
  3. Mismatched chairs – I should paint one red.
  4. A great rug makes a room. I love Persian rugs. I want one in every room. But for the budget, I could probably find a fun rug at Urban Outfitters or IKEA.
  5. Plants! Herbs, mostly. I want to plant every type I use on a regular basis.
  6. I’ve always wanted a terrarium like the one in the middle of the table.
  7. That hanging box-shelf is from Urban Outfitters and would be perfect for above the dresser. I think it would be a pretty easy DIY hack, though. There’s a junkyard near my house that has old wooden ammo boxes that may just be perfect…
  8. A little framed mirror or art. I’m sure I could find something around the house for this.
  9. Metallic baskets! I have a few I could spray paint with metallic paint. I did that with a few smaller baskets and I love them.

Anyone else have any suggestions for this space?

J.Crew Inspo

J.Crew has the best styling and I use their catalogs/website as inspiration for my own remixing. Here are some ideas I saved for that purpose to get me through the winter blahs without using my credit card:

Above: Wear a collared button down shirt under any dress you own// pile on every super saturated color you own into one  outfit and/or tons of bracelets.


Above: Stripes on stripes + one colorful accessory. I love black/white/red // mismatched funky, but still put-together. I have a maroon skirt and a green and white striped sweater that would look cute together – never thought of it before!


Above: Tie a cardigan around your waist {ok, I want that stripey one} // belt and cardigan over a summery dress.


Above: The messy ponytail! // Solid black with cute flats and a pretty scarf.

bedroom inspiration – teal for real

Our last house was mainly greens and earth tones and white. Springy, maybe. I really liked it, and springy green is my favorite color ever. But the new house is NOT white and it’s going to necessitate venturing out to a new style of decor. How depressing is that? I joke. I AM SOOO EXCITED.

In the main living areas, everything’s pretty open and the ceilings are vaulted in places. ie, these are not rooms we are going to want to have to repaint too often. It will be an ordeal. So I’ll be sticking with a tanish hue for those areas and adding color with the accessories. The bedrooms, however, I will get to have some fun with. I wanted something new and bold in the master bedroom, because the room is quite large. Remember, here’s what we are working with:

I thought a nice, deep color would make it feel very cozy, and since everything in it is neutral, some color would really help liven up the place. I think I’m going to go with a funky teal, and have been digging up some inspiration.

I like this because it’s dramatic and trendy, but still easy and casual. Teal really looks awesome with some yellow accessories. Source.

This would take GUTS, but I love it, especially with that chock-full gallery wall and stripey bedding – so fun! Source.

This softer version might be nice. No pink, though. Source.

And of course, my favorite bloggers’ new guest room. I love the way they used bright colors to make everything really pop against the dramatic wall color. It’d be easy to switch it out on a whim. Source.

What do you guys think? Diggin the teal?

planning the new place, vol. 1: kitchen//dining//living

It’s a ways off I’ll be full-on staging the new place with anything other than what we already own, but a girl can dream! My favorite thing about moving shortly is scheming about how I’m going to arrange/decorate the place and to make fun plans for the yard! It {literally} keeps me up at night.

I’ve been thinking about how to make the kitchen/dining/living area feel airy and open and cohesive {it’s all one big area} while still using a lot of what we have. For reference, here’s what the kitchen looks like:

We are going to paint the whole place a soft gray/tan, lighter than what is currently there. I plan to hang bamboo shades on the windows with the exception of over the kitchen sink, where I want to do a fun patterned roman shade. I think I can make one myself. We already ordered new appliances in stainless steel, which I think will make it much lighter/brighter than black while still blending better than white {is it weird I still love white best?}. I also plan to hang a white drum pendant over the kitchen table {replacing that current fixture}.

We currently have black leather couches I want to blend in/lighten up with some lighter accessories. Eventually the couches will be downstairs and we will get something new for the living room.

That in mind, here’s what I’m kinda thinking:

Beachy blues and glassy greens, some natural wood accessories in the living/dining areas to kind of blend in all that wood in the kitchen. Black pieces here and there to blend the couches and kitchen counters but not suck the light out of the place. I’ve already got a lot of items I can use and revamp, and can buy an old chair to recover to kind of steal the look of the ikat slipper chair above. The fixture I want it from CB2 and a steal at $50, so that might be a right-away purchase.

We close Monday morning then it’s ours! (: (:

DIY photobooths

I had an idea to make my own photobooth for my next shindig. So I Googled it. And would you believe there are like A MILLION brilliant executions of this out there? I LOVE THESE. I’m totally going to figure out how to do a fun one for Halloween.

Via Every Last Detail.

Via Bridepop.


Via RuffledBlog.

Via Looks Good to Me.

I think it would be fun to have a basket of props and costumes {mustache on a stick?} available for the shenanigans.  Anyone ever done this?