Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year.

So 2013 hasn't been the best year for me and blogging, but it has been a great year otherwise.  We are settled in our new home and are so pleased with how things have turned out (check out the powder room and formal living room).  This past year, we battled Riley's health issues for the first several months, but are thrilled he is back to his old sweet, snuggling, silly self.  And last but not least, Justin recently started a new job.  He wasn't looking to leave his old job, but a recruiter contacted him about an offer he couldn't refuse.  Although his new longer commute is no fun, he loves the new place.  I'm so proud of him for being such a baller!         

I hope you have had a wonderful 2013.  I'm looking forward to an even better 2014!  

(photo: lilyandval on etsy)

Happy New Year!  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Winter Beauty Faves.

Living in Texas hardly qualifies me to speak on harsh winters, but it's been cold down here (at least for this Texas girl).  My skin is used to the 100% humidity we normally have, so when it's cold and dry this time of year, I need some extra hydration.  I find myself reaching for these 6 products on the reg during the winter:

1.  Avene moisture mask:  I don't know why, but sometimes I just like the idea of using a mask.  I can get some redness on my face (and the winter certainly makes it worse), and this moisture mask always soothes and calms down my skin.  It has a light smell to it, which is delightful (and I'm sensitive to smells).  It's not greasy at all, and most of the time, I don't even wipe it off.  I highly recommend this.      

2.  Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil:  I picked a bottle of this up our last trip to Paris and am so glad I did.  It's a light oil you mist on.  I love using it right after I shave my legs.  It absorbs so quickly and has a nice scent.  It also leaves a nice sheen, but doesn't feel greasy at all.  I actually use this during the summer too since it's so light, while still moisturizing.  You can also use it in your hair or as a bath oil.

3.  La Mer moisturizing cream:  I use this every morning under my eyes year round, but find myself applying it all over my face during the winter.  It really is one of the few things that makes my dry flaky skin disappear.  It's expensive, but a small jar lasts forever.    

4.  Jack Black lip balm:  I'm a lip balm addict.  I have tubes of this in all my bags, all around the house, and in my desk at work.  This isn't going to give you any shine, but it's the most hydrating lip balm I've ever tried.  I put it on every night before bed, and when I wake up, I can feel that it's still on and working.  I've made the mistake of applying other lip balms at night and always wake up with dry lips.  Bonus:  it comes in tons of awesome "flavors."  I haven't tried one I didn't love.

5.  Trader Joe's lotion:  The first time I tried this, I used some of my friend's when we were out in California.  (Hi, Lauren!)  This body lotion is rich, but not overly heavy.  I like how it doesn't have a scent to it.  And it contains aloe, which helps soothe any irritated dry patches.  The best part about it is the price -- it's dirt cheap!  I would have to stock up when we were out in Cali since we didn't have a TJ's, but now that we have one, I can buy it whenever I need it!

6.  Sugar lip tint:  I told you I'm a lip balm junkie.  This lip balm is the perfect combination of moisturizing while also providing some color.  It's not at all sticky and just makes your lips feel soft.  This is my go to at work -- it sits on my desk and I apply it throughout the day.  It's great because I don't need a mirror when I put it on, but it provides a little color.  I like the plum tint, but there's a bunch of others (and a clear) that are also awesome.

Anything I should add to my must-try list?  And in case you need an idea, either of the lip balms would make the perfect stocking-stuffer!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Guest Bathrooms - Initial Thoughts.

We've decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and redo our upstairs bathrooms.  One of them is off the guest room, and the other is a jack-and-jill bath between two other bedrooms.  Neither one of them is totally offensive, but they certainly lack any style.  It also really bothers Justin that they used wall tile on the floor.  I likely would have never noticed, but I could see how someone could go slipping and sliding on them, if they weren't careful.

Since they are secondary bathrooms, I really want to keep the look neutral and timeless (and budget-friendly).  Based on the images I've been pinning, it's obvious I have a strong preference -- I am heavily leaning towards mostly white bathrooms bathed (no pun intended) in white subway tile.

I can't decide whether or not I like the look of the tile on the ceiling -- I've been waffling.  I do for sure like the look of the dark grout on the floor.

Bringing in a few hints of black could help break up the white.  I like the simple thin black trim in the shower here.  I'm not a huge fan of the dark fixtures -- seems a touch heavy for me, but some polished nickel would do the trick.

This bathroom still has the subway tile, but I am digging the dark floor and dark gray vanity.  (Maybe we do something like this in the guest bathroom; and something more along the lines of the others in the jack-and-jill?)

This shower a great way to keep an all white tile space interesting -- use different sizes of tile with some well-placed trim pieces.  I am really loving this look (and the fixture is fabulous too).

Speaking of fabulous fixtures, this bathroom is amazing.  White, black and brass -- yes, please!  Of course, our guest showers aren't that luxurious, but maybe we could do something similar.  I absolutely love this look.

We were supposed to go check out various tile options this past weekend, but poor Justin ended up with a stomach virus Friday night (complete with a trip to the ER for IV fluids).  We first thought it was food poisoning, but it was definitely a stomach virus because I caught it Sunday night.  I also ended up with my own trip to the ER.  Thankfully, Justin and I are both on the mend.  
But back to the guest bathrooms . . . Part of me thinks I should branch out from the white subway tiles since it's in our master shower and our kitchen backsplash, but it works so darn well.  I hate to mix up what I already know I like.  What do you think?  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Home Tour: Formal Living Room.

First up on the post-renovations home tour, I showed you our powder room.  Next up is the formal living room.  I also refer to this room as the "sitting room" because I tend to refer to our main TV room as the living room.  Regardless of what you call it, this room is currently my favorite room in the house for any number of reasons.

Just to set the stage here, when you are in the entry way, this room is directly to your right and the formal dining is to your left.  Since it's one of the very first things guests see when they come in, I wanted the room to make a statement.  I decided early on that I wanted to stretch my comfort zone a bit and go bold in this room.

This is a picture of the room from the real estate listing.  It may be bold in its own right for different reasons.  (Obviously, we have slightly different taste than the previous owners.)

We started with a blank slate (well, a yellow slate actually).  And here's how the room looks today.

One of the reasons why I love this room so much is because it came together so easily.  I didn't really have a vision for the room when I started (besides bold choices and mixed prints), which is different than I how normally decorate.  But for whatever reason, my lack of a plan totally worked in this room.

I knew right away I wanted jewel tones in the room.  Every time I considered something else, my mind went back to jewel tones.  Then one day, Justin and I were at High Fashion Home and they had furniture displayed in various mock-up rooms.  One of the rooms was fabulous with a deep teal color, and as soon as I saw it, I knew that was the perfect color for the space.  Thankfully, the employee knew what color it was (Benjamin Moore Stained Glass).  And that's how the wall color was chosen!

We had the Ethan Allen chairs that were in our old living room recovered in a neutral linen.  Since the walls are darker, I wanted the main furniture pieces to be lighter.  You can't tell from the pictures, but the chairs have a subtle pattern on them and tie in nicely with the couch, which is from Macy's.  I may recover the vintage ottomans (a craigslist find) at some point, but I am currently digging the rose pink.  I am also considering painting the lamps (a Homegoods find) that are sitting on the end tables (another craigslist find, blogged about here), but haven't been able to commit to a color quite yet.  In the meantime, the tan color is working just fine.  And see that awesome vintage brass pharmacy lamp?  I got 3 of them on craigslist for $25 total -- yes, all 3 for $25!  

The "brass" shelves are an Ikea hack that made its way around the blog world (i.e. the Vittsjo shelves spray painted gold).  It's probably not a great solution for something that's getting a lot of use, but these serve only one purpose: to look pretty.

The shelves hold all kinds of goodies.  Some highlights are my grandfather's books; Justin's grandfather's books; an antique print from a Paris trip; some other vintage finds, and of course, some Target gems.

It took us three tries, but we finally nailed the rug.  Surprisingly, this was really the only element in the room Justin had a strong opinion on.  He was definitely on board with the leopard, but he was pretty picky with the look of the leopard print.  Thankfully, he has excellent taste, and we found a carpet that we both loved and had them cut it to specific dimensions for the room.  It totally makes the room.

While I was taking pictures of the room, my two favorite helpers/modelers were assisting.

When we moved in, this room had no overhead lighting.  We added 4 recessed lights and a center fixture by Visual Comfort, which I have loved for a long time.  The overhead lighting makes such a huge difference in the space.

So, I think that's about it.  Did I miss anything?  One thing is for dang sure . . . this room has come along way from the floral couches it started with!  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Blueprint Surprise.

The realtor who sold us our home stopped by today to drop off a little surprise.  The previous (and original) owners found the original blueprints for the house and sent them to their realtor to give to us!  How nice of them to think to send them along for us to enjoy.  And the timing is ironic because we closed on our house almost exactly one year ago today. 

Of course, we've loved looking the plans and seeing the minor changes that they made between the blueprints vs. what was actually built.  I should really take better photos so you get a feel for the actual layout, but the point isn't the actual floorplan, but just that we have the blueprints!

Here's the first floor.  To get you oriented, the front door is on the right-hand side of the photo a little more than halfway down.   The formal living room (to the right of the front door as you walk in) was slated to have a tray ceiling, but for some reason that never happened (and no overhead lighting was ever installed either!).  The lack of lighting situation has since been remedied.    

This next one is the second floor.  With the 100+ degree temperatures we've been having the past few days, I really wish they actually installed the ceiling fan in the gameroom, rather than the hideous boob light they picked instead.  And it looks like the previous owners decided to add in built-ins to the fifth bedroom (and the plans don't mention anything about the wood paneling in that room either).  All very interesting.  Well, at least to us! 

And this is the landscape design for the house (in both the front and the back).  Evidently, there were 2 phases of the landscaping.  They were going to install an awesome covered porch with ceiling fans in "phase 2," but I guess they stopped after phase 1.  It's a total bummer because we've always talked about how awesome having a covered area in our backyard would be, but at least we can see where they thought about putting it (and get some idea for what the landscaping looked like when the house was first built).  We're total suckers for historical information like that.     

So kind of an amazing, totally unexpected one year house anniversary present, right?  

And thanks for your comments on the powder room.  I will be sharing our formal living room next week.  Spoiler alert: the formal living room may be my favorite room in the house. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Home Tour: Powder Room.

Yikes.  It's been a while (thanks for your frequent reminders, mom and Ellen).  But let's ignore that and focus instead on the fact that I am finally getting around to showing you our powder room.  Who doesn't love a good before and after?

Basically, the before was a massive snooze-fest.  Complete with a bad brass and chrome faucet, a claw-like light fixture, pale yellow walls, two toilet paper holders (why?), and a toilet and sink that were undersized.  Needless to say, this room didn't do anything for us and needed some major help.   


And here's the after!  Bye bye snooze fest, hello gorgeous (if I do say so myself). 

Absolutely nothing from the old powder room stayed.  I'm all for re-using what we could, but in here, there was nothing worth even working with.  I knew right off the bat I wanted to do some bold wallpaper in this room.  If you can't be bold in the powder room, where can you?    

And for some detail shots . . .

My mom bought this vintage mirror and it was exactly what I was looking for.  She was sweet enough to let me have it for the space.  I love the detailing on the frame and the contrast the dark frame provides in the space. 

The light fixture proved to be more difficult than I thought it should have been.  Probably because I kept envisioning sconces in the space (that wouldn't fit) or a chandelier (which would require us to re-wire).  I also wanted to add a touch of brass in this room via the light, but wanted to keep it simple.  At the end of the day (and lots of searching), this fixture fit the bill. 

I struggled with what to put on the walls for two reasons:  (1) I didn't want anything to compete with the wallpaper; and (2) I was scared to put a hole in the beautiful paper.  I'm happy with my choice to go with simple black frame (that works with the mirror), which has a large white mat to provide some separation between the picture and the wallpaper (and only required 1 tiny hole).  Win, win, win!  The picture itself is one we took of a street in Paris right by one of the hotels we stayed in.    

As a bonus, here's a before shot of the hall that leads to the laundry room and garage with the powder room off of it (the door on the right). 

And here's the after.   You can't tell from the photos, but the wood floor and the handrail were all stained a darker, richer color.  And we replace the ceramic tile in the powder room with some fun black and white mosaic tile.  We still need to paint the laundry room, but that's a subject for a different post.

Oh!  And we added the chandelier in the hallway.  I mean, why not?  Since we didn't want to redo the electrical to put it in the powder room, we did the next best thing . . . we put it right outside the door.  It's actually perfect there.  I love the way it totally glams up the hallway.  Some things just work out.  (In case anyone's curious, the wall color is Benjamin Moore Silver Chain.)

If it's something that would be helpful, I will do a post with the sources.  So what do you think?  Much better, right?        

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Long Time, No Talk.


Obviously I haven't been the best blogger.  And you know what, I'm ok with that.  I've had a bunch of things going on at home and work that have kept me from blogging.  So rather than spreading myself thinner than I already was, I made the decision to forgo blogging.

On the work front, we moved offices, which has been crazy.  And oddly enough, they still expect you to work while you clean out/pack/unpack!  You don't realize how much crap you accumulate over the years, but it's nice to get a fresh start at getting organized and sprucing up my office a bit.  And I'm digging my new view . . .  

And on the opposite wall, I put one of these beauties in my office.  The larger one is in my office and the smaller one is at home.  I don't have the greenest of thumbs, so I'm hoping I can keep these fiddle leaf figs alive.    

On the home front, we are hosting my firm's summer associate welcome party at our house this month, which means we've been busy trying to get everything in order around here.  There's nothing that motivates you to get things done faster than the thought of 35+ attorneys from work coming over! It's good news and bad news -- there's been lots of progress around here, but we are super busy, I haven't had time to document all the changes.  But as soon as the party is over, you better believe I will be sharing all of our hard work (can I just say I am totally loving our formal sitting room?). 

Hope all has been well! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

New Door Hardware.

It's not only a Monday, but the Monday after the time-change.  Such a double whammy!  Regardless, happy Monday!  

We had a fun-filled weekend installing some new door hardware around the house.  To be fair, I installed the easy ones and Justin was in charge of the more complicated ones.  Here's the fun that was waiting for us on Friday evening when we got home from work.      

This was the before situation on every dang door.  It's not terrible, but those levers do nothing for me and the finish wasn't nice looking at all.    

Remember how I said that "good" brass is back?  Well I mean it.  Here's what our doors are adorned with now.  It's the Emtek Turino lever in French Antique with the regular rosette.   

One of the things I've known since day one in this house is that I wanted crystal knobs on the master bath doors.  Lucky for me, Emtek also offers beautiful crystal knobs and I could get them in the same finish with the same rosette as the levers.  These are the Old Town knobs.    

When I woke up yesterday (the first day after we installed them), they were the first thing I saw and they brought an immediate smile to my face.  And isn't that what decorating is all about -- making decisions that make you smile?  

In case you're curious, most of our other hardware (all faucets, kitchen hardware, etc.) are polished nickel.  It doesn't bother me at all to mix finishes.  In fact, I really like it.  I love the warmth the brass brings to the table.  

The hardware is even more beautiful that what I thought it would be.  In case you're in the market, I ordered them through Simpson's Hardware.  They had the best price by far and the customer service was great.  For the record, they don't know who I am; I just wanted to pass along the website in case anyone else is looking for new door hardware.  Oh, and Emtek has no idea who I am either.  I am just one very happy customer. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Craigslist Loot.

I mentioned in my last post that I scored some cool finds on Craigslist last week.  But pics or it didn't happen, right?

First up . . .  a sweet pair of end tables.

Yes, I realize this picture doesn't include the pair, but, take my word for it, the other one is exactly the same.  They are flanking our couch in our formal living room.  And while we're on the subject of the formal living room, the whole room is coming together!  I'll share my design plan for the room with you shortly (let's just say it involves leopard, floral, dark teal, and brass).

Next up . . .  the matching bad ass (sorry, that's the most fitting term for it) credenza.  The piece is in amazing condition and deserves some fabulous styling.  I really hate that the light switch is smack dab in the middle of that dang wall.  It really puts a cramp in my style.   

Look how pretty she'll look when she's all dressed up.

(photo: design crisis, which is a great blog, btdubs)

But that's not it . . . I also found a vintage chandelier from 1913.  The coolest part about it is that it was from a landmark hotel in town.  As of right now, the plan is to hang it in the master bathroom.   

And last but not least . . . I found a pair of nightstands for our guest room at an estate sale in the neighborhood.  P.S. Could this room be any more boring?  You can kind of see a tiny sneak peek at the color I'm painting the room in the upper right corner (it's Wild Aster by Benjamin Moore).       

So even though they are in no way styled, I'm super excited about these pieces!  And a shout out to my wonderful husband who is the one that has to do all the heavy lifting (literally) when I find something on CL that I can't live without.