Foyer Update: Light, Bright and Transitional

Apr 1, 2020

My foyer is one of your favorites, and one of mine too! I knew I wanted to make it lighter, brighter and more transitional for a while now. The new decor pieces would have to fit that look, plus blend with my chandelier and console table that I love. I am so happy with the way it's coming along!

The mirror, art and lamps are all new. They might be modern, but still blend with the French look of my home. I have a new bench coming soon that will go underneath the art.

I've been eyeing this mirror forever! I love the star detail between the panes. I think the lamps are a great complement and so unique.

I love the way my chandelier by the front doors blend with the new decor. I still need art for that side wall. I have also been considering some type of wallpaper and/or ceiling treatment in that area as well.

The art upstairs will be going back to the master bedroom so I need to buy something new for that wall as well. I might even paint it an accent color like a blue-gray. I also want to continue the French wall trim treatment down the side of the stairs too. There's always so much to do!

I don't know if you can see it, but I love the way the foyer blends with the dining room behind it in the mirror. It flows so well despite the newly added modern accents. It just goes to show carefully blending styles and colors can give your rooms so much more depth.


What's In My Cart: Everything You Need for Spring!

Mar 21, 2020

Has anyone been online shopping through this quarantine? I have! I thought it would be fun to show you what is currently in my cart.

Here are my top three clothing items that will take me through spring and summer. There's really no difference in Texas! It's hot in the spring and then hotter in the summer. Bonus points for being all on sale!

These are the only sandals you'll need to get you through summer and they are all under $75!

These pajamas will keep you cool with the weather warming up. Also on sale!

Kitchen Update: New Barstools and Future Plans

Mar 14, 2020

I can't believe I haven't posted since Christmas! I have been so busy with client projects that I haven't had time to focus much on my own home. Every day that I'm in my kitchen I have vowed to change out the black lantern pendant lights and the counter stools. I like both, but they seemed a little mis-matched since I changed my adjoining living room from cream and black to blue and gray. I've had my eye on the Dayna stools from Ballard Designs for a while now, but I wanted to plan out the entire kitchen and breakfast room before buying anything. Since that was over a year ago and I still hadn't taken the time to treat myself like a client, I decided to just buy them anyway. I'm so glad I did! I love the way they look in my kitchen.

I chose white to contrast with the gray island. It's a prettier, softer look than the black. I considered a more transitional stool, but nothing caught my eye as much as these or went with my traditional kitchen so well. They also go so much better with my living room furniture.

I love the way the look with my current breakfast room too. I am planning on changing up this room as well, but who knows how long that will take?! The first thing that needs to go is that chandelier that was supposed to be temporary. It's honestly driving me crazy! The bistro chairs were from the beach house when I decided I didn't want to decorate with gray there. I might take them back to the beach house to use on the balcony when I find new chairs for this room. They're just a little too casual in comparison to the other rooms in this house.

You might notice I took down the lanterns. They just didn't quite go so we put the plates over the outlets until I pick new lights. Here it is before we took the lanterns down.

Before-It was just too harsh. Maybe if the cabinets had been a cream color or the island painted black they would have gone better. 

New Pendant Dilemma-Metal Color/Style

The big question is do I match the lights to the silver hardware or the brass in the adjoining rooms? I'm not a fan of overly brass kitchens and I don't love brass with bright, white kitchens. That's just my personal preference despite seeing the look everywhere these days. There's something a bit harsh about it. However, my island is gray and I love brass with gray. I do love two tone metal kitchens. I would love to have a silver vent hood with brass trim. However, that would be an unnecessary expense. Maybe adding brass lights and keeping my silver hardware would give me that pretty, two tone look. It would also keep the gold tone to a minimum. I love silver tones, but with the French style my home has I feel like it would take on a Hamptons look instead. So I am considering brass pendants and keeping the hardware silver. The second question is pendant style. I am leaning toward a transitional style since everything in the room so traditional. I feel like lighting is one element that can update a traditional room.

Recovering the seats

One thing I didn't mention about the stools is that the seats are linen. I am fully aware these will not last with three kids in the house. The good thing is they are easy to re-cover since there is no welt around the bottom. I took a look at fabric the last time I was in Schumacher's showroom shopping for a client and there are some great performance fabric options.

I'm also considering vinyl that looks like leather. I had a banquette made for a client's pool table room and you would never know it wasn't leather. There are different colors (blue, gray) and even different textures (animal skin). This would be a better option since performance fabric can still stain. It's great for living room fabrics, but I'm not so sure I want to deal with it where food and drinks will be dropping on it often.

Breakfast Room Plan

The next step is to plan out the breakfast room and the pendant lights. This is the look (via Restoration Hardware) I have in mind for the breakfast room. That table is amazing! I'm not sure I want a marble top and these white linen chairs look like kryptonite to me. I need a family friendly version of this!

Alternate view 5

But with this chandelier that's so expensive it makes my eyes water. Even the designer discount doesn't help all that much!

Jacqueline Two-Tier Chandelier in Hand-Rubbed Antique Brass with White Acrylic

Only if practicality and budget weren't considerations!

Christmas 2019

Dec 28, 2019

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! It came and went so fast this year. Maybe it was that I didn't put the decorations out until late this year, that the weather was warm and sunny or that we didn't go to any Christmas events. I had planned a few things, but the boys sports and our work schedules made it impossible this year. I can't say the kids wanted to go anyway! Our traditions are changing as they get older, but as long as we are all together on Christmas that's all that matters.

Christmas Eve

Gifts from Grandparents

Aidan LOVES cozy blankets. He steals every single one in the house. I don't think he could ever get enough. We were laughing this night because I slept with my baby blanket I was brought home from the hospital in until I got married. Now, I have my faux fur blanket that Aidan and Mario try to steal all the time. I guess the blanket gene is strong!

Dylan always needs golf balls. #waterholes

Laughing because I noticed right away this was rosemary.

Christmas Eve Dinner-I forgot to save this picture, but found it on my IG stories archive. Prime rib, stuffing with mushrooms and butternut squash (really good, just bad photo), potatoes and a winter salad. I tagged Half Baked Harvest and she messaged me right back! Almost all of our recipes come from her cookbooks or website so this was very exciting to me and especially my husband who does most of the cooking. He even pre-ordered her book this summer. She deserves all of the success that has come her way because all of her recipes are amazing!

Christmas Morning

Aidan is only 11 so he still gets excited about Christmas morning. He made everyone in the house wake up early. I can't say the teens were thrilled about it, but they made it downstairs.

Ryan got much needed hair gel in his stocking.

The only smile I got from Dylan was when he saw the weight lifting gloves in his stocking.

My husband bought himself golf clubs this year like every year. He sells the offending set that is obviously responsible for his bad game and buys a new set on eBay. As long as they aren't new (aka expensive) I'll continue to play along.

Finally getting on that AirPod train. No makeup and unbrushed hair as usual for me on Christmas morning.

You might notice we don't do an extravagant Christmas when it comes to gifts, actually gifts in general. My husband and I buy ourselves one thing each (or a few inexpensive items) so we have something to open with the kids, and they get only a few gifts from us. This is something I started when my kids were little. I can't say I've made the right decisions all the time as a parent, but I feel good about this one based on their attitudes about material items. They don't ask for much, want much or begrudge anyone for what they have. I suppose it's that fine line between too much and not enough that has worked, plus a whole lot of conversations. The success from school/sports and relationships with family and friends has superseded anything I could buy them or any trip I could take them on. It's so hard to decide when your kids are little what the right decision is and sometimes what is good for one family or child isn't good for another. In that spirit, take this with a grain of salt unless it resonates with you!

Another thing we do is take turns opening presents instead of everyone tearing into them all at once. The youngest opens one present and everyone watches so we can see what he got, his reaction, get a photo and have him thank the person. Then we go to the next youngest and keep circling back until the presents are all open. I prefer it this way to see what everyone gets, their reactions and I also like to have the opportunity to say thank you. 

On our way out the door Christmas evening to spend with my husband's side of the family. Mario got a new red bow tie collar that I think looks so handsome on him. I also never showed you a picture of our front door in the Christmas Home Tour. The light is only good in the morning (brightened way up here) so I never got a photo. I planted real mini Christmas trees in the pots this year instead of poinsettias. I just love the look!

We usually pop fireworks with the boys, heat up the spa and make s'mores on the fire pit in the backyard on New Year's Eve. This year we're headed to the beach house in Galveston! It didn't rent for the weekend so we decided to head down there with family. Of course we get a VRBO inquiry right after we make the decision. Oh well, it will be worth it!

Last Minute Amazon Gifts: My Favorite Purchases

Dec 17, 2019

I can't believe Christmas is next week! I am mostly finished, but I still have a few gifts left to buy. At this point they are either going to be from Amazon to take advantage of free Prime two day shipping, or I have to go to a store. I would much rather shop while drinking coffee in my pjs! I decided to round up my favorite purchases from Amazon with reviews if you are still looking for ideas. Many of these are beauty products. Instead of just giving them as stocking stuffers, consider making a beauty box with several of them for the women in your life. 

1. Keurig Cappuccino, Latte and Coffee Maker-This is what we have at the beach house. I was pleasantly surprised at how good the lattes and cappuccinos turned out. I've found Keurig coffee to be too weak in the past, but the cappuccino/latte option solves that problem by making it stronger. It also has a built-in frother that's so easy to use. 

2. Ninja Foodi-We use ours almost daily. Many of our recipes call for an instant pot and we had always wanted to try an air fryer. This is an air fryer, pressure cooker/instant pot, and slow cooker in one so I decided to try it. The kids love the air fryer option for really crispy chicken tenders, buffalo wings and fries. It's so easy they even make it themselves. I really like the sear option. Have you noticed that slow cookers turn food into mush that ends up tasting the same no matter if it's chicken or beef? The sear option before you turn on the slow cooker prevents that from happening. 

3. Lavish Lash-This isn't my first attempt at a lash serum. I spent about $100 for Neulash because beauty bloggers were raving about it. I saw a little improvement, but my lashes grew in uneven and started falling out if I skipped even a day of using it. I decided to try Lavish Lash because of the reviews and it's under $30. I noticed they were about 30% longer within two weeks. My husband even commented on it so I knew it was working. However, they didn't grow much more after that and did not increase in volume so you won't get the eyelash extension look. Of course I think everyone has a different experience with lash serums. Some of the reviewers photos are really dramatic. 

4. Eyebrow/Face Shavers-This would be a great stocking stuffer. I bought these because reviewers were saying it helps remove dead skin for a smoother complexion. I did not really notice a difference, but I do like that it removes the peach fuzz you can only see in bright light. 

5. Mellanni Sheets-I've seen these on gift guides everywhere and the price can't be beat. I have to admit I was not impressed when I first opened the package because they seemed so thin. However, after sleeping on them I realized they really are comfortable and have held up great after so many washes. They don't get nearly as wrinkled as my more expensive sheets either. I ended up ordering a second set for me and bought my oldest son a set too. 

6. Echo Show-We loved our dot so much for turning on the speakers in our house, setting timers in the kitchen, adding to the grocery store list, getting the weather and the kids asking Alexa random questions. Aidan asks Alexa to bark like a dog "to send Mario over the edge." Now, it has a video function! We bought one for our kitchen to pull up recipes online instead of using our phones. You can also stream videos. Lately, I've been asking Alexa to play Christmas music of course. It would also be a great bedside clock, but we use our display for rotating family photos instead. 

7. Charger Stand for Phones-How did I not know these existed? They even have ones that charge your phone, AirPods, and watch. I didn't want that big of a station on my nightstand so this is the one I bought because I can put it behind my decor and still see it from my bed. The best part is that I don't have to find the cord and plug it in. I just plop it right on the stand and it makes a little noise to tell you it's charging. 

8. AirPods-Not earth shattering I know. My kids love them of course. I didn't give them too much thought until I realized that you can also have these on the find my iPhone app. I can't tell you how many times that's saved the kids from losing them. I finally got myself a pair because I realized I could talk on the phone hands-free. I workout, clean, do laundry, etc while talking on the phone so this makes it much easier. 

9. Silk Pillowcase-I finally bought one after hearing about less bed head and good for your skin/sleep wrinkles. I was not about to spend $100 on the Slip pillowcase without being sure it worked so I bought this brand that's also 100% mulberry silk for much less. It does help somewhat with bedhead when I don't put my hair in a bun and sleep wrinkles are decreased (not completely gone). Sleeping on your back is free and the only thing that will really work. Honestly, I just like it because it just feels so good to sleep on. A regular pillow just feels so rough now. 

10. Silk Hair Scrunchies-I wore scrunchies as a kid in the early 90s and I did not want to go back to that trend! I do have long hair that gets tangled while sleeping and I look downright crazy in the mornings. After hearing that sleeping with my hair in a bun with a silk scrunchie will help I decided to give it a try. It works! My hair looks almost as good when I take it out of the bun in morning as I did when I went to sleep. Regular hair bands don't work because they give me a headache and leave dents in my hair. I actually use them while working out too so I don't have to flat iron the dents out of my hair from regular bands afterwards. I do hide the scrunchie though by making my bun a bit bigger to overlap it. 

11. Collagen Chest Pad for Wrinkles-I don't know if the collagen is actually helping or if it's just the pad preventing the wrinkles. I do know that I have zero wrinkles on my chest when I wake up in the morning when I use this. Again, sleeping on my back would be a free way to prevent sleep wrinkles that will eventually turn permanent. Sometimes I can only get comfortable on my side and sleep wins over wrinkles. This is a must if you're a side sleeper!

12. Portable Phone Charger-Anyone have teens that live permanently on 1% battery life? I shouldn't throw stones because I've been in a situation where my phone wasn't charged any times. Anyway, this one is inexpensive, small for handbags and backpacks, and has dual ports. The kids can also charge their AirPods or even share it (won't happen, just buy another one).