Yesterday was the official first day of summer, and although I'm not in school, and I don't have some massive summer vacation planned, there is something about summer that feels carefree. Here are a few things I'm loving for the season:
We use greens and florals all the time to help dress up a space, especially in staging, but also in clients homes to add a little greenery with very little maintenance. There are a few go-to's that will last, and look good even when they have dried.
Eucalyptus is probably our most used green. It smells awesome, and it comes in a few different shapes so you can achieve different looks. My favorite is seeded eucalyptus which has feather-like leaves and can be seen below on the left.
Laurel leaves are similar to seeded eucalyptus but they have a greener color which can be stunning. Eucalyptus is a bit softer in color and texture, where as Laurel leaves are more waxy. Laurel leaves are the same as bay leaves (like the kind you use in cooking!).
There are a bunch of different kinds of these funky flowers, and they are all so cool! They are a little more expensive, but they will seriously last months. Totally worth the investment.
I've always loved Thistles. The blues are so pretty and they look so wild and feminine all at once. They dry really well and will last a really long time. They tend to lose the bright blue but turn into a really dusty french blue that is equally as pretty.
Sometimes making a few small changes to your space can make a huge difference in the way you feel. Check out some easy tips on how to make your space more peaceful.
It's easy to feel like your in disarray when your space feels cluttered. Do a quick tidy-up. Throw all clothes in a hamper, wash the dishes in the sink, and make sure everything is in it's place! Even if you just take the time to straighten the piles of paper mounting on your desk, it's a start, and will make you feel so much more at peace. And, set a timer! When you set timers, you have intentionally dedicated a certain amount of time to solely focus on the task at hand. It's amazing how much you can get done in 20 mins!
Take a cue from the Danish and add in a little Hygge in your space. Hygge is a Danish word that means "cozy". They practice it in many ways, but an easy way to add a little bit of cozy-ness in your space, is finding a favorite candle, and actually burning it! It's easy to feel like you have to save that candle for a special occasion, but adding that small step in your routine is a great way to celebrate you! My favorite candle is Elysian Garden by Voluspa.
Add in some light! This may mean switching out your blackout curtains, adding lamps, washing your windows, or simply switching the bulbs in your current light fixtures for better bulbs! There is nothing worse than a bright house that looks like a walmart. That will not foster the calmness you are seeking. Look for bulbs that say warm or soft light. Stay away from flourecent, cool whites, or LED lights. If you're willing to spend a little extra dough, invest in either Hue or Lifx light bulbs where you can create any ambiance you like! When looking for curtains, make sure if you need privacy that you are specifically looking for "light filtering" and not "sheer". Give your windows a quick clean, you might be surprised at the difference it makes!
Take stock of the things you keep around the place. Do you have things in your home that bring back bad memories, that someone gave you but you just don't like, or old things you're hanging on to just because? Get rid of them! The more joyful things you surround yourself with, the more joyful you will feel.
Add a little life! Houseplants have been proven to improve air quality and they are pretty to look at! If you're like me and have a black thumb, download the app Koubachi to send you little reminders to water your specific plant (they literally customize it based on the plant you have). Or, buy an Aqua Globe to keep your buddy hydrated.
Carve out a little place to read or meditate that isn't your bed. Make sure it's cozy and inviting. This has to be a place you want to be. It should stay clutter free so the space is always available when you need it.
Enjoy the peace!
Etsy is so full of stuff that it can be hard to narrow down just what to buy. The 4 things I always find myself buying on there are Artwork, fun little Tchotchkes, Pottery Pieces, and Pillows. Check out my picks below!
There is so much great art out there and I love that Etsy has become a great place to find independent artists. There's something great about finding an artist on the site that totally speaks to you, but hasn't necessarily been "discovered" yet.
It's kind of like having all your favorite vintage stores combined into one (and you don't have to get out of your pajamas to go look). I've found everything from a cool vintage clock, to an old camera, to a piece of coral (I even bought a stick off there...I know).
Some pottery can be super expensive but generally on Etsy, you can find really cool pieces that are totally unique and oh so cool. I love the look of mixed pottery pieces for serving or even used as vases.
Seriously some of the best pillows I've bought for clients came from Etsy. Again, because there are so many independent people on there, you actually have the ability for find a true one of a kind piece, or find pillows that were made from vintage fabric.
Mother's day is such a great way to celebrate the women in your life. My sister and I go over to my moms house every year to make her eggs benedict and have a little brunch (mimosas included). The tradition started when my sister learned to make hollandaise sauce from scratch and I got to show off my one cooking skill, making fried eggs (to this day, it's my only cooking skill). We've probably done it for the better part of 15 years and I always look forward to it. Something else I look forward to? Decorating the table! In the rush of the cooking, and the driving 40 mins to get there, I always opt for something simple, beautiful and SO easy, it's silly. My go-to's are below:
Potted Lavender: Lavender is super affordable, and super easy. You can generally find pots of them at Lowes or Home depot. The pots they come in aren't always the most attractive, so I like to wrap them in fabric. Burlap looks great! The great part of buying potted plants is that you can let your mom and other guests take them home with them (with no need to hunt them down to get your vase back later). Or, you can plant them and enjoy the lavender all for yourself!
Grocery Store Flowers: I know what you're thinking...EW. But hear me out, grocery store flowers can look great if you know what to do with them. My biggest fail-safe method is to buy all one kind of flower ONLY. Don't add the weird greens, or anything else, just stick with one flower. Tulips are always beautiful in spring, but if you can't find any of those, most grocery stores have bouquets of roses. White roses always look stunning.
Succulents: Always so cute on any table! Again, you can usually find these at a home improvement store (Lowes/Home Depot), and they are usually super cheap. Sometimes you can even find pallets of them to buy them in bulk! I love the look of them in terra cotta pots, which you should be able to find at the same stores (also really affordable). I like to stick (no pun intended) to the ones without pricks just in case there are small children at the table or a scone pass across the table ends up deadly.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend celebrating all those mamas!
I have tried every brand of luxury bedding and sheets (and not so luxury), and without fail, I always come back to this favorite. Get this: my go to sheets are from Target! Yes that's right, they are so affordable it's silly. To make the deal even sweeter, they are so cozy, the perfect temperature for hot nights, and cold ones, and they are wrinkle resistant. No, this isn't a paid post, just a shout from the rooftops for my love of the Performance Sheet Sets From Target. Check them out below:
They come in a ton of colors and patterns so you can make sure they match your decor. My favorite are the white and the white with the blue diamonds (3rd from the left) but they are all so good! Click here for patterns, click here for solids.Even more exciting news? They are on sale for 30%off this week. Snatch up a few sets!
Mother's Day is just around the corner (it's this Sunday if you can believe it!). Take a look at some of the ideas below to spoil all the moms in your life. Let them know how much you love 'em!
Remember, that sometimes the best gift of all is a sweet heartfelt note.
Happy (early) Mother's Day!
If you're like me, you love the soft breeze that a ceiling fan provides, but hate the look of them. Usually they are pretty awful looking, and nix any chance of installing a beautiful ceiling chandelier as your focal point. That being said, sometimes they are just so luxurious feeling (can you tell I have a love/hate thing going on here?). I rounded up some ceiling fans that aren't horrible. Is it worth it? You tell me.
A few inspiration images to get your thoughts rolling:
Here are a few of my favorites:
Click on the images above for more info!
I have always loved Navy. It's timeless, it's classic, and it can be a pseudo-neutral! I've tried many navy wall colors, but I just can't get enough of Hale Navy from Benjamin Moore. I'm thinking about using it in my tiny home office for a little punch of elegance. This color seems to look good in just about every light on every surface. Cabinets, walls, furniture, you name it! Below are some inspiration images that highlight it so well and the powder bathroom was one that we did in a new construction project in La Canada, CA.
Isn't it just so great?!?
I love the round brass mirror trend (in fact we have one in our bedroom, over our dresser). But I feel like that's all I'm seeing these days. Here are some other beautiful shapes in brass that would look great in any space, would take the place of a round mirror in most cases, and add a little uniqueness!
There was a moment in time where tan colors were all the rage, then that trend went out HARD. I seriously couldn't even look at something tan without wanting to puke. I can't believe I'm saying this, much less writing a blog post about it, but tans are totally coming back with a vengeance and I'm digging it. Here are some gorgeous tan pieces and rooms I'm coveting.
Room images are linked to original sources.
Moodboard Monday is a way for me to flush out some design ideas. Sometimes they are implemented, sometimes they aren't but it's a great way to get my creativity out! This bedroom is a little feminine and a little masculine. The juxtaposition would be perfect for a couple!
I'm ready to move in!
Keeping a house clean is never an easy task, especially when you throw in significant others, pets and for some of you, children. I've always been a pretty clean person but I've never been all that tidy. Now that we are in Spring Cleaning mode, I wanted to share an article I always come back to.
I stumbled across this article from Apartment Therapy years ago when I was trying to find an attainable plan to keep my small apartment clean and tidy (the article originally came out in 2013). I gave it a whirl, and it totally worked, and wasn't too overwhelming! The gist of it is this: set a timer for 20 mins a day, and take on one small task that is clearly outlined in the month long calendar. No Guesswork about what needs to be done, with a clear amount of time dedicated to it.
Now that we live in a (slightly) larger house, I still find myself constantly returning to its guidelines. It's just such a great way to keep any house in order.
I'd love to hear if any of you have implemented similar cleaning rules, and how they work for you, and your family!
Check out the calendar below With a few of the tips they recommend.
The original Article was written by Sarah Rae Smith for Apartment Therapy in November of 2013 and can be seen here.
The 30 Day Schedule:
1. Surface clean living room and kitchen (pick up stray items, dust, sweep, vacuum)
2. Clean bathrooms (toilets, showers, floors, walls, mirrors)
3. Surface clean bedrooms (put away toys, clothes, dust)
4. Surface clean "extra" rooms (basement, office, play room)
5. Surface clean living room and kitchen
6. Clean bathrooms
7. Clean all interior windows (white vinegar and newspaper works great and is cheap!)
8. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house (don't forget stairs)
9. Surface clean bedrooms
10. Deep clean living room (mirrors, baseboards, dust artwork)
11. Clean bathrooms
12. Clean out closets (hang up clothes, mittens, jackets, hats)
13. Surface clean "extra" rooms
14. Deep clean bedrooms (organize drawers, check under bed, tidy closet, dust artwork, fans, lights, mop)
15. Surface clean living room and kitchen
16. Deep clean bathrooms (clean inside drawers, inside of trash cans, tops of mirrors, tile, mop)
17. Clean all door knobs, phones, entertainment equipment (remote controls), switch plates, banisters and other things that are repeatedly touched.
18. Clean out the refrigerator, take stock of food, organize pantry
19. Clean entryway, sweep porch (if you have one), clean out car (because they're often our home away from home)
20. Surface clean living room and kitchen
21. Surface clean bathrooms
22. Surface clean bedrooms
23. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house
24. Clean linen closet, straighten towels, sheets or regular closet if not applicable
25. Surface clean living room and kitchen
26. Deep clean kitchen (scrub appliances, wash trash cans, base boards, wipe down and straighten cabinets)
27. Surface clean bathrooms
28. Surfaces clean bedrooms
29. Clean one item you've been meaning to get to and haven't (deep clean your stove, wipe down all light fixtures, tackle a particularly unruly area)
30. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house
1) Dealing With What Comes Through The Door
Set up a small area by the front door to act as a "landing strip" for incoming items to your home. If you're a longtime reader this is nothing new to you. If this is the first time you've heard this phrase outside of reference to personal grooming habits, then make sure to check out Maxwell's Home Cure video on the topic.
2) Do Your Dishes After Every Meal
This will help you stay on top of your kitchen instead of having it turn into a monster! No one really wants to do them (after all, you probably cooked dinner to boot). But waiting for another meal or until you have enough to fill the dishwasher just makes things feel overwhelming and easier to put off. The same goes for taking out trash as well. If you need to take the trash out, place it by the front door to go out in the morning or dispose of it that night so it's over and done with. Still having trouble? Try the one-cup method.
If you have a washer and dryer at home, do a little bit each day. Spread things out so you don't feel bogged down by 200 towels and stinky socks. If you take things to a laundromat, sort clothes as you go so things are easier to load into machines when you get there. Fold them before you come home so you aren't dumping baskets out on your sofa or bed and they can go straight into drawers and closets. Not feeling inspired? Treat yourself... to a new laundry basket. It's the little things.
4) Whistle While You Work
No one really enjoys cleaning, but singing, humming, whistling or turning up the stereo are all great options to keep the beat in your feet and have fun while working. Here are a few past posts on killer cleaning soundtracks.
5) Set a Timer (this one is KEY for me. It helps keep me on track and not get distracted)
Most items on the list below should take no more than 20 minutes total. It's easy to rationalize 20 minutes, but it's also easy to get distracted by phone calls, emails, children and other projects that call your name as you tackle each chore. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes (whic ever works best for you) and that way when it sounds you know exactly how much time you have left. If you find yourself off task it's easy to get back on track.
I've been going around, and around trying to redecorate my home office. One of the things I need is a flush-mount light. There are A LOT of ugly ones out there and, of course I would really like it to be attractive. I would also love to bring in some brass elements, and thought this would be a great way to do it. Right now I'm leaning toward the one on the top left (the biggest one). Which one is your favorite?
Clockwise from top left:
Stratford Flush-mount, Maxime Flush-mount, Glass & Metal Flush-mount, Minka-Lavery Harbour Point Three-Light Semi-Flush Mount, Fabric Shade Flush-mount, Sculptural Glass Geo Flushmount
Spring has sprung here in Southern California. I spent last Saturday at Echo Park Lake enjoying the water lilies and the sweet baby goslings by the edge of the water. Here are a few things I'm dreaming about as the season unfolds.
I do a lot of furniture refinishing, and general around the house type things. So, I thought I would talk about my favorite tools.
Sander. This sander has saved my arms/hands about a thousand times. It's small enough for small pieces of furniture but big enough that it doesn't seem daunting to take on a big project. My favorite part is that the sand paper that attaches to it is velcro and so so so easy to change out!
Jigsaw. Jigsaws are really just a good thing to have around the house. If you're building furniture they're even better. Want to make a DIY upholstered headboard with a fancy shape? Want to cut a hole for a dog door? Make a corn hole game? Jigsaw's your man.
Ratcheting Screw Driver. I discovered the ratcheting screw driver a few years ago. I can not stress enough how much it has changed my life. It's basically the screw driver for lazy people. Sign me up!
Drill This drill is awesome. I actually had done insane amounts of research on drills before purchasing and had decided to go with a different drill. So I went down to the hardware store to make my purchase and realized that the drill I wanted was SO heavy. I could barely lift it with one hand and it certainly wasn't comfortable. So I decided to go for the store clerks suggestion and I couldn't be happier. This drill has a lithium battery and charges in only 15 minutes. It also has a light that shines on your subject while drilling. And its so light I am totally comfortable using it for long periods of time
Kitchen Scissors. I love a good pair of kitchen scissors. Good for cutting ends of flowers, or really anything.
Tip: cut some sandpaper with scissors to sharpen the blades!
Levels are great for hanging pictures or making sure you're building something level. I couldn't live without it.
Hammer/ Rubber Mallet. Hammers are pretty self explanatory, the rubber mallet however is totally downplayed. Rubber mallets are so handy! My favorite use for them is putting together pre fab furniture (think ikea). Instead of killing yourself to make everything fit perfectly, just use a rubber mallet it will make your life so much easier and won't damage the furniture!
Measuring Tape I don't really need to explain this one.
Tool Box I love this toolbox because its small enough to grab and go but big enough to put the essentials in. And lets face it, it's adorable.
I've been stalking H&M's home stuff because some of it is just so good! The pillow covers are exceptionally well priced, and really attractive. So I put together 3 collections of pillows that are all around $100 or less! Talk about an easy refresh for your living room!
Step One: Start with a great base. I alway recommend starting with a neutral sofa so you have the freedom to switch things up later on. This one is from Wayfair and it's under $600 bucks. That's basically free (believe me).
Step 3: Order it!
Step 4: Make sure you have inserts! These are only the pillow covers, so you'll need something to put in them. There are a ton of options out there but I like these from good old IKEA. They feel super luxurious and are a fraction of the cost of most other places. They are only $5.99!
Step 5: Out with the old, in with the new. Pop those new puppies on your couch and feel like a new person. Or, at least a person with a fresh living room.
Step 6: Invite your friends over to oooh and ahhh