Loving Lately

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, but I thought I would share a few things I have been loving lately.

1. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher is crazy good. I’m hosting a Galentine’s Party in the near future and some of us are reading this book to discuss the story over wine. I promise, even though some of my friends aren’t reading it, they will be very interested in the discussions.

2. Landyn Hutchinson’s movement on a woman named Janice. For more on this, go to the instagram page she created that is devoted towards other women’s Janices.

There is even a song written about this amazing woman.

And here is my Janice…my mom.

3. This really good dupe from Amazon that looks just like the Bottega Veneta pouch bag that is almost three grand. I bought one for myself before Christmas and received tons of compliments. It does come with a strap, but I have yet to use it, or even figure out how to tie it on! I ordered the large green.

4. I may have teared up a bit watching this beautiful video about Kobe Bryant.

5. This really cook trick to hide your router. I’m definitely making one once the new home office is built!

Advice to live by…

This. I truly believe that if I heard this quote a long time ago I would have saved myself a lot of heartache, stress and sadness. I know they say that obstacles and challenges make us grow as people, but I can’t help but wonder if having this tidbit of knowledge in the back of my head would have changed the way things worked out. Maybe? Maybe not. I do know that the gut feeling we all experience every now and then is not to be ignored.

These days I find my gut feelings to be nothing but positive. Big changes are coming for me this year, and change can be scary. But and I know in my heart that I am exactly where I need to be. xo

My thoughts on design

This morning I was on the treadmill listening to a podcast and they were talking about design trends for 2020. A trend is just that, something that moves in quickly, lasts for a little while, and then sails off into the sunset. I find that when I’m designing a room, I try stay away from too many trendy items in one space. I stick to neutral palates, pieces that I love, and build on basic details. Any of the trendy pieces I have are inexpensive items such as fun pillows or quirky elements from Home Goods or flea markets.

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So after listening to this podcast, I thought it would be fun to give my take on some of the questions asked to the person they interviewed. I am not a designer, however I know what I love and what I have learned along the way.

What are some things that a person can do to instantly update a room?

New lamps/lighting. I usually get my lamps from places like Target or Home Goods. They have great pieces for a fraction of the cost. New lighting instantly “lights up the space” (no pun intended) and adds a new dynamic to any space.

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Good, neutral carpet. Rugs are used so hard, so a good neutral sisal or jute rug is so durable and adds texture. Don’t forget, layering rugs over existing carpet is fun too! My favorite sources are rugsusa.com and Home Goods.

Great piece of art. This can range from low to high, but a great piece of abstract art or something quirky from a flea market can add visual interest and drama to a space. Etsy and Minted are other excellent sources for art. Don’t be afraid to try your own hand at an abstract painting. You may be surprised to see what you end up with!

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Large statement mirror. My love of mirrors, particularly vintage gold ones, runs deep. That’s probably my number one search on Facebook Marketplace. A large mirror can be leaned on a wall, hung behind a couch or along a dining room wall. Get one you love.

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Solid dining room table. I never had a dining room table that I loved until I bought my house five years ago. All of the other tables I had came with the people I was with, and I hated every one of them. I finally got the one I wanted…a rustic table with square chunky legs and an imperfect top and I still love it.

Neutral couch/chairs. I will always preach this to anyone asking. There are so many options out there, and patterned couches are definitely “in” right now, but I still swear by a neutral couch. White gets dirty, but a tan/camel colored sofa that wears well is a great investment.

What makes a room more interesting, in my opinion…

A vintage (wooden) piece of furniture. I love an old piece mixed in with modern details. For me, I get a warm feeling when I see old and new mixed together. It’s visual interest to the max!

Mixed metals. Anything from picture frames, lamps, coffee table decor, etc. Mixing it all together gives a room dimension.

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Unfussy curtains. Personally, I love all white/ivory curtains against a white/ivory wall with a black or gold rod. The curtains won’t take away from everything else in the room, but still adds to the walls of the space.

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Warm neutrals, rather than stark whites. I can’t tell exactly what it is, but I am always drawn to a warmer white, rather than something bright and blinding. We are in the process of planning a home office renovation with built-ins and I’ve found that Benjamin Moore’s Simply White will be so good on the shelves. It’s the perfect mix of a warm white without being too yellow or too grey.

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Trends moving out, in my opinion…

My thoughts on a few trends moving out…

Greys. Grey came in fast and furious, but I have been seeing more and more cream-based whites, rather than the cooler, grey-whites. I can’t say that I have ever been a true grey person, and I just prefer the warmer cousin (tans).

Moroccan trellis design. This pattern was allover the place. Rugs, art, curtains, etc. It was everywhere. Still is. But in my opinion, I think we will be moving away from the trellis to a more soothing design with texture.

Final thoughts….

Basically, it all comes down to what YOU love in YOUR house. Designers consistently try to bring in new ideas and new colors all of the time to change things up. If they didn’t, wouldn’t home decor be boring? Sage green was the rage in the early 2000’s and it is making a comeback now. Who would have thought? Bottom line, do what you love. Choose pieces that speak to you. Don’t just buy to buy. Shop around. Enjoy the hunt. Collect vintage pieces. Visit unexpected places. Collect items from vacations. The best rooms are put together piece by piece, rather than a “room to go” style.

I’ll leave you with this beautiful example of hunting down pieces by themselves, but coming together to create a stunning room.

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Puppies on my mind

Sometimes when I get something in my head that I really, really want, I can’t stop thinking about it. Whether it’s something that I want to accomplish, a goal that I want to reach, or something physical that I need to have in my possession, it resides in my mind and I can’t let it go until whatever it is has been accomplished or gotten. This trait can be both good and bad. On the positive side, I am extremely intrinsically motivated to accomplish goals. I am perfect in an athlete/coach situation and can put all else aside in order to focus to succeed. This part of me has especially fared well in my running career which has brought me much success in the past. But, the negative side is when something runs in my brain and I can’t stop thinking about it. Downtime at home is consumed with research and planning. Notebooks get filled and lists get checked off. Being a planner and detail oriented, everything is in order and in place.

I have been wanting a puppy for ages.

SO — the fact that J finally caved and is on board with us welcoming a new furry friend to our brood this summer is big. Huge, in fact. We have been talking about it for a few years now and he always said no dog. All five kids and I have relentlessly came up with reasons why we needed one in our home. And, Santa even brought it toys for Christmas this past year because every dog needs toys shaped like wine and champagne bottles, right?

Thinking back, he was right. It wasn’t a good time to get a dog for us. We weren’t on a consistent routine of all being together, and he didn’t want the sole responsibility of taking care of it when I was at my house. Another positive factor are my parents. They are more than willing to be babysitters whenever we go away. In fact, my mom has eluded to the fact that she wants to have puppy sleepovers so she can spend quality time with our new fur baby.

In fact there may have been a time when my mom and I felt so bad for a puppy at a pet store (I know!) that we were going to adopt him together! Be joint parents. J and my dad shot that idea down immediately. We still wonder where cute little Cooper is today and hope that he has a warm and loving home.

What kind?

After much research and knowing what I like, I want a small dog that’s tan in color. I want it to be a non-shedding dog and hypoallergenic. I know that no dog is entirely hypoallergenic, but we want to be as close as you get so that means something with a poodle mix.

My top three breeds are the Cavapoo (a cross between a King Charles Cavalier and a poodle), the Havanese (pure bred dog that originated in Cuba), or a Maltepoo (a cross between a Maltese and a poodle).

Cavapoo
Tan Havanese (cut short)
Maltepoo

As you can see, all three are very similar. The Havanese can be left with their long locks, or cut short for a more friendly grooming routine (which I prefer).

Where will he or she come from?

I am in the process of major research right now. I have my name in several Havanese rescues as well as breeders for all three. My ideal puppy would be one a little older (6-8 months), but I would get one at 8-10 weeks if it were the right one.

I have found that there aren’t really defined rescues for the poos’ since they are a cross-breed, but my mind is open.

What is the timing?

If all of the cards play out the way I want them to, my wish would be to have the puppy come to us in June, right in the beginning of summer. That way, I will be home for two months to spend with it before returning to school. J works from home, so he will be home most days to let it out when needed.

Honestly, I think that J and my friends think that I have officially lost my mind. Between the home office/foyer renovation and the dog, I can’t think of anything else. I tell them that I can’t wait to snuggle with it and carry it all around. It will go everywhere with me (maybe even in a purse — which got a big thumbs down from my family, but I don’t really care.)

My mom is also very busy looking for possible puppies and regularly sends me pictures of cuties during the day, so it’s a win-win all around.

All in all, when I said that 2020 was going to be my year, which is off to an amazing start by the way, this little guy or girl will be a huge part in what lies ahead and I can’t wait.

If you have any suggestions, comments or tips….please send them my way! xo

Project Update: Foyer and Office Remodel

It’s mid-January and we are moving along wth the plans for our upcoming office and front foyer remodel. As they say, all good things take time and permanent home projects are no different. So much goes into the planning and execution of a project and behind the scenes work can seem endless. Calls to the floor guy, meetings with the wood worker, paint colors, lighting, where will the outlets be, the list goes on and on. I am not going to lie, I am loving every part of the process. Not only am I learning a ton from the crew that I have brought together for this project (ie: floor guy, carpet guy, builder), but my mind is being challenged and creative juices are overflowing. It feels so good to exercise these parts of me that are not always used.

I recently wrote two posts talking about the projects and you can find them below. Both of these posts outline my thoughts for these spaces, but since publishing them, I made some changes.

Stair Makeover and Runner Install

First Project of 2020: Home Office

Home Office

Above is the new and improved vision board for the office. I still am going with white built-ins and gold knobs, but the countertop color is still up in the air. I’m not sure if it will be painted white, black or stained brown.

Some other definite features of the room:

~ Long white (probably velvet) drapes with modern gold rods

~ My vintage Mid-Century Modern Broyhill Brasilia dresser will make an appearance for extra storage and added warmth

~ I am loving Benjamin Moore’s Smoke for the walls – it’s a smoky blue-grey, but not too bright.

~ Black and white tiles that look like marble (we are using porcelain) with small tan squares set on a diagonal.

~ Custom french doors to separate the office and the front foyer for privacy. These need to be made because the door frame is tall and narrow and I love the ones in the picture below, so I’m using them as my inspiration).

~ New chandelier like the one in the image. We will need to put in the electric for this on the ceiling. This room doesn’t get a lot of natural light, so this is a necessity since J will be working in this room all day (and I’m actually kind of jealous about that).

Foyer and Steps

Since we need to close in the wall coming down the stairs in order to put in the french doors, we will tackle the foyer as well. I have been seriously playing around with the vision board, and this is what I came up with:

~ White walls and new white picture frame molding going up the steps.

~ Paint the steps all white with a black railing.

~ Add a new mirror (this one from Ballard) behind the existing cabinet (which I may paint a light blush) to blend with our gallery wall.

~ A glam chandelier to balance everything and add some shimmer and shine!

~ A neutral patterned carpet to endure the wear and tear of seven people.

What’s Next?

This weekend we are finalizing plans for the tile and approving the final design for the built-ins. My guys (Mark and Nate) have been amazing and I would be willing to share out their information to local folks!

~ Test out blush paint swatches.

~ Look for lighting for the office built-ins.

~ Secure our painter for a few months out.

~ Choose carpet for the steps.

Time Frame

This is definitely a winter project, so I know in advance that it will take a little while. It can sometimes be hard to line up all of the contractors perfectly since they have other jobs they are doing too. My hope is that the entire project will be finished by end of March, beginning of April….just in time for warmer weather and then, summer vacation!

I hope you will follow me on this journey. As I said, I am learning a lot, more and more as I go, and I would be willing to share any tips or answer any questions you may have! xo

Coordinated Health PSA Video for Dr. Schwartz

Last December I decided it was finally time to have the large “bump” that resided on the back of my heel taken care of, and the first person I turned to was my favorite podiatrist, Dr. Ed Schwartz.

Ed, as my family calls him, went in and removed the bump, which is medically known as Haglund’s Deformity. Initially I thought it was a running injury, but apparently it is also hereditary as he just operated on my mom two weeks ago for the same thing.

I have been going to Dr. Schwartz for a loooonnnnggg time. He diagnosed my first stress fracture when I was in high school and then many other running injuries that followed after. I’ll let the video speak for itself, but if you are in need of a podiatrist in the Lehigh Valley, he would be my first choice. I have known Dr. Schwartz for years, trust his knowledge and skills as a physician, and even babysat his kids when they were young. Take a look….

2020 in one word

New year. New decade. This last week has brought so many posts, tweets and grams out there speaking of getting in shape, eating better, being more mindful, etc etc etc… Resolution is a word that has been thrown around quite a bit, but those same resolutions are hard to keep and often very lofty. To me, resolutions are often times quite unattainable. They are statements that are meant to vastly change our lives to the point of an unrealistic and unpractical intention. I know myself that I have (been there, done that) with setting soaring resolutions that only resulted in defeat and had me feeling like crap by February for not being able to hold on and push through.

But again, being that it’s a new year, I want to start fresh with a clean slate. After many years, I finally feel like I am in an amazing place where I am ready to take on new things. I am ready for new challenges and tasks to make a commitment to. Those of you who really know me are aware that it’s been one hell of a journey to get to this place I am in, the place where I can finally say yes — I am ready to soar.

With all of this being said, this year I decided to sum up 2020 in one word. And that word is STRENGTH. Strength can take on many meanings and nuances, and that is exactly what I was going for when I chose it.

Let me break it down for you.

Mentally ~ I am stronger in my mind than ever. Years of therapy, work on myself, believing in and trusting others again, and surrounding myself with good people have all led me to where I am now. It has not been an easy road by any means, but in my mind, I feel at peace with myself and who I am. Are there days when I am not so kind to myself? Yep. Are there moments when I just want to crawl into bed and close off everyone and everything around me? Absolutely. But all in all, I am a far cry from where I used to be and it feels so damn good. So in 2020, I want to continue to work on my general mindset and know that I can do anything I put my mind to.

Physically ~ Like many others, I want to finally get in shape again. I do hold my own in terms of overall health, but my body has been holding on almost entirely through a good diet. What I have let go is the exercise piece and that will be coming back this year. I will be working with someone starting on Monday to get my fitness journey going and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Emotionally ~ I am an over thinker. Overthinking goes hand in hand with anxiety. I lay awake at night badgering myself for things I did and said during the day. I play out every possible scenario in my head of what could go wrong in the future. It is depleting and it needs to stop. This trait has been a topic of many therapy sessions and I have exhausted the subject to the point of me even being sick of talking about it. Quite honestly, at the end of the day, everything I was worried about never even happened. So this year, I have decided to make a conscious effort to not worry so much. I have been told many, many times – if I just be myself, the rest will fall into place. I may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but who is? So all in all, I want to be kinder and gentler to myself and allow myself to live peacefully and in the present because I am freaking lucky to be surrounded by the ones who love me.

To wrap up, I would love to know what your word for 2020 will be. Happy New Year! xo

Our First Project of 2020 ~ Home Office

Our First Project of 2020 ~ Home Office

I know everyone is recovering from Christmas and getting ready for the new year ahead and I’m no different.  That said, I’m so excited about our first project of the new year that I couldn’t wait to share!  I know I mentioned that we wanted to update the foyer and stairs, and that still is in the cards.  But this project goes hand in hand with what we want to do, so it will be a combination project….maybe a little bigger than anticipated.

First, here’s whats going on:  For all of the kids to be comfortable, we need an extra bedroom in the home.  To do this, we decided to turn J’s current office into an additional bedroom. But – he works from home so he definitely needs a space to take calls and work without noise and disruptions.  That said, our front living room is hardly used and it is a decent sized space, so my wheels got turning.  Why not turn that front “formal” living room into an office for both of us?

Because I love a good before and after, here’s a look at the front foyer and staircase that will get a little makeover as I wrote about in this post.

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My Christmas Menus

My Christmas Menus

My favorite month of the year is flying by!  I can’t believe I am finding myself brainstorming and planning my Christmas Eve and Christmas morning meals already.  Wasn’t it just Thanksgiving?  So here I’ve rounded up a few recipes that I will making over the holiday for my family.

CHRISTMAS EVE

Our festivities are slightly altered this year, so Christmas Eve will look a little different.  After talking it over with J, we decided to take on a standing rib roast for dinner (ie- a seasoned prime rib from a local butcher).  I’ve prepared this cut in the past and it turns out ridiculously good.  My plan is to roast the meat slowly in the oven following this method.

Prime-Rib-11

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Next Project: Stair Makeover and Runner Install

Next Project: Stair Makeover and Runner Install

A project that I’ve had on my mind for a while now is a front staircase makeover.  I see so many beautiful staircases on the blogs I follow and design books I read, that it’s so hard to narrow down the look and feel of what I want.

To see what we are working with, here are a few before pictures.  Our foyer is on the larger side and is two stories tall.  It bends to the left with a landing half way through.  As you can see, the carpet has seen better days.  Some other details that I want to update include staining the light wood to match the darker floor OR painting the steps black.  I also want to square off the bottom of the banister rather than having that spiral, and if possible, replace the spindles with more modern, sleeker ones.

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Besides the wood, I think I want a runner so nobody slips.  There are so many designs that I have admired over the years, so here are a few of my top favs that I’m using for inspiration.

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