Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Friends Rock!!

You guys!!  I have some really talented friends.

One of them, Carrie from Dream Green DIY just teamed up with designer Khristian A. Howell to create a suuuuuper cute collection of party goodies!  They have adorable invites, stylish folded cards and a stunning acrylic tray.




My personal favorite from their collaboration is a set of reversible party coasters!



They would make the perfect statement, every day, on your bar cart or sprinkled around your next party. They are even disposable, which makes party clean up easy-peasy...although I'm not sure I'd want to part with the pretty patterns!! ;)

Head over to check out the limited edition collection and use the code KAHXDGDCOLLECTION to stock up and take 20% off now through July 31st! :)

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Next, you HAVE to go to my good friend Jesse’s page and see what she and her husband have to offer at Scout & Nimble!  

They are the geniuses behind a site that enables consumers to easily browse, discover and shop rooms that are fully curated.   Many people want well-designed homes that reflect their style, but not everyone can hire an interior designer to achieve this goal.  Thanks to Jesse, her husband and the fantastic team of designers that make up the Scout & Nimble family, people can create the home they've always dreamed of.

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Hopefully, one day, I'll have even an ounce of the talent that these ladies possess!  Go check them out now! :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Oh Happy Day...World Market in NJ!

For my IG friends, this may be all been-there-done-that, so I apologize for the repeat...but to me, this news is totally worth hearing {or seeing} twice.  WORLD MARKET HAS COME TO NJ!!!

Yup, I just capital letter shouted at you guys, but I swear it was a fun/excited shout.  I was so thrilled to find out that I would be able to walk around in one of my favorite online stores!  Okay, so it's not a true online-only store, but the closest location for me used to be Maryland...that's a four hour drive that I couldn't ever justify.  Fortunately for our home, that distance didn't stop me from shopping online.  I've made a few purchases and I even wrote a blog post over a year ago about some of my favorite things at the time {although I'm pretty sure I need, yes need, to add these bar stools and a bed or two to that list now.}

The worst part of online shopping all the glorious goodies World Market has to offer was when I'd run into the occasional "available in-store only" message.  Thankfully, that doesn't matter anymore because World Market had their grand opening in Livingston, NJ!  Now they are just a short drive away...woot woooooot!

Hubby and I were so excited to go to the grand opening celebration because they had the Scott brothers in attendance!


Yup that's right, all three were there...not just the amazing Property Brothers themselves, but J.D. Scott too! It was a ton of fun to see our favorite HGTV personalities in real life!



After we got our pictures snapped with them, I was off to ogle the eye candy.  No matter what you are looking for, head to World Market.  They literally have it all...from furniture, to rugs, to home decor, to gifts, to food, to coffee and jewelry.

I snapped a few pictures of my favorite things as I toured the new store.





I'm pretty sure my hubby had to peel me out of this chair.  It's. So. Pretty!!




I love the color and variety this store has to offer!  There is just so much awesomeness {yup, totally a word} in one place.  All you locals, run...don't walk...to check it out!! ;)




***I was not compensated in any way for writing this post.  I'm just super excited and wanted to share my opinions with you guys.  You know I'll always be 100% honest and keep it real!*** 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

TV Gallery Wall. 99% Complete.

Even though my blog has been admittedly slow, my instagram feed never is.  It’s definitely my favorite form of social media.  It allows me to stay in contact with everyone and even acts as a mini-blog, documenting the things I’m working on and loving on.

If you follow along with me, you probably saw that I started making over our bedroom {for the millionth time} almost a year ago.  The reason for it?  Well there’s two reasons actually…

1) I l-o-v-e to rearrange and redecorate.  It’s a problem, but I’m confident I’m not the only blogger who suffers from this affliction. ;)  I remember, as a kid, I was constantly rearranging my bedroom furniture all. the. time.  I love to switch things up and gain new perspective on a space. 

And most importantly, 2) our bedroom has never felt “right” to me.  I’ve switched things up quite a few times, and afterwards I always feel a little better, but I’m never 100% about the space.  Having an unsettled master bedroom is not ideal.  It’s the space you are supposed to retreat to...a place to quiet your mind and relax.  Our bedroom does nothing of the sort for me because when I’m in there, I’m constantly brainstorming about a space that will finally feel finished.

I took a few leaps in the right direction quite some time ago when I swapped out our furniture, installed my DIY lucite curtain rods and went darker on the walls.

When I completed that painting project, hubby removed our mounted TV {which I hated due to it’s placement}, and I decided the TV would live on our long dresser.  Once that decision was made, I immediately knew I wanted to put together a mini-gallery wall to tone down the “hey, look at the big TV” vibe we had going.

I didn’t want to spend much on the gallery wall, and luckily I didn’t have to.  I was able to shop our home and garbage pick from our neighbors {yup, I was that girl picking through a junk pile at the curb} for everything I put up on the wall.

Once I collected a bunch of things, I traced their forms onto rosin paper left over from refinishing our floors. {Pardon the grainy instgram pictures....they are all I could find from when I started this project. #bloggerfail}


After that, I taped the shapes onto the wall and played around with the arrangement.  


Once I liked what I saw, I busted out my handy, dandy 3M command strips {I do not hang a thing without them} to secure everything onto the wall.

And thennn, in true-to-me form, I let about three months pass while we stared at empty and/or ugly frames each day.  Finally I had enough and prettied things up.  I painted the garbage picked frames and even some of the mats.  


I used some of my Spoonflower wallpaper samples to add a little pop to a few pieces.


I gave two frames extra special treatment by adding the Besos print from The Smitten Collection and the Zebra Love print from Parima Studio.  You should check both ladies out because their stuff is uh-mazinggg...as in, I want it all!!


And done!!




Okay, well, 99% done.  I have a bit more twerking, errrr I mean tweaking, to do. My DIY radiant orchid art is replacing the empty gold frame, and that shiny thing will be replacing the empty black frame.  I'm also planning to fill the oval mat up with something better than my two-second-hack-job of a "Z".

Slowly but surely, I'm piecing this room together.  I don't care how long it takes, I won't stop until the room truly feels like us. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Post Without Pictures.

So it’s pretty clear the blog has been super quiet for a while now.  I used to carry around maaaaajor blogger guilt {it’s totally a real thing...I’m assuming it’s similar to “mom guilt”, just on a much smaller scale} about it, but I’ve come to terms with the pace of my blog.  I wish I could be a blogger with a set number of posts a week.  I’d love to promise you guys amazing new projects, multiple times a week, and inspire people every day.  But let’s be serious...with a full-time day job and trying to be somewhat present in my non-Internet life, it’s not a possibility.  Do I find that disappointing?  Of course!!  But I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll post when I have time and have something worthy of posting.

In this sometimes-crazy-competitive-world-of-blogging it can be very easy to get caught up with feeling inadequate.  I don’t post enough.  I didn’t pin enough.  My pictures aren’t professional enough.  My image isn’t pin-worthy.  I don’t have enough followers.  I need to join that new social media platform.  I need to catch up on my blog reading.  I need to respond to comments.  I need to answer my emails. 

I found myself feeling like I was always falling short.  My day job was draining and the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses” of the blogging world was starting to build...so my inspiration went right out the window.  Things that used to come so easily and freely just stopped.  I found myself doing things because I felt like I had to, not because I wanted to.  I lost my focus and needed to step back.  So I did.

I never announced I was taking a blogging break.  I never set a date when I’d start posting again.  I just stopped.  If something inspired me to write, I did, but for the most part…I just backed off from the blogging world and it. was. awesome.

Removing the “pressure” and the “have to” felt fantastic.  It even refreshed my inspiration and motivation for the stuff I used to love.  I’ve got a million and one ideas stirring around in my head, and I want to tackle and post about each and every single one.  Will that happen?  HA, no way!  But the fact that I even feel that way is a big deal.

I’ve accepted that blogging is not my job.  It doesn’t pay my bills.  I cannot keep up with bloggers who do this for a living.  I cannot post regularly.  I do not post stellar pictures worthy of a thousand pins.  I’m just me.  I love to share our home and my passion for pretty things.  I want to inspire others to create a home they love.  I will always keep this space honest and real.  And I’m thankful for amazing people this outlet has brought into my life.




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To visually keep up with life happenings…follow me on Instagram.  I have noooo problem posting there. ;)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Delta Faucet and Brizo Blogger Event

Blown away.

That is pretty much how I would describe myself after making a trip to Indianapolis to visit the Delta Faucet Company at their headquarters.  The entire experience, from beginning to end, was absolutely amazing.

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone at Delta asking if I would like to attend their all-expense-paid annual blogger event in Indy.  My first reaction was that they had to have emailed the wrong person.  Then, once I re-read everything and saw it was, in fact, addressed to me, I began plotting how I could take off work and make this once-in-a-lifetime event a reality for me.

Fast-forward to my arrival at the event...not only was I going to get up close and personal with a fantastic company and their products, I also got to meet a few of my blog friends in real life!!  And bonus...I even made a few new friends. ;)

Delta graciously hosted a fantastic reception the day we arrived and I had a blast chatting, eating and drinking the night away with some very lovely ladies.

L to R - Carrie, Julia, Jennifer, Me and Kristin
The next morning we started at headquarters bright and early...and with a standing ovation!  How’s that for a grand entrance into the building?!  I’m pretty sure I’ll never get one of those again in my lifetime. ;)



After that warm welcome, we took part in a full day of all-things-Brizo-and-Delta.  We had the pleasure of learning all about the company as a whole and then we received in-depth looks into each brand itself.

{For those of you not familiar, Brizo is a fashionable, luxury line that is oh, so gorgeous!!  They even sponsor the crazy talented fashion designer, Jason Wu.  You should see the stunning bath collection he created....wowza!  I was lusting over their entire line for most of the event.}



I’m not going to lie...when I first laid eyes on the agenda, I was excited, but also wondering how entertained we’d be by faucet and showerhead talk for an extended period of time.  Well those thoughts were put to rest the minute the programs began.  The employees were full of passion and information.  I now see why Delta and Brizo are so successful...because there is so much thought and development that goes into each and every one of their products.  Their people see it all as a labor of love.  

One thing that truly stuck with me was Delta’s desire to fulfill “unmet needs” of customers.  Sure, as a consumer we can say we want this, that and the other thing out of a product, but Delta takes a look at how people actually use these products, day-in and day-out.  Seeing people interact with products in their real life setting reveals needs consumers never even knew existed!

Case and point...while conducting this type of ethnographic research {how do you like that for a fancy term...clearly, someone was taking notes during the event!!}, they saw many people in their kitchens cooking dinner, etc., who were going to extreme lengths to turn on their faucets {I’m talking even using their feet} without putting their soiled hands on the handle {think drippy, nasty chicken juice...yuck}.

Now, if this consumer was asked “what do you want from your facuet”, they were not answering to have it turn on and off from just a touch of the back of their hand, but during this special type of research, Delta realized this was a need of the consumer...an unmet one.  And bam, there was the birth of the idea to create Touch2O Technology.



Touch2O Technology is just one of the meaningful innovations that Delta produced.  They strive to make a difference in consumers’ lives with their products, and after watching them in action, I know they do.  They put a tremendous amount of effort into finding out what the consumer wants, what the government will allow them to do and then what they can actually do to make a product work.

Another amazing thing?!  All of this is done in-house.  Yup, from the design conception to the actual engineering...the genius is all done there.  And since Delta has so many patents on their incredible technology, their competitors can’t come close.  For real, if you were ever allowed to demo Delta or Brizo products in a store next to it’s competitors, I’d bet my bank account you wouldn't be leaving with a competitor product.


Now, I’m sure you are sick of hearing me gush about how amazing these brands are, and you're probably convinced I “drank the Koolaid”, and I’m here to tell you...I did.  And you would too if you went to the event.  

There is seriously so much more I could talk about...I haven’t even touched on the Diamond Seal Technology they created {which we SO need in our master bath...I’d even consider ripping out our tile to install it if money weren't an issue...because turning on our shower every morning could be considered an Olympic event}, the H2OKinetic Shower Technology (see the video above), the MagnaTite Docking or the fact that they are creating products that are super easy to install...hello, EZ Anchor system. 

And when I say easy, I mean E-Z.  Kristin and I installed a faucet and toilet in less time than it takes to catch up on one of your favorite prime-time dramas.




Obviously I could go on and on about Delta and Brizo, but I'm sure you've had enough of my wordy post...so here are a few more behind-the-scenes pictures from the event.


L to R - DianeCarrie, Me, Jennifer
L to R - JuliaKristinCarrieJennifer, Lindsay, Reichel, Linda and Me
L to R - JuliaDiane, Me, CarrieJennifer, Judd and Kristin




If you want to know more, click over to Delta's Smart Solutions page to see all of the amazing innovations they've created.  

And thanks again to everyone at Delta and Brizo!!!  I could not have asked for a more amazing and informative trip.  It was an absolute pleasure getting to know such a wonderful company and group of people!


Check out the other Delta Faucet Bloggers:


Julia - Cuckoo4Design

**Just a friendly reminder that although this post and the all-expense-paid trip was in collaboration with Delta Faucet Company, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are 100% mine.  I'll always keep it real and honest with you guys!!**

Friday, May 2, 2014

Kitchen Dreaming. With a Little Help from Cabinets Direct USA...

Our kitchen has come a LONG way.  When we purchased our home, it was a cramped, dark hole.  I knew it wouldn't take much to improve the space because, well, anything was better than what it was!!



It would have been fantastic to rip the entire kitchen out and start fresh, but we were working on a major budget. The entire main floor of our fixer upper, and then some, had to be renovated...so a total kitchen overhaul was way out of reach.  I needed to come up with a short-term, smaller scale reno and leave our kitchen dreams for down the road.

We kept the original cabinetry and general footprint of the kitchen the same to save a ton of money.  Then it was time to remove walls and the weird restaurant booth seating.


After that is was time to to lighten things up!  The cabinets were painted white and zhushed up with some new hardware.  I nixed the old linoleum floor and carried the hardwoods into the kitchen to keep the flow of our open concept home going.  Then we added some much needed new lighting, countertops, backsplash and appliances.

For an "in-the-meantime" renovation, we sure did a lot of work, but it was all done on a tight budget.  We spent the least we could and still ended up with a great looking kitchen.





Of course that great looking kitchen still has bones from the 1950's, when our house was built.  The doors may be solid wood, but the hardware is showing it's age.  And no amount of prep or priming could keep the heavily varnished, knotty pine cabinets from bleeding through a couple years later.  Don't get me wrong...our current kitchen gets the job done!!  But the design lover in me can't stop myself from dreaming of a kitchen that is both beautiful AND efficient.

Looking back, I'm thankful we couldn't afford a complete gut job of our kitchen when we bought our home. Living in the space for a few years has taught me how I want the space to look and, more importantly, function.

And even though we can't afford it now, I know we'll be replacing our charming kitchen one day.  So there is no better time than the present to start planning and prepping for our space.  I mean, how else will I know how much this whole shebang is going to cost us?!?

Not too long ago I found myself {along with hubby and my parents who were visiting} pulling up to a Cabinets Direct USA showroom.  Walking into that place, I was like a kid in a candy store!!!  They have the most stunning displays and super helpful sales people.  I was able to send my own sketch-up from floorplanner.com to their sales person who then translated my elementary work into the awesome images below.

During our reno we would flip-flop our current door and window placement.  This move would allow me to create a floor to ceiling pantry in the kitchen that we currently do not have.  I'm not going to lie...I love that I have two spacious linen closets in our hallway, but I've been missing that type of storage space in our kitchen.  This rearrange would solve that issue.







Then I took things a step further and even extended the island to the wall {since the door is no longer there}, giving us even more countertop and cabinet space.



{Pretend the bar height counter is extending all the way to the wall in the rendering below....just like the ones above.}


So what do you guys think of our "future" kitchen?  I'm kinda in love.  And now I'll just count the days months years until we can afford it. ;)

Anyone else dreaming of far-off renovations?!?!  I can't be the only one...