J’s Family Room – Gold Etagere Bookshelves

J’s Family Room – Gold Etagere Bookshelves

When a room comes together exactly the way I want, I am a happy girl.  I am finally adding the finishing touches to J’s family room refresh, and once all is installed…I will be photographing and sharing the whole space!!!

Bottom line, there is a corner of the room that needed something.  I debated back and forth between a credenza/bar cart or bookshelves, and in the end, the shelves won.  I’ve always been a fan of the pretty gold etagere shelves, and since there is gold in the room, I thought they would look great.

After some searching, I decided to go with this piece from Wayfair.  It came with good reviews and was a great price compared to others on the market.  Since this corner isn’t heavily used or touched, I didn’t think we needed to spend a fortune so this one fit the bill.  Plus, this one came with five shelves rather than four.


My plan is to mix in some natural elements to balance out the gold, with touches of black.  I also want to incorporate some colors taken from the gallery wall.  I’ve been activity collecting “items” from Home Goods, as well as shopping our homes, and am so excited to put it all together to make that corner of the space extra special!

Here’s a sneak peak of the room and gallery wall during the holidays.


As I said, once the room is complete, I will be sharing the complete reveal.  By the way, if you missed my vision boards for the powder room, check them out here! xo

Updated Powder Room Vision Boards

Updated Powder Room Vision Boards

If you remember, back in the fall I was thinking about doing a powder room refresh for J, but I wasn’t totally feeling any of the wallpaper samples/vision boards that I put together.  The samples hung in the bathroom for months and after looking at them daily, I just couldn’t make a decision.  I’ve learned over time that maybe I needed to wait and choose something that I really loved.

Here’s the post, and here are the three vision boards originally created.

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There are a few details that I am keeping in mind with this refresh. 

Positives: J has extra tall ceilings and a nice white pedestal sink, which is staying.

Changes: Adding fun, removable wallpaper | incorporating a slight masculine touch (maybe?) | adding painted molding/wainscoting on the bottom half of the walls | adding a new mirror, lighting and accessories | possibly putting some shelves above the toilet | adding some fun art to pull it all together.

Musts: This bathroom must be durable enough to survive our combined five kids and large family. Most importantly, I want him to love it!

So to begin this process, I used my snow day to create three vision boards using samples I recently ordered from Etsy.



The first vision features large gold peony wallpaper on a white background.  I’d love to paint the wainscoting a slate blue for a unique look.  I would tie it all together with gold accessories and a statement piece of art.  This particular print reminds me of all of us at the beach.  Plus, I love the colors!

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My second vision features another large scale floral wallpaper in tones of whites and tans, with black, grey and greens.  To balance the lighter paper, I thought a darker lower half (black or dark grey) would make the white sink pop.  My plan would be to mix in some wood tones and mixed metals, namely golds and coppers.

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My last vision is the most bold of the three, but I LOVE this paper.  I’m just not sure J will go for this one (lol).  The colors are GORGEOUS in this design…shades of pink, blush, greens, creams and black.  As you can see from the image with the chair, the flowers are extremely large, but the ceilings in the bathroom are nine feet high so I’m not worried about it.  I would probably keep with lower half white, but touches of gold and lucite tied with natural elements would finish the look.

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As always, these vision boards are a way for me to put a look together in my mind.  They are also known to change slightly as the process goes along.  So…which one(s) do you like best and why?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  xo



Family Room Update: Rug, Paint and Couches

Family Room Update: Rug, Paint and Couches

I thought I’d pop in with another little family room update.  I posted my vision board for this room a little while back and I’ve been slowly doing my research and ordering things as I see them.  We made some progress on choosing some big items and I am super excited to see it coming together.  In my opinion, I think it’s so important to take your time when creating a room, especially one that is a primary living space.  Choosing things that you LOVE and will cherish is so important when creating the perfect area.  This room is one that gets the most wear and tear by our kids and families and for that reason, I’m being extra mindful when choosing elements that not only reflect our personal style, but would be durable and withstand everyday life.

My first thought was to lighten up the room as it can be quite dark.  Even with windows, the light streaming in seems to be at a minimum.  I also wanted two couches that are kid-proof.  Finally, J really wanted the  TV hung over the fireplace, which would be located at the top of this picture (not shown).

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To start, I researched a TON of durable couches, that also came in a long length.  After going to a few stores and checking them out, we finally settled on Crate and Barrel’s Axis ii Grande couches in Camel.  Their length of 105 inches will accommodate the many people who are often in this room.  Plus, the clean lines and neutral color will work well in refreshes in years to come.  We made a trip to Philly to view the couch in real, and I knew right away it was the one.  TIP:  Purchase a 15% off C&B coupon from eBay for about ten bucks.  It will save you tons!  But make sure to read the fine print before hitting “Place Order.”

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They won’t be delivered until close to Christmas, but I think it’s worth the wait.

We also purchased two of these chairs from World Market on a great Columbus Day sale. I still stop and stare at them every time I go by.  The rich, velvety shade of bluish-green, the shape, and the gold legs make this chair a winner.  Today my parents stopped by and I could tell my mom wasn’t too sure what to make of them.  That is, until she sat down.  They are so comfy!  Win-win in my book.  Comfortable and full of style!

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My rug search was ongoing, and I saw a few that I liked online (Wayfair, Joss & Main, Overstock, etc) but I wanted to make sure the colors were just right.  Don’t you agree that it’s sooo hard to choose rugs that you can’t see in real?  After posting a carpet recs post on Facebook, we were able to visit a local store and they had tons!  Best part — they let us bring two home to make sure!  Who does that?!?  That said, I am so glad we did because I ended up choosing the rug that I didn’t originally think I would choose.

My wish was to find a large Persian rug (10×13) that was distressed.  I wanted the base to be ivory, scattered with tans and taupes.  A touch of grey would be fine, but J’s kitchen doesn’t have any grey and I want both rooms to coordinate.  And….I found this one!  It may appear grayish in the picture, but in person it’s not.  We do need to order the larger size with a three week delivery timeline, but we aren’t in a rush.


The actual rug looks more like the one in the picture below.


I also posted about my end tables that I found on Craigslist.  $40 bucks for the pair!  Nobody in my world can see my vision, but that’s ok.  I know they will be great!  🙂  My plan is to paint them a glossy white and add some new, chic gold hardware.  I love the lines in the front, and the extra storage they will provide will be beneficial.

It was a little chilly today, but I started sanding them down with an electric sander.  Next step is to clean them with mineral spirits and then paint when it’s a nice and warm(er) fall day.




Let’s talk about paint.  I’ve had these six samples up on the wall for about two weeks and J still can’t tell the difference.  But I can.  I finally decided on Benjamin Moore’s Linen White (top middle) for it’s creamy color.



In addition to paint, J’s rockstar uncle is going to help me put up board and batten in the entrance/small hallway off the garage.  This will serve as a “faux” mudroom.  Since the painting swings around to that area, I thought it would be best to do it all at one time.  Here’s an inspo picture I have posted on Pinterest, and I can’t wait to see it finished.  I think it will add a nice dimension and separating point between that area and the family room.  This is another reason for choosing a creamier white.  I wanted a bit of contrast between the glossy white of the lower wall with the creaminess of the upper wall.



I’m constantly popping into my local Home Goods because you never know what they are going to have.  Two accent pieces I picked up along the way were these framed geodes for the gallery wall and this magazine holder.



Last, I know I’m getting ahead of myself but when deals strike, you must jump.  I really wanted to get matching Christmas stockings for all of us that would coordinate with the new room.  I was looking all over, but kept coming back to the fur stockings from Pottery Barn.  As luck would have it, J and I stopped by Pottery Barn to look at coffee tables and guess what they had???  Stockings! And they were on a killer sale.  I purchased seven on the spot.  I love how they are all different, but they all have the same cream-colored  velvet top.  I also found an embroiderer and she is going to embroider our names in a chocolate brown.  I LOVE them!  My plan is to wrap them up and have the kids open them on the day we get and decorate the tree.




So that’s about it for now.  I’ve been very busy coordinating this room and it makes me so giddy to see it come together.  J sometimes can’t believe how excited I get over rugs and end tables.  As I said, we are not in a rush, but the timeline is working out perfectly.

Coffee table – Still looking for a narrow, long table.  I don’t want anything too bulky or dark.  I’ll keep you updated!

Rug – three week delivery time

Board and Batten – November, done by Thanksgiving

Paint – first week of December

End tables – will get done by me

Couches – we could have them for Christmas, but I’m not worried if they don’t come.

By the new year, it will be almost done.  I am waiting until after everything is installed before I finish the gallery wall and add other accent pieces.

So, what do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts! Enjoy!  xo


Front Entrance Reveal

Front Entrance Reveal

The other night I was thinking about this blog and decided it was high time to start posting the projects I’ve done since school’s been out.  Last month I posted my Summer Bucket List for J’s house and I have to say, I got quite a bit done.  I did have a trip to Vegas in there, lots of postponed doctor appointments, physical therapy for my ongoing neck issue and time with J and my gang, so I’m finally happy to show off my work for J’s front entrance.

Before the makeover, the door and shutters were a faded green and they were in desperate need of a little sprucing.  While green is nice, I LOVE a good, glossy black door.  There’s just something about it that remains classy and versatile.  In addition, I sprayed the shutters a glossy black too.

Besides the painting, J’s lawn guy came and cut back all of the bushes as far as he could go.  I was looking for a cleaner, more manicured look and I didn’t want the shrubs to be a visual obstacle blocking the entrance.  We decided that some of the shrubs and bushes (i.e the big ones right in front) will most likely come out next spring, but for now, they are staying.  We also had his power washing guy come out and power wash the whole house, deck and sidewalk.  The only thing that is missing is some new mulch!

Before pictures: Sun-faded hunter green door and shutters with overgrown bushes.  The black planters are new and were just planted in this picture below.


Note the (un)power-washed sidewalk, overgrown bushes.


The reveal!  Glossy black doors, painted inside and out. (Inside foyer reveal coming soon!) New boxwood wreaths and welcome mat, trimmed trees and washed sidewalk, and the plants in the planters grew tremendously!




I’m in love with the way it turned out.  The look will transition well into the other seasons of the year – I’m thinking fall wreaths, mums in the planters, pumpkins and gourds, etc.  And for the holidays, simple greens stuck in the planters with holiday wreaths on the door!

In addition to the front entrance, I placed two new planters on the deck with these potted flowers.  They are a type of Mandevilla and they are gorgeous!  They love the sun and come in a variety of colors.  I chose white to blend in to the other colors going on within the deck decor.  (More on that soon too!)


Again, if you missed my summer bucket list, you can check it out here.  Enjoy!

Summer bucket list | J’s House

Summer bucket list | J’s House

I’m sure those that aren’t teachers are not counting the days until summer.  Parents are probably lining up daycare and sending in last minute camp registration forms. Although I envy flexible schedules of those in the business world and the opportunity to have lunchtime meetings at real restaurants, there is nothing like the last day of school.  Nothing.  As a friend put it, “It’s better than Christmas morning!”

Yesterday we caught a glimpse of summer amid all the rain we’ve been having and we decided to venture out on a group walk.  In between all the complaining about how far we were going, it was rather enjoyable to get the kids out in nature and take in a non-scheduled afternoon together.

Also in anticipation of summer, I am creating a series of bucket lists and I’m kicking them off with the projects I want to accomplish at J’s house.

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Of course — the number one priority over there is the powder room.  With our busy weekends, this project slipped by me and I have no other excuses.  Little things like potted flowers will get done right away, but the bigger projects take some time.  Here are a few of the top tasks on the list:

1. Powder Room Refresh. The brainstorming of this project started a while ago and it got put on hold because of schedules.  As I said, it is one of the first things I’m going to tackle this summer.

If you missed the rest of the posts, you can catch them here.

Powder Room Refresh | Wallpaper Samples and a Decision

Powder Room Refresh | Vision Boards

Powder Room Brainstorming

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2. Paint front door and shutters. The green on his door and shutters have since faded from its vibrancy, so I’m thinking a glossy black will be just the touch it needs.  That, and two new planters and a new mat (and possibly a light – he doesn’t know that yet!) will enhance his entrance way completely.


3. Deck and Patio Refresh | Retractable Awning. I posted about this a few weeks ago.  I am really excited to get the ball rolling on this one because I think the addition of the awning will make the space more useful for everyone, especially the kids.


4. Minor Landscaping. I want to plant some hostas in some of the shady areas of his beds to fill in empty spaces.  They grow nice and hardy and live through the summer into the fall.  He’s also going to have his lawn guy cut back the bushes by the door for a better view of the front of his house.  I’m a firm believer in less is more, and the smaller bushes will add to the beauty of his front entranceway.  Don’t mind the weeds!


Summer is going to fly by, so between his home and mine, I have my work cut out for me.  Soon I will post about the ideas I have for a summer bucket list at my house!  Enjoy the week!  xo

Easter Bar Cart

Easter Bar Cart

Despite our fourth Nor’easter in a month, I am still thinking ahead to warmer temperatures and sandal weather.  It’s hard to believe that yesterday was the first day of spring since I’m looking outside my window to blustery snow and a winter wonderland.  Even the decor in my home has been switched out to display spring-like colors.  Gone are the tweedy pillows and heavy fur blankets.  Like I’m sure everyone else is feeling, I’m over winter.

With the change of the seasons and holidays, my bar cart also gets a new look.  I like that I am able to switch out the decor to go with the seasonal themes.  Recently I posted about my quest to find art for above my bar cart.  Although I am still searching, this time I shopped my home to find this abstract piece which I placed behind the cart give it a colorful backdrop.


Within this vignette, there are a few personal pieces that mean so much to me.   The bunny was given to me by mom years ago, 2001 to be exact.  She dates everything!  The bunny is simplistic enough to go with any decor and it makes an appearance every year.  The Pennsylvania cup is way older than me, and was given to me by my grandfather.  I think he had a set of four behind his bar, and each of the four granddaughters got one to remember him.


I love to add colorful cocktail napkins and paper straws on a bar cart.  Not only are they pretty, but useful.


Colorful coffee table books are a great way to add color and pattern to the lower level of a cart.  I also love to use wine glasses to hold bunches of flowers.  The stem of the glass provides height when they are tucked in the back of an arrangement.


I’m ready for spring, but Mother Nature says otherwise.  Enjoy your Wednesday!


gift wrap organization

gift wrap organization

It’s been a little hectic around here lately.  With last weekend being my daughter’s performance weekend, I didn’t have a lot of time to write and photograph for blog posts.  Saturdays and Sundays are the days when I get most of my blogging work done, and it just wasn’t happening.  I also want to thank you to everyone who reached out with the kind comments and notes in support of her.  It was an amazing few days!

I did squeeze in a little time to finally organize my gift wrap and ribbon.  Although I am saving my garage for a summer project, I really wanted to get my wrapping paper in check because it’s too pretty not to display.  You see, I have a little problem with paper and ribbon.  I love them.  And I know I get this addiction from my mother, who has a self created “store” in her basement.  She has boxes of every shape and size, wrapping paper and bags for every season or occasion, gift tags and cards galore, and enough ribbon and bows to wrap for over 1,000 people.  If I’m ever in a pinch, I know I can call her and she will have the exact paper I am looking for.  Even better, she sometimes offers to wrap it!


So that being said, I have my own little stash of paper and ribbon that I wanted to organize.  To do this, I used The Container Store’s White Elfa Utility Gift Wrap Door and Wall Rack.  Right now, it is on sale and they are offering free shipping as well.

This is the photo from their website.  I love how everything looks organized and cohesive, yet visually appealing.


Assembling and installing was very easy.  No extra hardware was required besides using the Allen wrench needed to tighten one screw.  That’s it!  I have to say, the construction of the metal and all of the hooks and baskets included in the kit were well-made and sturdy.  Everything that you see pictured in my photos was included.  I ended up not using a few translucent boxes because I didn’t need them, but it’s nice to know I have them as extras.



I am a huge fan of colored paper in all patterns, especially if they can be mixed and matched.  Most of my wrapping paper comes from Home Goods.  Their rolls are under $3 each and the paper is thick and durable for wrapping.  There is nothing worse than cutting cheap paper and having it tear half way up the cut.  Every time I am there, it is hard to resist the many rolls they have.  I also made a place to store my rubber cement and mounting squares since I grab them all of the time.



My go-to gift bags are colors of brown, white or gold.  They are versatile and can be used for anyone – male or female, and for any occasion.  The bags can be switched out with different ribbons and tags, and I always have them on hand.



Bottom line, I love my new wrapping paper station.  It’s also safe to say, I don’t even mind having the closet door open for all to see as they arrive in my home!


Man Cave | Basement Gallery Wall

Man Cave | Basement Gallery Wall

Holy cow, do I love long weekends!  Today we have off in observance of President’s Day and boy, am I loving it.  I wish every work week could be four days.  Can you imagine all of the extra stuff we would get done with an extra day?!  Two days of the weekend to recover and have fun, and one additional day to get crap done.  Yep, that would totally work for me.

Speaking of weekend, yesterday J and I completed a little project in his basement that we’ve been meaning to conquer for a while.  About a month ago he began pulling out all of these cool pictures that he had hiding away in his closet.  They were images from his past…some Penn State and Paterno, some Eagles.  He’s a huge Hall and Oates fan, so there was a framed album from the group.  I told him to gather all that he had, even items he thought to be strange to include on the wall.  After some searching, he had a nice collection of unique items in all shapes and sizes.  To add some visual interest, I found an  aluminum B to be used as a center focal point.

As a reference, his basement is very long.  The space where the gallery wall was to be hung was behind an antique shuffle board table from his family.  That thing is enormous and we figured it to be around 18 feet.  It was also a little tricky to take photos in this space, but I think I captured it all.  Here’s the view from afar.


To start, we spread all of the items out on the table to get an initial visual of what it would look like.  I really need to see things in front of me before hanging anything up.  This also gave us an estimation on how much space the items will take up on the wall.


Next, I traced each item on paper and cut them out to size.  I really believe this step is important in getting the look you want.  All too often people begin the hanging process without planning it out and they end up with something unexpected in the end.  The extra time is worth it.  Trust me.


Once cut, I taped each paper on the wall where the actual item will be located.  The beauty of this step is that you can move around anything that may seem out of place, too high, too low, etc.  In this phase I moved around a few items to make sure it looked just right.


Most of the photos were rather easy to hang.  There were a few that required precise measuring, but my accountant assistant took care of that. 😉

I am so happy with the final product.  Everything ended up well-balanced and level!  There are even a few conversation pieces on the wall such as that wooden chicken bone plaque and an old Penn State notebook from the 20’s.


This shot really gives you an idea how long the area is and how much wall space we had to work with.


A view from behind the bar….


The best part is that J really seems to like it.  All of the photos and items included are things close to his heart, so I was really glad to give him a way to display some of the things he loves.  We also sent some photos to his kids and received positive comments from them too!


Make it a great Monday! xo

Friday Ramblings

We made it to Friday!  The weeks seem so long, yet they fly by….does that make any sense?  In honor of the weekend, I thought I would share a few things that I have going on….

Last Friday I shared some recipe inspiration on my Eagles post.  We finally narrowed down the menu and the one recipe we decided to try from the list were the whiskey meatballs. I’ll let you know how they try out…

I love a good tablescape on my dinner table and although the Super Bowl isn’t a formal party, we can still have cute food labels, right?


I live in Eagles country, so this game is HUGE around these parts.  Even my 4th graders think the Birds are going to pull off a WIN on Sunday.  Poor Brady.


My mac and cheese casserole won’t be at our party this year, but in case you missed the recipe you can still check it out. It is so good and sooooo easy.


I plan on making my chili for the big game and J ordered this Dutch oven for me.  It just came in, so I am excited to put it to use.  By the way, he also scored lots of points for getting it!  I never follow a recipe for chili and it is never the same twice.  That’s the beauty of it…chili is so versatile.


Last Sunday I posted this picture on Instagram.  I had a perpetual sore throat and felt like crap the week before, so I went to the doctor.  All of my tests came back negative [Thank God], but I decided to give myself almost a total week off from working out.  And guess what?  I miraculously feel better!  I guess we need to stop and listen to our bodies because sometimes they are speaking out loud and clear.


The wallpaper samples came in and I can’t wait to see them in J’s powder room.  I have to say, they look a bit like contact paper.  However to be fair, I wasn’t sure what I would be getting and they are in fact waterproof, so the texture makes sense.  Hopefully he will like them too!


My daughter is in her school’s play and I am in charge of the cast party favors.  All 105 of them!  I can’t show you the final present just yet, but I have been up to my ears in tags and labels galore!


This gal isn’t getting any younger and I’ve had the same skin care routine for years.  My face is pretty good [knock on wood] and I don’t have too many wrinkles.  What I do have is slight rosacea and a spot of melasma on my cheek.  I’ve used Colleen Rothschild products before and I especially love the Clarifying Detox Mask.  In my opinion, I feel like this mask literally pulls the dirt and yucky stuff right out of the pores.  It’s just so good.  I also wanted some sort of a hydration mask because the inside air is so dry and harsh on my skin.  Plus, running outside doesn’t help either.  After some research I ordered the Intense Hydrating Mask and so far so good!  The amazing Grace cream was a gift from a student and it is so nice to lather on after an evening shower.  I’m just throwing it out there in case you are looking for a nice body lotion.  Finally, to help brighten my melasma spot, my friend recommended BioRadiance Botanical Cellular Brightening treatment.  It’s made with all natural, organic ingredients and is chemical free.  Her daughter in law is a skin care specialist to the stars in LA and highly recommends this product.  Hey, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.  I’ll let you know how it’s going.


I know many despise Valentine’s Day, but I like it.  I believe it is a day to show the special people in your life just how much you love them.  What’s wrong with that?  To celebrate, I’m planning a special dinner for J and I and the kids complete with dinner menus and favors.  Stay tuned for more about that because I have to get through the Super Bowl first!


So that about wraps it up.  I hope you have a great weekend and Go Eagles!  xo

Pillows on dining room chairs

Pillows on dining room chairs

Just popping in today to show you a fun trick that I use to add a little pizzazz to my dining room.  I love the look of adding throw pillows to the chairs, whether they are on all of them or just the end two.



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What’s better, is that places like Home Goods or TJ Maxx have many different styles and colors to choose from so your dining room doesn’t have to look the same from one month to the next.  These black and white ones are a fav of mine and are moved around my home all year round.  The floral ones are a new Home Good’s find.

Here are some other images of inspiration:


Photo credit: BG Promoters


Photo credit: Crazy Chic Design


Photo Credit

I also love the mix and match chairs/bench in the above image.  Curating the room in this way allows the home owner to make the most out of the space they have for their furniture.  What do you think?  Pillows or not?