A Beginner's Guide to Indoor Plants

One of Joanna Gaines' best tips is to add greenery throughout your home, to add a bit of whimsy and interest. I love the look that is accomplished by adding plants, they keep things pretty and filled with positive energy. If you aren't a person with a green thumb, so to speak, the thought of adding plants to your home may seem like a ton of work, not to mention a time commitment. We wanted to share some of our ideas for those of us who may be less inclined to have a gardener's heart...Okay, so maybe we have killed a few houseplants on accident! Here is our beginners guide to getting those beauties to stay alive and look gorgeous:

 Source: Barely There blog

Source: Barely There blog

-Head to your local nursery and find an expert: While some employees at home decor stores may have a few ideas for you, they may not be plant experts. You will want to find a true nursery to locate plant experts, and if you don't have any locally, try your local 4-H or horticulture branch (which you can find using Google). Ask them which plants are easiest to grow for a beginner, and which grow well in your climate. The Philedendron and Spider Plant are two easy ones that may be a good start. 

-Consider the temperature and humidity of where you want to put the plants: Most houseplants like humidity, and you can achieve this even if your home isn't very humid. Try grouping plants together, and misting them with a spray bottle. You can even add an electric humidifier and run it at night or when you're at work. Try to avoid places where the temperature swings wildly from one extreme to another, such as an attic or basement. 

 Source: NW Rugs

Source: NW Rugs

-How to water: When watering, be sure to place a run-off tray under your plants. Avoid filling decorative planters up with water, and "drowning" the plant in several inches of standing water. Don't water with freezing tap water, instead try to room temperature water to prevent "shock" to the roots and stems. Pay attention to the leaves drooping, or the soil becoming too wet, and you will eventually find a rhythm that works for you! If you forget to water at the frequency your plants need, try setting an alarm in your phone or calendar to remind you.

-Take care of them: Pluck off dead pieces and heads of the plants, and rotate them frequently so they can all get adequate light and air. Keep an eye out for harmful diseases by examining leaves and flower petals for dark spots and anything that looks off (like dark, sticky spots or large holes). Also be sure to choose pet-safe plants if you have furry friends that may chew on them or play near them.

With these tips, you will be on your way to becoming a successful houseplant parent! Want more gardening tips? 15 Best Houseplants For Beginners | Balcony Garden Web

A few Favorite Retailers for the Home

When it comes to shopping and sourcing items for my design projects, there's not really a single place where I find items. I work hard to find just the right chair, table or piece of art, and sometimes, that means hunting it down at a few different stores (or maybe a dozen! Ha!) I have made a list of some of my favorite home stores and retailers below. This post is not sponsored or endorsed by any of the brands below:

 Source: West Elm

Source: West Elm

-Pottery Barn: Always a classic, this store has both brick-and-mortar locations, as well as online inventory, which means you can find nearly everything you may need. Rather than purchasing their "entire room looks", I like to choose some larger, more dramatic pieces to accent design plans. They also have amazing light fixtures, throw blankets that hold up in the washing machine, and occasionally, really unique wooden furniture that you can't find anywhere else. Lastly, their duvet covers hold up incredibly well, for years and years, without shrinkage. 

-West Elm: If you want a lighting fixture or chandelier that will be a total showstopper and the center of your home, West Elm is the place for you. They have stunning lighting fixtures, although the price tags make them a true investment. Their sofa and sectional couches are also beautiful, not too trendy, and made to last for generations.

-Target: Yes, it's true! Not every item at Target is well-made, but for smaller items like the occasional throw pillow, faux plant, and anything from the Magnolia collection, it's a great option and very budget-friendly. Avoid furniture and large pieces, as they are often made of particle board and the paint chips off very quickly. 

 Source: West Elm

Source: West Elm

-Home Goods: If you have the time to dig through a bargain marketplace like Home Goods, you can find some treasures. When you're searching, look for quality fabrics and nice frames, artwork for children's rooms or places where you may want to change it up in a year or so, and smaller items like candles and vases. We have also found gorgeous faux trees and larger plants, such as faux Fig leaf trees in baskets for under $100. It takes some digging through the unorganized aisles to find the right items, but it's possible!

-Thrift vintage stores and yard sales: When you're on the hunt for something very specific, or something vintage or retro, thrift shops can be a goldmine. We suggest taking a full day to hit up larger thrift stores, and go with a specific list of what you're needing. Don't forget to measure your space beforehand, especially if you're trying to find large furniture items that need to be in an assigned room or area of the home. Bring along a tape measure and notebook, and never be afraid to haggle down prices if you're yard-saleing. Estate Sales can also be a great place for solid wood furniture and large armoires. 

If you keep an open mind, you can find gems for your space just about anywhere. You can even do it in a tight budget, if you're willing to put the time and effort in. 

How to Mix High End and Budget Items in Your Decor | Southern Oregon Design Blog

If you're an Instagram or Facebook user, you've surely run into the latest fashion bloggers; ladies who have learned to expertly pair budget friendly items with their high-end Gucci belts and Fendi bags. It's seriously an art form, and the concept applies to decor, as well. You can mix items from Target, with items from thrift stores, and luxury pieces from Anthropologie. Your home shouldn't reflect how much you spent on an item, it should reflect the things you love and the pieces that you find inspiring, no matter how much they cost. Here's a few pointers as you strive to mix splurge items with ones that are thrifted or from the bargain bin:

-Take good care of your furniture: Even if you have low-end pieces from Craigslist, giving them a proper dusting and cleaning and fixing up loose hardware can go a long ways. There are even dark markers and stain pens that can cover up dents and scratches for a low cost. When looking at thrifted pieces, look for solid wood with classic stylings that you can easily update with fresh hardware. In fact, Anthropologie has beautiful hardware that you can splurge on and make your thrift-store finds look more high end like these knobs.

 Source: Pulte Homes

Source: Pulte Homes

-Frame cheap art in nice frames: You don't have to spring for pricey pieces of art to improve the aesthetic of your home. You can purchase inexpensive pieces at Goodwill or Home Goods, and remove the wooden or plastic frame that they're in. You can re-frame them in a solid wood or luxe metal frame for a piece of art that looks way more polished. You can also use this theory for photographs, by framing them in really nice metal and wooden frames to create your own, personalized focal points in your home.

-If you splurge, splurge on the main pieces:  sturdy headboards and beautiful rugs can be staples that lasts for years and years, whereas candles, pillows, throw blankets, and wooden trays can be found at mass-market shops and swapped out seasonally or yearly. If you're planning to spend a large chunk of money on a dining table or couch, look for classic colors and neutral tones that won't go out of style very quickly. 

 Source: Home NBC

Source: Home NBC

-Remember that expensive doesn't equal perfect: Just because something has a hefty price tag doesn't mean its right for your house. You have to go with your gut, and pursue the things you love, even if that means it's free on the side of the road. Budget for what you love, and the pieces will work together because it's the look that you wanted and the one you worked hard on. 

-Choose items with purpose: When you design a room, think of the pieces you want to be in it, ahead of time. If you know you absolutely want a long console table, then search high and low to find it. You may find a treasure hiding at a flea market, or commission someone to make a custom piece for you, but you want to be sure it fits in your overall plan and idea for a room before adding it. If you shop without a purpose, you'll be more tempted to overspend your budget, and buy things you have no real place for. 

With these ideas in mind, you can begin integrating your thrifted finds alongside that piece you saved for, for years. Your design will always be a piece of who you are, so make sure it reflects that. 

Simple Tips to Keeping your Home Tidy

As a wife and mom, I can definitely assure you that my house is not always magazine-ready. It might look like I just sit back in my perfectly-decorated home (haha!!! As if!), but the truth is that our life is real, messy, and beautiful. We live here. It's where our story always starts. And that means my home isn't always ready for a photoshoot. But I have learned a few tips along the way, about keeping things tidy and organized. A peaceful home really brings joy to me and my family, and helps us keep clutter and chaos (mostly) at bay. Here's a few easy ways to keep up with the cleaning:

 Source: Stocksy

Source: Stocksy

-Everything has a place: If you're struggling with your little ones picking up their toys and keeping their things nice, try a visual system. You can print out little cards with the item on it (like a doll or stuffed animals) that you can attach to pretty, practical bins. Then, your children can easily see where things go, and can tidy up on their own. They will probably even think it's a game!

-Get rid of the things you don't need: The best tip I can give is that purging belongings really helps keep things streamlined. I toss old papers, artwork that isn't sentimental or special, school assignments, and old clothes. You can donate things like older dishes, clothes in good shape, and books. I love keeping sentimental items, but it can really fill up too much space and cause me to waste time cleaning up things that don't even need to be in our home. 

-Figure out a weekly system: Instead of doing a big task every day (like scrubbing bathrooms), I try to do one or two large tasks a week. For example, if I deep clean the kitchen and bathrooms once a week on a Monday, then I can just tidy things up and wipe down counters the other days of the week. It helps keep things from piling up and becoming overwhelming for our family.

-Invest in good cleaning products: I like to buy natural and organic cleaners, or use things like baking soda and vinegar to get my home clean without tons of harsh chemicals. I have also found that if I like the scent of the cleaner, it makes me feel better when I clean. I love the smell of essential oils like lavender, because they make the house feel cozy and welcoming, as well as clean. You can make your own cleaners with a tutorial like this one. I also make sure that I have a good mop, vacuum, and dustrags that are in working order and not too hard to use, because it saves time and effort. 

-Get some "hiding" baskets. If you have some catch-alls that you can easily hide some of the more clutter toys and clothing in, it will make picking up in a flash, a little bit easier. You can find large, attractive baskets at places like Home Goods, and stow them in closets or by bookshelves and toss everything in them when you need to stash away belongings for company. 

-Lastly, value your people. No clean house is worth stressing out, snapping at your loved ones, and creating an environment where your children are scared to touch anything! Remember that if you are truly making memories in a happy home, it's okay if it's not perfect. I've learned that sometimes there are dishes in the sink, but I get to bake cookies with my kids! And maybe every surface isn't clutter free, but there is artwork on the fridge, and fresh flowers on the counter. Treasure memories more than perfection. 

Hopefully these ideas helped you realize that not everyone is perfect (even an interior designer), and that doing the best you can is more important than having a home that is not truly lived in!

 

 

How to Make a Rental Feel like Home

When you’re renting, there is a feeling of your house not being quite yours. Whether you’re renting for a short time or for years, it’s never fun to feel like you’re always waiting for the next step. It can be even harder to make your rental property feel warm, cozy, and full of your personality. You want your rental to feel like home, and for it to feel like YOU and your family’s space to relax and unwind. Here are our best tips to making your rental space feel homey without losing your deposit or making changes that can’t be undone:

 Source: Apartment Therapy

Source: Apartment Therapy

-Peel and stick decals: These are awesome for infusing some design and inspiration into spaces like small bathrooms, kids rooms, or large blank walls, especially if you can’t paint. You can even do peel and stick backsplashes. Be sure to test out the adhesive and removal process, so that you don’t damage any paint when you move out of your rental. We also love things like little polka dots, name monograms, and simple, neutral patterns to give your blank walls a little panache!

-Utilize stand-alone shelves and furniture: If you are hesitant to nail things into the wall, try stand-alone shelves (ladder style ones), and over the toilet cupboards to increase your storage space, and give you the look of bookshelves and mantle shelves without the commitment and damage to the wall. We like the look of this one for small bathrooms. Aim for higher, taller pieces for more design impact in small apartments and townhomes, because they will draw the eye upward. 

-Mirrors and wall hangings: If you do decide to hang items on the walls, try using the 3M removable tape and hangers that come off without damage. Mirrors and large paintings can make a big impression, especially in small rooms that don’t have a lot of natural light or windows in them. Look for round or square mirrors in neutral colors, like distressed wood, white, and dark wood tones that will go with your decor even if you change color palettes.

-Add cozy elements: If you want to make your rental feel cozy on a budget, look for textured throw blankets, pretty pillows, and curtains. Look for curtains that are the proper length (ones that are too short or bunched up on the ground will draw the eye to that first and will look cheapy), and use neutral tones to make a small space look larger. We love places like HomeGoods and TJ Maxx for inexpensive items that look more high-end. 

 Source: Apartment Decorating

Source: Apartment Decorating

-Incorporate plants and fresh flowers: Purchasing fresh flowers is a great way to add a little life to your apartment or rental home, and also can add a pop of color. Faux plants in little pots are another way to get some greenery into your rental without the upkeep of real ones and the watering duties that come with them! If you have a patio or backyard area, large potted plants and trees (faux) can add a little more personality as well.

No matter where you call home, these tips can help your rental feel like the place you can’t wait to come home to!

Best of Target Decor under $50!

Springtime and summer is filled with extra expenses: camping, extra snacks, and sports camps, just to name a few. So when it comes to sprucing up little decor pieces around my house, I love to keep it budget-friendly in this season. As a mom, I think we all know how often we do a "Target run", so I wanted to highlight some of their very adorable and affordable pieces. They have a brand new line called Opal House, and of course, some awesome Magnolia inspired items. Ready? Let's go!

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Opal House is very trendy, and has a boho/Anthropologie vibe. Some pieces are a bit trendy and cheap looking for my personal style and taste, but there are some true gems in the collection as well. These cute mugs would make darling teacher gifts, and they look just like Anthro for only $6 per mug. We also love their serving dishes, which are all under $20, and have a boho summer feel that's perfect for hosting friends on your back porch.

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Hearth and Hand by Magnolia is a little more my speed, and I always have to zip by the aisles quickly, so everything doesn't land in my cart! Here are a few favorites: This steel punched tray is just $35 and it can go basically anywhere in your home! We think it'd look awesome on your dining table, or serving drinks on the patio. It'll also wipe clean and be useful year round because of the natural color. For your table or mantle, you'll also love this darling vase. The edged lip is classic and timeless. 

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When it comes to a versatile item, if you have $35, check out this adorable Threshold pillow with timeless ticking stripes. It's not made of outdoor fabric, but you could put it on a settee that's under cover in case of rain. We also think it looks great piled up with floor cushions around a fireplace, or on a bed that's a neutral palette. This white eyelet pillow has great texture, and of course, you know I love all things cream and white! I hope these ideas have given you inspiration on how to add some spring and summertime flair to your space without going over your budget or spending very much money!

Stay tuned to our blog for the best money-saving and inspiration tips!

The Beginner's Guide to Painting a Room

For some, the mere idea of painting a room strikes fear into their very heart. It conjures up visions of yards and yards of that infamous blue tape, and gallons of paint tipping over beautifully cleaned carpets on accident. Yes, we have all had painting mishaps, but it's not as overwhelming as it may sound. Here are some simple ways to get started when you are considering painting a room.

 Source: Becki Owens 

Source: Becki Owens 

  • Get your supplies (and double check them): There's not much worse than beginning an enormous project only to keep making trips to the hardware or paint store! Gathering them at the beginning helps immensely. Here's a shortlist of the items you need: paint (obviously!), paintbrushes and rollers, painters tape (get the brand name kind that peels off easily, such as Scotch blue), a small container for paint that you can easily hold (like a tupperware), paint trays, stirrer sticks, gloves, spackle material for any small holes, dropcloths (and regular, cheaper masking tape to affix them to the floor). We also recommend rags, paint remover, and paper towels, as well as a trash bag or can.
  • To calculate how much paint you may need, the general rule is 400 square feet per gallon. It is wise to get additional paint, in case you spill any, or you need more to cover a tough color like red. If you are using a very large amount of paint, it is recommended to mix two gallons together it in a 5 gallon bucket to prevent variances in color from being very obvious when you change buckets. 
  • Make sure you have adequate ventilation, including fans: Wear a mask if you need to, and be sure to open windows/doors to avoid breathing in paint fumes. Many paints these days are fume-free or low-odor, but you may still get a headache from being in a cramped area and painting. Work from the top down, so paint the ceiling first.
 Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

  • If you are up on a ladder, us a small bucket or container: Going up and down a ladder is certainly not a pleasant experience, and also wastes a ton of time. Pour your paint into a smaller bucket to do trim and more detailed painting, rather than walking around over and over. We recommend using a brush along trim and to "cut in" (the first strokes along the edges), and then swapping to a roller to cover more ground. 

For more tips, be sure to check out our post about choosing a paint color HERE!

5 Distressed Furniture Pieces you Need in your Home

One of the hallmarks of the farmhouse aesthetic is a rustic, vintage look. If you’re at all familiar with my blog, then you know that I absolutely love this aesthetic, and have for quite some time. I love the challenge of turning a modern home into a vintage farmhouse paradise, and in the years that I’ve spent transforming 21st century styles into rustic wonderlands I’ve realized that one of the easiest ways to give your home a quick dose of farmhouse is in distressed furniture. It’s the perfect addition to your budding rustic decor, and they’re either easy to find, or to make (figure out how to do that here). Here’s five that you need in your home!

 source: pinterest

source: pinterest

Chest of Drawers

You can find one in every home. They’re the backbone to clothing management, and they’re often one of the biggest pieces of furniture in a room. What’s great about their popularity is that you can find them being sold (or given away) just about anywhere. This is great for those who are looking for a distressed set because you’ll often come across them that way, requiring little effort on your part to make it just the way you want. You’ll find them in thrift stores and craigslist, or if you’d like a professional take on the distressed look, on websites like Hayneedle and Wayfair. The cheapest option will always be finding a set that’s seen some better days, and applying a bit of elbow grease to finish them up to your specifications.

Vintage Chandelier

Switching out your kitchen lights for a vintage chandelier can add a wonderful touch of farmhouse to your home while staying well within even the lowest budget. Thrift and antique stores are some of the best places to look for these, and they usually don’t require much of a hunt to find a great one. They’ll often be distressed metal, which is the perfect style for a farmhouse look. If you’re looking for a specific style, Etsy has a great selection, ranging from sculpted metal to rustic wood chandeliers, with some even utilizing unique styles like mason jars, or funnels! They’re great light fixtures to add some rustic character to your home.

 source: HGTV

source: HGTV

Distressed Dining Table

Families are bonded around the dinner table. It’s one of the most important pieces of furniture in your home, and if you’re just starting to create your farmhouse, it’s a great place to start from. Finding one in a thrift store won’t be as easy, but sites like craigslist often have ones that are already distressed, or are ready for your handiwork. This is a wonderful place to show off your creativity: you can get a matching set of table and chairs, or you can add a pop of color with painted chairs with that same distressed style. It all comes down to how you’d like it, and in the end, that’s always the best way.

 source: lizmarieblog

source: lizmarieblog

Rustic Hutch

What better way is there to display all of your vintage dishes and glasses? The hutch is one of the most popular pieces in homes of all styles, which means you’ll be able to find one that you fall in love with fairly simply. All of the above mentioned places - thrift stores, craigslist, etsy, etc. - will have numerous pieces with lots of character already in them. There are so many styles that really embody the farmhouse aesthetic, with wonderful carved wood and glass panes, which gives you full creative expression to choose one that fits the rest of your unique farmhouse decor.

Milk Paint

Alright, so this isn’t a furniture piece, but it’s key if you’re a DIY-minded creative who wants to make your own distressed and colorful style. This means you can transform any piece you find into a classic farmhouse staple, all from your own hands. If you’re new to milk paint, this is a great blog explaining what it is, how to get it, and some beautiful examples of what you can do with it. Milk paint really gives you the creative freedom to make your home your own.

Those are just a few of the many farmhouse pieces you can add to your home to make it warmer, and bring the whole family together. I hope it helps you make your farmhouse home truly yours!

Working with a Color Palette in Your Home

When creating a color palette for your home, there are many different aspects to consider. I wanted to share some ideas today, that will simplify the process. A color palette can be the starting point for all of your decorating decisions, and can really help hone in some of the big choices like furniture and wall colors. Here are some of my tips for searching for, and utilizing, a color palette:

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-Begin with your foundational pieces: Some items in your home, such as the outer color, cupboards, or carpets are already part of your home color scheme. If it is not ideal or affordable for you to renovate every piece of your home, you have to consider those items when putting together a color palette. Consider which items are not being replaced, and which items may be there for years to come. 

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-Build a tangible memory board: Sure, Pinterest is handy, but a regular poster board can actually be really fun to put together, and put ideas on. You can consider it your inspiration board, and can add clippings and paint swatches to it for ideas. You can also add carpet squares, or wood samples to a physical board, although it might be heavy. It can be a great poster to show your designer, if you go with a pro (like me! :)

-Decide if you want monochromatic or lots of different colors. I love the monochromatic look, and  if you know me, you know that clean whites, and warm creams are the stuff I go to most often. They make a room look larger, crisper, and more modern, while still warm. Harmonious colors are those that are close in the color wheel. These generally look very nice together. Complementary colors add a bit more contrast, and appear across from each other on the color wheel. Find more info about the color wheel HERE.

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De-Clutter and Simplify for Spring

When the blue skies come out...I head inside. Why? Well, I start spring cleaning! Now, for a busy working mom like myself, it's hard to find time to de-clutter, and it seems we have an influx of things always coming IN, rather than going out. But, I love the feeling of breathing a little easier and clearing out things we aren't using. Every spring, the urge to pare down our belongings and clutter comes on strong and I love the way it motivates me! Here are some of my best tips for clearing out the things you don't need, and giving yourself more room to be creative, feel more focused, and bring more peace to your home. After all, less stuff means less time spent stressing over, and cleaning, all the things. 

 Source: The Spruce

Source: The Spruce

Make three piles: I like to use laundry baskets for this, but you can also use something like large paper bags or wicker baskets. Label them TOSS, DONATE, and SELL. I tackle one room at a time, such as the kitchen, or a bedroom, and divide any clutter items into these three piles. Selling items on craigslist or Facebook takes quite a lot of time, so remember to be realistic, and don't save something to sell it, if you know you never will. Donation items should be in working order, and anything broken or yucky should go right into the trash pile.

Transport donations or sale items immediately: I've learned that the secret to really getting those piles out of my house, is to do it right away. Otherwise, they sit and I either change my mind, or end up moving the piles around the house. I use the same philosophy for yard sales: when things don't sell, we load them up right away to a donation spot, so we don't have to bring them back into the house. If you're looking for places to donate that aren't the typical Goodwill or salvation army, consider donating to a women's shelter or somewhere similar.

 Source: Man of Many

Source: Man of Many

Schedule time to de-clutter: Actually writing a day or time down on a calendar helps really ensure the job gets done. Find childcare if you need to, and block out a few hours to get uninterrupted progress made. Ideally, you could sort or toss things once a month, to make it more manageable, but every three months is also a good plan. I read in an article once that when you schedule an hour of cleaning, also schedule an hour of self care, because that is how you keep your house and your mind clear! I thought that was very wise advice!

 Source: Lopes Blog

Source: Lopes Blog

Do small tasks daily to stay ahead: Set aside 10 minute a day to deal with the day-to-day clutter. Sort through your kids' backpacks or school bags, toss junk mail, clean out your purse or work bag, and weed out things from the fridge. Just these simple things will keep your days running smoothly, and you'll feel more productive and less bogged down. 

 

Blissful Events

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Have you heard about the fires that raged through Napa Valley? It was one of the tragedies of 2017, alongside with all the other fire-ravaged areas in California. They left a trail of burnt landscape and scorched homes in its path, but the one of the biggest blows to the Napa Valley was to its reputation. This is so unfortunate, since I adore the wine country there. It’s one of the most gorgeous places on the planet, and it’s the perfect spot to have your dream wedding. And that’s the thing, these beautiful destinations were untouched by the fire, but all the news coverage painted a picture of a valley reduced to a wasteland. While it’s unfortunately true of some of the area, only 10 of the 1,200 wineries were destroyed or very damaged. Which means, Blissful Events is still open for business!

Samar of Blissful Events wedding planning is one of the sweetest and most industrious ladies I know. Her passion has been planning and putting on the most wonderful weddings in the Napa Valley, and it shows! After the fires, the wineries in the area have had to remind the rest of the world that they still exist, and that they still own some of the most wondrous landscapes known to man. Samar has been working on a campaign to raise awareness, and to bring back the popularity of winery weddings. She’s trying to restore that well-deserved attention of the wineries for their beautiful vineyards, country estates and stunning backdrops that all work hand in hand to perfectly mix a couple’s love for wine, food, and the prettiest locations.

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This is truly the dream wedding location. The lush and gorgeous vineyards remain untouched by the flames, and the estates are still so strong that it seems they’ll stand for centuries to come. A wine country wedding with Blissful Events is the foodie’s paradise: with the best produce in the country, your menu options are as vast as they are choice, and you’ll be able to choose each menu item and dessert. And of course, the wines will always hold up to their incredibly renowned quality. If you’re someone that loves to relax and enjoy what’s important, then letting Samar handle all the nitty gritty details is the perfect solution for you. She will let you really experience your wedding day, while she takes care of guest lists, budget management, timelines, and design planning for your big day. When you’re on cloud nine, she’ll remain down-to-earth handling it all.

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If you’re ready to start planning your dream wine country wedding, but are worried about their availability, worry no more. Blissful Events is your one-stop-shop for making those dreams come true, and they’ll never look better than in the Napa Valley area. I can’t recommend Samar higher. She’s truly a legend in her field, and she’ll treat your wedding as if it’s the most important event ever to happen - because it is! There are plenty of spots open for reservation for 2018 and 2019, but they’re being snatched up quickly. Contact Samar here to reserve your spot, and make your dream wedding a reality!

5 Easy Ways to Add Farmhouse Style to Your Home

The farmhouse aesthetic is my favorite thing. I’ve had some of the most fun in my life just thinking of ways I can make my home more and more rustic and homey, and so far, I’ve haven’t run out of ways to add more farmhouse into my home. Transforming my home into a more rustic and warm place to live has taken a long time, though, and it could end up being quite a commitment. Thankfully, there are many easy ways to bring a farmhouse style into your home, if you want to explore it a bit at a time. Here’s five to get you started:

Farmhouse artwork

 source: countryliving.com

source: countryliving.com

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of ushering in that farmhouse feel is picking up some artwork that really encapsulates the rustic aesthetic - which is easier than it sounds. It’s as easy as perusing some art websites for prints, or going down to your local art store and picking out a couple farm-inspired paintings to bring home. Anything that will accent your decor, and give it more of a rustic feel. It’s up to your personal taste, so pick out something that you really love!

Display your decorative plates

 source: pinterest

source: pinterest

Chances are, you already have what you need for this one. Maybe you inherited some nice dinnerware from your grandmother, and they’ve been lying around collecting dust ever since. The farmhouse style is all about vintage decorations, and your antique plates might be just perfect to bring that rustic feel into your home. Spend some time thinking about where best to showcase them, and plan out a nice pattern before you hang them up. Often, it’s the kitchen or the dining area where they fit best, and it’s sure to add that rustic and sentimental atmosphere you’re looking for.

Rustic cupboards/hutches

 source: pinterest

source: pinterest

This one might end up requiring a bit more effort from you, but the result is worth every minute. It’s so easy to find a nice, older cupboard or hutch on websites like craigslist or etsy, but it might need a bit of restoration to bring them back to life. Thankfully, the distressed look is what you’re wanting to get out of them, and you’ll get as much love out of them as you put into them. They can be the perfect piece to pull a room together, and set the mood for the whole floor. It might be the perfect project for you, and it’s one of the most useful ways to add farmhouse to your home.

 

Hang your pots and pans

Could it be as simple as this? It sure is! The farmhouse aesthetic is about your home looking lived in, and hanging up your cookware will not only accomplish this, but also serve to make your kitchen more efficient. Your cast-iron skillets will have never looked better, and it’ll help keep the that rustic flow consistent throughout your whole home, kitchen included.

Get a farm table

 source: countryliving.com

source: countryliving.com

This is one of my all-time favorite pieces of furniture in my home. Not only is it the epitome of what a farmhouse aesthetic is all about, but it’s a place where my family comes to share our lives over a meal. That’s what the rustic way of living is really trying to recapture, that lifestyle focused on slowing down to appreciate the things that really matter, like family and good food. Fortunately, it’s easy to track down a farm table, and as far as tables go, they’re durable and look fantastic. If you’re going to do one of the things on this list, do this.

The farmhouse style isn’t just about going back in time, it’s about bringing that olden time into today, and recapturing that lifestyle that we’ve seemed to have lost. It’s about slowing down and really appreciating what matters most, and for me, that’s family. I think you’ll see that once you start adding some of these rustic options in your home, you’ll start to appreciate what you love more and more.

Making Your Home a Haven of Self-Care

We know, life is stressful. Your home shouldn't be. But how do you curate a home that makes you walk in and immediately drop all your stress and burdens? That's what today's blog is all about. Here are five ways to help your home become the place you always want to be:

Diffuse essential oils: Even if you don't believe in the medicinal properties of essential oils, they smell delightful and can really lift your mood. We recommend lemon or lavender oils for a very relaxing feel. They are also less toxic than some candles, which may be great for those with asthma or who are sensitive to strong candle scents. 

 Source: Budget Decorator 

Source: Budget Decorator 

Mix up textures: We like the idea of mixing up textures in your living spaces, especially with pillows and throws. It's no secret that we love a good throw blanket, because they add instant coziness to a space. Plus, little ones love making forts or beds with them, and they're great for curling up with a good book or a movie! If you need a new throw, try this affordable, machine washable twin blanket from Target. It's bigger than a traditional blanket and extra warm. It comes in plenty of pretty neutral colors.

Get some fresh magazines and books to read: In the digital age, it can be hard to step away from your phone and laptop, but a good book can be just the ticket. Check out Oprah's book club for some great reads that will keep you inspired and expand your mind. A magazine like Real Simple or Southern Living is a relaxing read for a long bath, and you don't have to be too worried if the pages slip into the bathwater!

 Source: Craftatholics 

Source: Craftatholics 

Try a bath bomb: The bath bombs from LUSH are our absolute favorites. They are cruelty free and made with organic ingredients that are good for your skin. They are definitely a pricey luxury, but you will love the way they instantly relax your muscles and make you feel capable of handling anything that comes your way!

Change out your photos: Studies show looking at photos can improve our mood and make us feel more energized! Swap out old photos in the frames and shelves in your home for newer memories, and make your home a place where your family can always look around and feel loved! Order fresh canvases or framed prints for photos that have been languishing in drawers or on your computer or smartphone...they will definitely make your home feel more personal and relaxing!

Simple and Easy Valentine's Day Decor Tips

Valentine’s Day is coming up fast, and love is already in the air… but is it in your home? Sometimes, decorating for holidays can be stressful, since we feel like we need to change up our whole house to meet the standard. But there’s no need to be extravagant unless you’re in an extravagant mood, and you can create a wonderful atmosphere in your home with simple accents and additions in your decor. All of this applies very well to Valentine’s Day, as it just takes a pop of pastel pink here and a bouquet over there to make the whole house more romantic! Here’s a few easy ways to celebrate this holiday in your decor:

 source: freshome

source: freshome

•Splurge on a fresh bouquet

Faux flowers are timeless - at least, when it comes to their shelf life. But for such a holiday as this, it’s not just about the look, it’s about the atmosphere itself, and a bouquet’s wonderful fragrance is a big part of that. Visit your local florist and spend a little extra just for the smell of it. The pops of color in your kitchen or on the coffee table will lighten up the whole room and get everyone more excited for the special day!

 

•Pillows are the perfect festive accent

Speaking of pops of color, pillows are great for shifting the mood of a room from everyday to holiday. They’re small, light, easily throwable, and they fit just about anywhere, which leaves a lot of creativity available to you. Mix and match shapes and colors by picking out some heart pillows to go with the regular squares, and create a palette in your living room by playing around with the Valentine’s color spectrum.

 

 source: stylemepretty

source: stylemepretty

•Light up the room with colored candles

There’s something so romantic about a candlelight dinner. The dim light, the intimate conversation, and the gourmet food that’s become the holistic Valentine’s dining experience is one of the most wonderful ways to spend the holiday, no doubt. But you can bring that whole experience home with you if you want to skip the crowds, and you can start with the candles. Even in the bright light of day, rose petal pink candles can give off a festive shine to any room in your home. Take it easy this year and recreate that intimate atmosphere, from the candles up.

 

•Say ‘I love you’ with a lovely banner

There’s something truly wonderful about being able to hold the proof of your special one’s love in your hands, or to see it on display. Stringing up a banner that does just that not only lifts the mood, but is a wonderful accent piece to your Valentine’s decor. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like the phrase itself hung across your mantle! Keep the conversation going by hanging up a few banners across the house, and the romantic atmosphere will follow.

Keep things simple this Valentine’s Day by focusing on the accents instead of a whole room makeover. Trust me, you don’t need the stress! Keep the focus on your loved ones, and really make them feel truly loved on this special day.

Hearth and Hand with Magnolia: Home Decor

Happy new year! Even though it’s only been a little over a week into 2018, it’s been a great year so far. So many people are making new resolutions to live a better life in this new year, and I’m no stranger to it. Whether it’s resolving to exercise more, or to completely change up the decor in your home, a change can be nice. One of the changes that I love to make is putting up some of Target’s Hearth and Hand collection decor, made in collaboration with Magnolia. The whole line is full of some of the most wonderful pieces you’ll find, and they’re very affordable.

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Case in point, this lovely eucalyptus wreath! I love to fit my decor advice into the farmhouse aesthetic, and this wreath would be great for it. Now that we’re nearing the tail end of winter, it’s about time to start thinking about spring decorations, and this wreath is a wonderful transition between the two seasons. Hang it on the front door if your color scheme allows, or hang it indoors to bring a little green in to help liven things up. 

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While it’s winter, it can be tough to get fresh flowers that last. Thankfully, Hearth and Hand has quite the catalog of flower bundles, fillers, and stems that will last well past the first crocuses of spring start to bloom. And these decorations look so nice, you may just want to skip the fresh flowers entirely this year, if you wouldn’t miss the scent so much. There are astilbe flower bundles in pink and white, eucalyptus stems, or even succulent stems, and vases are easily accessible and easy to order along with any bundles you may choose.

One of the things I love most about the farmhouse style is all of the little accessories and trinkets that add to the whole rustic atmosphere. Like this wood and wire tray, any sort of wood accents you can sprinkle in will add a lot to the whole feel of your home. Metal accents like this galvanized storage bin will add more of a country feel to your decor, or a woven poplar basket will help tie the whole room together. Building a themed decor requires that you think about all the little things just as much as the big, and Hearth and Hand makes this easy!

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Resolutions can be difficult to keep. Anything that helps us along the way is a valuable asset, and if you’re redecorating for spring, then this is one of the best ways to do so. The whole line is huge, and everything I mentioned doesn’t even scratch its surface. There’s no shame in taking the easy route - if you’re wanting a change, this is the best one to make! 

Warming up your Decor

 photo: timelesswroughtiron.com

photo: timelesswroughtiron.com

Like clockwork, December’s rolled around again, and with it came the bitter cold. I don’t know about you, but I love the snow, and the whole season! One of my favorite things is a landscape covered in a perfect blanket of snow. But I can only handle the cold for so long, until I have to retreat back indoors to warm up by the fire. During the winter months, our homes become our heated safe havens, but heating them can be incredibly expensive. Instead of turning up the thermostat, I like to use some of these inexpensive but warming decor styles to help me deal with the cold.

Farmhouse decor has this style integrated very well. Every time I walk into a house boasting the style, I feel so warmed, surrounded by the woodsy interiors and the rustic color schemes. The style has been making a comeback for a while, but its roots are in the rustic cabins and lodges out in the woods, and those that built them knew just what they needed to shield themselves from the cold. Today, we’re not in a fight against the cold as much as a century or so ago, but we can take some cues from their decor and translate that into modern style. The most obvious one is wood itself! It has an insulating effect, keeping in the heat, and the woodsy look has an ambient effect that just warms you up from the inside out.

 photo: havenly.com

photo: havenly.com

One of my go-to’s when the snow starts to fall is an age old solution: a warm blanket. Turns out, just the sight of an afghan or a knit has a warming effect in the home, cozying up the whole room. Spread around a bunch of cozy blankets to warm up your decor instantly, and having a knit close by means you never have to be chilly again. Pair it with a nice reading lamp and a comfy chair in your favorite corner, and you have the coziest place to snuggle up with a good book. Work on the whole room by layering fuzzy or warming rugs, if you have a hardwood floor, and use pillows to lighten up the room and give it a very inviting, snuggly feel.

 photo: havenly.com

photo: havenly.com

Leather is another one of those farmhouse staples. Back in the day, it was entirely practical to furnish your home with natural leathers, as farms were often self-sufficient and used every part of an animal. Today, there’s many options for those who have qualms with leather, and you can still get that heart-warming look no matter what you go with. A leather furnishing inherently has a sense of character to it, and that brightens up any spot it’s put in. Pair the rich color of the leather with a cooler gray or neutral palette, and you get a great mix that’ll warm you to the core. It’s easy to use some pops of green to really pull it all together, if you like having plants around the house. If you like a more southern rustic theme, use some cactus or desert flora to really sell the mood.

Lastly, take a look at how your home is lit. If you have access to a lot of natural light, either through your windows or through a skylight, utilize it! Light, of course, is naturally warming, so keep those curtains open during the day to heat up your house for free. Also, take a close look at your windows to make sure no air is escaping through them. You want to be able to retain as much heat as possible, and it’s no good if all of it is being sucked out from cracks in your window frame or a door draft. You wouldn’t expect it, but you can really feel the difference when you make sure your home is leak-proof. If you don’t have a lot of natural light, use some warming, brighter light fixtures, and make use of candles. Not only will your home smell great if you use them, but you’ll feel cozier just gazing at the flicker from across the room.

The winter season is one of my favorites. Snuggling up with my family around the fire is one of my favorite pastimes, it makes my heart so warm. Coming in from the snow when your whole home is full of cozying decor makes life so much easier, and adventuring out in a frozen wonderland much more enjoyable. Here’s to snow outside and warmth inside!

Holiday Baking with Peggy Porschen

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You may remember me writing about my favorite bakery, right in the heart of London. I wrote about it in THIS POST about Europe, and her amazing confections always make me festive around the holidays! I dream of being as incredible as her in the decorating/baking department, and each year, I love making these delicious cookies with my children. Baking holds special memories for me, and I hope it also creates new ones for my girls! (All images via Peggy Porschen website, 2017)

Sugar cookie recipe
via Peggy Proschen's cookbook, "Cookies"

Makes about 25 medium-sized or 12 large cookies

  • 200g unsalted soft butter 
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten 
  • 400g plain flour, plus more for dusting

Optional flavours

  • For vanilla cookies, add seeds from 1 vanilla pod 
  • For lemon cookies, add finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • For orange cookies, add finely grated zest of 1 orange 
  • For chocolate cookies, replace 50g of the plain flour with 50g cocoa powder
  1. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and chosen flavouring until well mixed and just becoming creamy in texture. Don’t overwork, or the cookies will spread during baking.
  2. Beat in the egg until well combined. Add the flour and mix on low speed until a dough forms. Gather it into a ball, wrap it in cling film and chill it for at least 1 hour.
  3. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it briefly. Using marzipan spacers, roll it out to an even thickness.
  4. Use cookie cutters to cut out the desired shapes and, using a palette knife, lay these on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Chill again for about 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 180C/160Cfan/350F/gas 4.
  5. Bake for 6–10 minutes, depending on size, until golden brown at the edges. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Wrapped in foil or cling film, they will keep well in a cool dry place for up to a month.

Tip Always bake equally sized cookies together to make sure they cook in the same time. If you mix different sizes, the smaller ones are already cooked when the larger ones are still raw in the middle.

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Royal Icing Recipe via Peggy Porschen's
"Pretty Party Cakes" cookbook

  • 25g merriwhite (dried egg white powder)
  • 1kg icing sugar, sifted

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Equipment
  • Sieve

Kitchen Aid / electric mixer
spoon
sealable plastic container
j-cloth
Method

Mix the merriwhite with 150ml water and pass through a sieve to get rid of any lumps.
Place the icing sugar in the clean bowl of an electric mixer, add about three-quarters of the merriwhite mixture and the lemon juice, and start mixing on low speed.
Once the sugar and the merriwhite are well combined, check the consistency. If the sides of the bowl still look dry and crumbly, add some more merriwhite until the icing looks almost smooth but not wet.
Keep mixing for about 4-5 minutes, until it has reached stiff-peak consistency.
Spoon into a plastic container, cover with a clean damp j-cloth and the lid. Store at room temperature.
Royal Icing Consistencies

Simply thin down your basic royal icing with water, a little bit at a time, mixing with a palette knife, until you have the right consistency. Keep your icing covered with cling film or a damp cloth when not using it, to stop it from drying out.

Stiff-peak consistency: for piping sugar flowers and leaves
Soft-peak consistency: for piping lines, dots and borders
Runny consistency: for filling in the centres of spaces

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Decorating for Thanksgiving

Decorating for Thanksgiving

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I can smell it now: the pumpkin pie cooling on the windowsill, the marshmallow topping melting over the tender yams, and the glorious turkey (or ham) sizzling in the oven, filling up your kitchen with the best of scents. It’s one of my favorite times of year, and I can’t wait until get to put up my decorations every year! There’s so many great ideas for sprucing up your home with autumn’s charm, but I’ll start you off with a couple of my favorite picks.

The first place you think of when thanksgiving runs across your mind is the dinner table. The whole holiday takes place around it! It’s always a challenge preparing the feast you eat off it, let alone sorting through the difficulties that come in deciding how to decorate it! But once you decide on a general theme, everything falls into place. For example, pumpkins never fail to bring the fruits of fall into your dining room, and to break from the mold you can use white pumpkins to foster a softer atmosphere, and paired with some candles, white flowers, and other accent pieces that fit your theme, you get an all around cleaner look. 

Or, focus on rounds of wood for your place settings and surround them with greenery for a rustic, earthy style. If you’re not as much into wood slices, you can get the same farmhouse look with rope coil charges, and they’re not hard to make yourself! For the plates themselves, follow your color palette and either fold your napkins into a festive shape, or use them as an accent to the rest of the table. Use bits of greenery, like a sprig of sage on your plate setting as a garnish of sorts. While it’s not much on its own, it’s the small things that really pull a style together.

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One thing you want to avoid is a busy table, though. The only thing you want overwhelming your guests is the sense of awe they get from staring at your beautiful table full of wonderful food, right before they dig in. Holidays are my favorite times of the year, and they’re one of those few moments in life where you can really make something your own. You can spend forever thinking about all the different trends and styles going around these days, but it’s important to remember to do what you like to do, since it’s your own home, after all. So take some of these ideas, put in some of your own, and make this thanksgiving one for the photo album!

How to Choose the Perfect Farmhouse Paint

If you know me, you know that I keep moving all day long. From planning our meals, to taking my girls to and from activities, work, or date-night with my husband, I so often seem to come home exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, I love to stay active! But some days I need to just come home and relax. That’s why I love the farmhouse aesthetic. When I walk into my living room, it’s like walking through a time machine to a simpler time. It’s a calming nostalgia that instantly relaxes me.

It takes a beautiful pairing of muted, natural colors and rustic furniture style to achieve this restful, cozy feel, but with some planning it’s becomes an easy process! The pros use paint that costs upwards of sixty dollars a gallon, but you don’t need an expensive hue to look professional!

Here are a few colors that will transform your home without breaking your bank.

Off-white: I love the dining room above! The modern furniture perfectly compliments the rustic architecture, and the off-white tone pulls the room together beautifully. Just look out for the undertones, otherwise you can end up with a white that has a darker hue than you’d like. There are many variants of whites - like Cottage White or Simply White - that won’t run up the bill, and each have that unmistakable farmhouse charm. I can just imagine the delicious smell of a homemade apple pie fresh from the oven on that table!

Comfort Grey: Above is a beautiful example of a farmhouse grey. This grey goes perfectly with the brilliant white furniture, a staple of the modern rustic style. While more expensive than a gallon of off-white, it immediately creates a soft, cozy atmosphere where you can snuggle up on the couch to enjoy some herbal tea and a good book.

Svelte Sage: If you need a pop of color, this fantastic green will look wonderful paired with a white trim, as in this photo, and black or brown accents against the wall tie it together neatly - and professionally - and makes you feel as if you’ve just come in from tending your peach orchard. This cool, calming green instantly soothes me when I see it.

 Source: Magnolia Home

Source: Magnolia Home

If you need a bit more of a relaxing atmosphere in your home, natural farmhouse colors are your best bet! Not only does it have that fixer-upper feel to it, it has that down-to-earth quality that always seems to slow down life, even if it is just relaxed at home. But that’s where we need that most, isn’t it?

Creating More Space in Your Home

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If you walk into your house after work and find yourself experiencing a strong sense of claustrophobia, it may be time to de-clutter. Your house is your respite away from all the stresses and pressures of life, a place to unwind yourself after your day’s wound you all up. Here’s a few tips to reclaim the calm in your home:

Get Rid of All of Your Stuff

Okay, so maybe you don’t have to get rid of everything, but another honest look at all the things you own, and whether they're really necessary or beneficial in your life would be a good place to start. As we’ve all heard time and time again, there’s a big difference between want and need. Often, it’s the things that we actually use day after day that are necessities, and most of the stuff we have we hold onto because we spent money on it once, and just can’t part with it. Maybe we bought something we don’t need, and that’s fine. Everyone does that, trust me. Or maybe you purchased something you needed for a while, but now it just sits around and collects dust. If you’re like me, you don’t like to see things go to waste. So rejoice with me that there’s so many options for giving things away to people who actually need them, or in repurposing stuff that can’t really do any good by itself. If you want to avoid the hassle of a yard sale, or if you’re living rural, then look around a bit on the internet or ask some friends where you can donate your clothes, your furniture, or anything else that you don’t use anymore that you think someone else could use.

Stock up on Baskets

There’s an awesome trend going on that involves wicker baskets. Lots of wicker baskets. What’s awesome about it is wicker baskets look great, and come in tons of shapes and sizes to suit your style and storage needs. Of course, if you’re not much of a basket person, there’s other options. For example, you could get (or make!) a couple of fabric covered boxes to use. There’s as many styles as there is of fabric, and they usually go for a good price. You can always mix and match, depending on your decor. If you get your hands on some cubby shelves, the decorative boxes can be just the pop of color you need in your home. Wicker could be just the accent to your room to give it a more rustic, or a more personable feel. You never realize the power a box or a basket could have over you until you change the mood of an entire room with it. HERE’s a great guide to wicker baskets; and HERE’s a great guide to your own DIY decorative boxes.

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Get Multi-Purpose Furniture

It’s not just the cabinets, or the closets, or the dressers that should have all the fun of storing things. The whole idea of multi-purpose furniture is taking something that’s known for one use - say, a couch - and redefining it into something that can accomplish many things at once, while still retaining its original purpose. Minimalism is trendy lately, and I think it’s one of the best trends to come around. Or, really, come back around. It’s an age old practice, and one that brings a lot of calm and restfulness into your home, due to all the open spaces and organization. There’s so many different styles and types of multi-purpose furniture to choose from, and a lot of them are very well made and look fantastic. They’re valuable, so the price tag may go up, but remember that what you’re getting is essentially two or three pieces of furniture in one. It may just come out to be quite the deal. And you’ll feel better about conserving the space, too.

Hopefully this small list has helped you in some way. I know for me, de-cluttering has helped me unwind much easier, and it’s been so nice to be able to come home and start to relax the moment I walk in the door. Even on days spent indoors I feel more peaceful seeing everything organized and spacious. It makes me happy, and what’s better than that?