Preview: Deck Refresh

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to three days off!  Even though some rain is in the forecast, we have a 50th birthday party at one of my favorite restaurants, a holiday picnic, and a baseball game with the kids.  I also have some free time carved out while J is golfing to just putz around the house and I love that too.

The last few weeks I’ve been trying to get the deck ready for the summer season.  I got my flowers last weekend and they are potted and ready to go.  We ordered this zebra rug from Wayfair and it is perfect to slide under my outdoor sectional that we brought over from my home.  Finally, we pulled the plug on the awning purchase and that should be installed in about two weeks.  I am so excited for the addition of the awning because I think the deck will be used a heck of a lot more with protection from the shade.  The deck is in an all-afternoon sun area and often is way too hot to enjoy.

The existing deck was composed of brown tones similar to the picture below.  To pull everything together and to keep it from looking one-dimensional, here is my vision…

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I incorporated lots of neutrals (blacks, browns, tans and whites) with pops of green, coral  and pink.  A few years ago I purchased an elephant garden stool very similar to the one in the picture above from a flea market.  It made its way down to J’s house along with the sectional and it fits in perfectly.  I love him!

The house is covered in tan siding and the deck is brown, so to add some contrast we went with a black and tan striped awning, rather than plain black.  I thought the stripe added a slight touch of pattern without being overwhelming.  And of course I’m a sucker for a good animal print, so this rug fit the bill to pull the deck together.

Here are some other snapshots of the flowers and pots…

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Sometimes it is difficult to envision everything put together and these vision boards always help me see the whole picture. And J too!  This weekend my plan is to set as much up on the deck as possible, minus the awning.  Once that is installed, I’ll be sure to do a complete post on the final product.  I’m fairly certain everyone in the family is going to love it, including me with a glass of wine and a good book. xo

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is always sentimental to me.  I always, always recognize my own mom for the dedication and unwavering support that she’s provided to me and my daughter over the years.  I know I can count on her always, and look forward to my quick “check-in” phone call each and every day.  These five minutes on the phone make her day and mine.

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This day also reminds me of my most important job in the world…being a mom.  My daughter has made it fairly easy for me and I really can’t complain.  She is a good student, and most importantly, she’s a kind and caring person.  I always want the best for her, and I want her to know that she is capable to do whatever she wants in her life.  The sky is the limit.

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Finally, Mother’s Day stirs up memories of my grandmothers who are no longer with us.  Both were so special in their own individual way and I miss them so much.  They added so much to my childhood memories…the sleepovers, the pierogies, the jelly cookies, the list goes on.  Their values and kindness still remain with me today and I am forever thankful for having them in my life.

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J is obviously not a mom, but I love being a part of his kids’ lives.  They make me smile and never leave room for a dull moment.  Life is full and happy in this house!

This year I didn’t do too much of a tablescape since we had about 30 people for dinner.  But, I took my favorite “face vase” and added some roses and greens to create a pretty centerpiece for the meal.

I hope that all the moms out there had an amazing day!

Beach Wedding Weekend: What I plan to wear

J and I will be heading to Marco Island, Florida for a beach wedding in the near future and I’m so excitedI  I can’t wait to feel the warmth of the sun and put my toes in the sand, but that said, it’s been a little tricky to narrow down a dress for the “Resort Casual Attire” dress code.  At first I really didn’t know what that meant, but after some research…it can mean just about anything fit for a casual affair.  Who knew?

The party the night before the wedding is said to be super casual.  Shorts, t-shirts and flip flops are appropriate.  However, I love me a good sundress, so that’s what I will be wearing.  I chose this navy and white gingham number that I got on a super sale this past weekend at JCrew.  The XS fit best overall, but I just had tack the straps since they were a little long.  I LOVE this dress.  The weight of the fabric is perfect and essentially non-wrinkle, and it’s very flattering.

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Since I love to be comfortable, especially at weddings, I opted for a lavender fit and flare option with the ability to add a scarf to wrap around my shoulders in case it gets chilly.  I had to size up in this dress based on the reviews, so I ordered a medium.  I love that it’s versatile enough to go from flats to heels in a heartbeat and the see-through lace on the lower half of the dress makes it cooler in the warm Florida temps.  Plus, the color is just so, so pretty!

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Saturday night’s dinner will be another casual event.  I’m not sure exactly where we are going yet, but “Derby hats” are welcome.  I chose this flowy dress from Hi Sugarplum’s line at Nordstrom.  I can pair any hat with it, as well as jewelry, and I will be super comfortable.

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I also opted to pack several pairs of shoes that can either dress up or down the dress depending on how I feel.  I just got these flat sandals from DSW in white and I know they will work with any of the dresses I bring. My gold Havaina’s will also be in my suitcase to wear as slippers in the hotel room, for trips to the pool or beach, and they also can be worn with any of the outfits I bring because of their neutral metallic color.  I’ll also be packing a pair of tan wedges and white sneakers. Finally, a thin sweater or jean jacket (I haven’t decided yet) will cover my bare arms in case I get chilly.

Stay tuned for more pictures as the festivities transpire!

The one hair accessory I keep seeing

The one hair accessory I keep seeing

Spring is in the air!  Nothing makes my mood dramatically increase than a warm, sunny spring day.  If I could bottle up sunny and 75 degrees, I would.  As we move into the new season, toes come out, floral dresses reappear and sweaters are tucked away.  It’s so liberating not to be bundled up from head to toe.  But as far as hair goes, there’s one hair accessory that I keep seeing this season.  Bobby pins.  All kinds….plain, jeweled, and various shades of metal.  They can be lined up in a row, criss-crossed or randomly scattered.  Plus, they are just enough to elevate any style, especially on those bad hair days. Take a look.

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And here’s my take on the style.  I used these bobby pins that I found on Amazon.

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Easy Easter Tablescape

Easy Easter Tablescape

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday!  After a few egg hunts and a ham dinner, I’m exhausted and it’s only Monday.  Thank goodness for days off!

Last night I made the Easter dinner.  I kept it all extremely simple, especially the table.  A simple bouquet of tulips, the hydrangeas that were given to my guests, plus some pretty floral paper napkins and black and white gingham chargers that pull it all together.

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Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods

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Wednesday evening commenced the yearly cabin trip that I take with my friends.  This annual excursion started five years ago after a particularly tough year for me, and we have been doing it ever since.  We go the few days before Easter and it’s something we all look forward to, year after year.  Of course we have our yearly traditions, but it’s always fun to make new memories.  I am so blessed to work with such an amazing group of people, and it’s very rare to find colleagues that I can also call my friends.   We’ve been with each other through thick and thin and I couldn’t be more grateful.

This is our third house since we’ve been going, but it definitely was my favorite for interiors.  It was also the largest by far!  The home included a gorgeous kitchen, large room for entertaining and dining, a double-sided, two-story fireplace, a pool table, movie theater, hot tub, small beach, full-sized shuffle board table and a game room that donned 13 vintage pinball machines.  There were decorated nooks throughout, complete with metal sculptures, a wall of books and pretty antiques.  We spent a good portion of our time around the campfire roasting marshmallows and drinking libations.  Nothing does better for the soul than good food, tasty drinks and awesome conversations!

Enjoy this picture walk through this amazing home in Pocono Pines….xo

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The Perfect Dress for a wedding…..

The Perfect Dress for a wedding…..

Ok, so I’m not a fashion blogger per se and I sometimes feel a little weird posting pictures of myself on here, but these dresses from Amazon are too good not to share.

We were invited to attend the wedding of J’s coworker last night.  Since the bride and the groom are of the Indian culture, I wanted to wear something long and flowing.  I was pretty sure that most of the females would be donned in their traditional Indian dresses, and I was right. I saw amazing dresses in all colors and styles.  They were mostly long and colorful with lots of jewels adorning the fabric.  I also knew that April nights could be a little chilly, so I chose a dress with sleeves as I am ALWAYS cold.

After searching multiple stores and websites with no luck, I thought I would give Amazon a try.  Oh my gosh!  Totally worth it.  I ordered these three dresses and the two I didn’t wear are going back.  But let me preface by saying it was not an easy choice.  It was down to the teal blue and the purple at the last moment.  I liked the fitted top of the blue dress because I thought it would fit well under my moto jacket, but the purple just felt better on.  The first one was pretty and very comfortable, but it was so long that it needed to be hemmed and I’m not a fan of a tie back dress.

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 Kaftan Sleeve with a little bling at the waist

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Vintage V-Neck Gown

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 Batwing Sleeved Belted Long Gown

Best part — each dress was under $50!  Mine was under $25.  Deal!  I ordered a small in each style.  Right now I am a true 4, so the small in each fit perfect.

Shoes — that’s another issue for me.  I have been having a difficult time finding comfortable shoes to wear since my surgery.  Super high heels just don’t make the cut.  After walking around DSW about fifty million times and trying on every neutral strappy sandal, I went a different route with these Vince Camuto snake skin mules.  The actually are quite comfortable and they don’t rub my heel.

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The updated cut of a mule and the unassuming animal print worked well for me and pulled the outfit all together. I am usually between and 8.5/9, but the 8.5 fit perfectly.  And J even coordinated with a purple tie! It was a beautiful night celebrating a beautiful couple.  xo

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Trend: Floral Dress | white sneakers

Trend: Floral Dress | white sneakers

With summer around the corner and spring on the verge of popping, I am forever looking for ways to transition from colder weather to transitioning temps.  You know those days where it could be 35 degrees in the morning and 70 degrees in the afternoon?  Sometimes it’s just a little too chilly to wear open-toed shoes when it’s just above freezing.  That’s where this trend comes in…floral dresses (or any dress) and white sneakers.

I have been loving this look because it screams comfort.  I live in dresses all summer long, so paired with a comfy sneaker…sign me up.

The other day I picked up these Adidas sneakers.  They have clean lines and are not too bulky.  There’s adequate padding and arch support, and the backs of my heels stay in place.  I purchased an 8.5.  Normally I wear a 9 in sneakers because I like lots of toe room, but this size fit me best.  I gathered a few images from Pinterest to showcase what I’m talking about.  We are traveling overseas this summer and I plan to do a LOT of walking, so pieces like these will be taking up the most room in my suitcase.

Thoughts on this trend?

Images via WhoWhatWear

Powder room wallpaper selected (I think!?)

Powder room wallpaper selected (I think!?)

A few weeks ago I posted about my powder room vision boards here on the blog.  To recap the saga, last year I wanted to refresh the powder room and created three boards using three versions of removable wallpaper.  I went back and forth with the patterns and let the samples hang for weeks, but in the end, I just wasn’t sold on any of them.  Regarding design, I never just “do to do.”  Rather than rush into something I didn’t love, I decided to put the project on hold and wait until I found the right paper.

Old designs here:

Fast forward to this winter.  I started to get the itch again to revisit removable wallpapers on the market and ordered three samples on a whim. These are the more recent vision boards I put together…

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Of the three, I am learning towards this version from Etsy.  I love the bold, moody pattern, and the texture of the paper itself is so smooth (almost to the consistency of contact paper).  The colors are phenomenal and rather muted, which will work nicely in this small, but high space.

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I’m thinking of having J’s rockstar uncle work his magic again and install some molding  or shiplap on the lower half of the room.  The ceiling height is super high, so five foot painted molding will assist in the wear and tear of the bathroom and also protect the wallpaper.

Some good inspiration right here

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As far as colors for the molding, what are your thoughts on a mossy green?  Initially I was leaning towards white molding, but I love a rich green.  The right shade will only add to the dramatics of the large florals.

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Possibly shades like this, but I’d really need samples to get a good read of the colors…

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Are you a bold and bright kind of person, or a perfectly neutral gal?  I’m actually both, but I’m not afraid to go a little crazy in a powder room!  Why not, right? xo

The best piece of anxiety-controlling advice I ever learned

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A friend of mine recently introduced me to Lori Harder’s podcasts.  If you don’t know who she is, look her up.  Her podcasts are definitely worth a listen.  She’s a self made entrepreneur with a background in fitness and body building.  Her story is so motivating and most of her weekly messages are so inspiring.  Plus, I’ve been known to take a page or four of notes in my journal from her podcasts.

Honestly, years of therapy has been great and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I still go.   But for some reason, I really seem to resonate with most of her topics.  Ranging from anxiety to building self confidence to anything in-between, she covers all bases of life issues that real women face.  Her followers are known as her tribe, and she often talks about how we can build our own tribe of diligent, confident, self aware women. Sign me up for that!

During one of her episodes she mentioned this quote by Mooji.  “Feelings are visitors.  Let them come and go.”  It struck me.  It struck HARD.  I wrote it down in my journal and even highlighted it.  And since that day, when things get hard and my feelings out of whack….anxiety heightens, sadness creeps in, I remember that quote.  I say it to myself over and over again.  Feelings are just temporary.  They can be gone within an hour or a day.  They come and go like waves on a beach.  I’ve also learned from this simple quote not to react to situations immediately, but rather sit on them for a while, wait and reflect.  Most times I am thankful I did.