Saturday, November 15, 2014

Books to Gift

I am a hopeless book nerd, and one of my deepest desires is that both of my boys will love reading with that same passion. Maybe not 'spend your entire summer vacation under the tree reading the entire "The Baby-Sitters Club" series' passionate... but passionate nonetheless. Normal passionate. I digress.

Books are one of my very favorite gifts to receive (and give) at Christmastime. Some of my other favorite gifts to receive are: everything else. See what I did there? In fact, I'm working on a post with some fun ideas for the ladies in your life (or yourself, in case you're stuffing your own stocking this year like I am!).

Today though, let's talk books. Here are some books that I can't wait to read, or love and want to share. I've also thrown in a few books that I'm getting for my kiddos or as gifts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Some honesty (and a bedroom makeover for good measure)

Sometimes, life sucks a little. I'm just being honest. If we can't stop bumps in the road from coming, we just have to hope that they make us better, not bitter; right? I'm going with that. Suffice it to say, the past couple years have been a challenge for me personally... the last couple months, even more so. Maybe I'll share one day, maybe not. I've felt like I lacked any control over my life, and if you know me, you're aware that I'm a fan of the control... there's that darn honesty again.

When faced with the grim, humbling, horrible, awful, no good very bad reality that I didn't have control over a lot of the things in my life, I started to fall back into some old, unhealthy patterns of "pretend-control" that I used to practice. Things involving food. Not good, friends. Not good.

So I decided to stop. This time around I've benefited from being older (oy), wiser, and therefore possessed with the ability to recognize "pretend-control" behaviors a little easier, so hopefully it will be easier to redirect them... into home projects! Of course. 

Believe it or not, I've missed you, and I've missed toiling away in my little house. If I have to control something, it should be the color of my walls and the alarmingly slow speed at which I execute any sort of carpentry project. Measure forty-seven times, cut once (or three times and then go back to the store) - that's what they say!

Right now I've decided to tackle my bedroom. I never really finished it and have been living without baseboard and with lots of plans for several years now. It's time to put an end to all of that silliness. So what did I do? I slapped some paint samples on the wall, duh. That's pretty much my solution to most existential crises.

I've been in love with navy for a long while, and decided to take the plunge. On 1/4 of my bedroom walls (I have commitment issues and/or my bedroom lacks in the natural light department).

I'll spare you the suspense, because I totally already chose one, since I'm used to not blogging anymore and I'm learning how to be zen in making design decisions alone. I chose Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy for its delightful greyed out, deliciously pensive self. And then I painted the other three walls white.

And then I forgot how to clean up for blog photos and left my sock monkey pajamas and half of my earthly possessions at the foot of my bed.

This is where I'm going:

And the next stop, besides replacing all the baseboard and casing that I ripped off this morning, is picking some fabric for some roman shades. I'm thinking something geometric, gray or mushroom maybe? This is what I'm looking at:
(Source: 1, 2, 3)

As always, hit me up if you have any amazing ideas.

It's good to be back! I can't promise quantity... but I'm just happy there are still people out there who read. xoxo

Monday, March 10, 2014

Kitchen Reveal (Oh, hi there.)

I've been absent for a while, and the longer it's been since I last posted, the harder it's been to make myself sit down and write even when I felt the desire. I've been working on projects, even taking photos... but it's been very difficult to find the time or the motivation to start again (an object at rest tends to stay at rest, right?).

I'm going to try, though! One of my favorite things about writing this blog is that I can fit it around my life; I can post when I have time and projects to share, and remain quiet when I don't or when my "real" life demands more attention. I'm going to work on posting a bit more regularly, especially since (a.) that won't be hard when you look at my recent posting history and (b.) it makes me happy! 

So without further ado, some news about my kitchen. We got it done just in time for Christmas, thanks to our contractor friend Joe who was immensely helpful and The Tile Shop which sent me all the gorgeous tile.

Part of me still can't believe it's done because the kitchen has been an ongoing, never ending project for several years. Let's look back:

Now back to today...

Such a change, don't you think?  I'll be back to share some details in a day or two, promise!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Jute Living Room Rug

If you've been reading my blog for a while you may have heard me lament my front room's awkward layout before. It tends to feel like a big square hallway dominated by multiple doorways and a piano, which makes it hard to use large furniture pieces without interrupting the multiple flows of traffic.

My challenge was to make the front room feel more like a room, especially one that people would like to spend time in. The first idea I had was to get a big rug to help anchor the space, so I started speaking with the people over at Rugs USA and they were kind enough to send me a rug of my choice!

I picked this 9' x 12' jute rug with a beige border. I love the classic, casual look of natural fiber area rugs, and I knew I wanted a neutral border that would blend in.

I feel like the rug plays a huge role in making my front room feel like one cohesive space instead of a collection of small furniture groupings in opposite corners of the room. There's still plenty of space for the heavy traffic patterns the front room sees, without it feeling thrown together or disjointed.

As for this specific rug, here's the lowdown now that I've been living with it for a couple months:

The Good:
  • I love the color and the texture that the natural fibers bring to the space!
  • Did I mention that it's a great size? Big rugs can make a room.
  • The jute doesn't shed -- I love this. Our last jute rug was a nightmare.
  • No lasting smell! This is another complaint I've seen for natural rugs. When I opened it, I could smell a rubbery-smell that most likely came from the backing, but it was gone in a day or two.
  • It's surprisingly soft -- not plush, but pleasant enough for bare feet or lying down to play a game with kids.

The Bad:
  • The fibers catch all manners of pet hair -- easily vacuumed, but it definitely doesn't hide anything.
  • The rug stains with water -- a characteristic of a lot of jute rugs, from my understanding. There are products out there to clean spills, but I won't lie: I had water spots on it within a week of having it in my house... such is the life with kids and pets.

The verdict:
  • I was worried at the beginning with the water spots, but the longer the rug has lived in my house (and the more regular dirt/wear and tear it's accumulated), the less noticeable the spots are.  It's developed a sort of rug patina. Ha!
  • I really, really like it. A rug like this is probably not for you if you have lots of kids and pets and a high traffic house (all of which apply to me) and you lose your mind when your house looks like people actually live in it (not me). It works great for us!

Do you have natural fiber rugs in your house? Do you love them? Hate them? Have tips for getting stains up? Lay it on me!

P.S. Rugs USA always has great sales on their rugs -- I've seen discount codes for up to 70% off before. It's a great website to bookmark!

P.P.S. If you're thinking more about a natural area rug, Lauren Liess at Pure Style Home wrote a great post about the differences between materials, their upkeep, etc. It's a great place to start!

P.P.S. Go check out the front room reveal if you want more pictures!

P.P.P.S. I'm done now.

P.P.P.P.S. Promise.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Front Room {Reveal}

I'm so excited to share this room! It all happened so quickly with other people doing the board and batten and painting... I have to admit, I could get used to that.

But for now, some pictures. We'll talk later. 


Squee! After four years, I have a front room!
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