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). 

Christmas Home Tour 2019

Dec 15, 2019

I am so late with my home tour this year! It's been a busy time with work and the kids sports/activities. My middle son, Ryan, made the junior high basketball team and has practice or a game five days a week. That's in addition to his private basketball league two days a week! I'm also working as fast as I can on my clients' homes so I can spend time with the kids on their winter break. I have to admit that I wasn't feeling the Christmas spirit this year with the warm weather and being so busy. I learned my lesson though that waiting until after Thanksgiving to decorate is not a good idea for me since it takes so long to get everything up. I just finished today, which means there's only ten days left to enjoy it. I'm definitely going to wait until after New Year's to take it down!

Ivory, gold and greenery is this year's color scheme throughout the entire house. Normally, I add a bit of traditional color to one or more of the rooms. I love how everything blends this year instead of trying to get more than one look. I didn't buy anything new except three little cone trees for the dining room table, ribbon and greenery. I spent under $100! Honestly, I just don't need anything. I was shopping for a client this year with an eye out for my own house and I felt like I already had everything. Maybe I'll change things up next year, but I'll probably just add different color ribbon. Greenery, ribbon and a few ornaments/picks is really all you need. There is no reason to spend a lot of money unless there's just something you really love. 

Let's start in the foyer because I feel like that seems to be everyone's favorite!

I know I should probably add trim or art to this stairwell wall, but I have to admit there's something so pretty to me about it bare. It has a French farmhouse look that's rustic and glam at the same time. I know it won't be everyone's favorite, but I think this is my favorite photo. 

My deer took a seat on the floor instead of on the foyer table this year. I felt roses were necessary for such a pretty, romantic look. That was until Mario (on the sofa below) decided he does not like the deer at all. He made it clear by marking his territory on the deer. Thankfully, he's plastic and after a good cleaning he is now back on the table and safe from Mario.

Living Room

The 12 foot beast of a tree is back! I didn't change much up in here this year. 

I did add this long pretty satin ribbon to the mirror.

A close-up of the tree.

The Kitchen

Fresh greenery and minimal decor this year. Actually, the wreath is faux but even up close you can't tell the difference between it and the fresh greenery. 

Dining Room

I usually don't put a tablecloth on until it's time to set the table for my family. This year I decided I might as well go ahead and get it done. A plus is you can see how it's actually set instead of just staged. 

Master Bedroom

I never thought I would put a tree in the bedroom, but I wasn't feeling it in the foyer this year since it's flocked. I wanted everything to be green. Instead of putting it back up in storage I just moved it to the bedroom. I actually love it! I spend a lot of time working from my bed or just relaxing there in the evenings so I probably see it more than the one in my living room. 

I hope you enjoyed this year's Christmas home tour!

Fall Fashion and Beauty Favorites

Nov 7, 2019

I am sharing all of my favorite fall purchases from fashion to beauty products. I only share home decor on my Instagram page, but you can find clothing sometimes in my stories. I was surprised at the positive feedback and purchases since I know most of you follow me for my home. Actually, the clothes sold almost as much as the decor last month! 

I've mostly been buying casual sweaters, jeans and flats to fit my lifestyle. Most of my day is spent shopping for clients, running errands or staging homes if I am out of the house. I am a big fan of the off the shoulder trend. I tend to tuck in my sweaters if they're not fitted for waist definition. I do like to wear a belt in that case. I just can't get behind the no belt look I'm seeing everywhere lately. Plus it's an opportunity to dress up an outfit. I've also been switching my jeans over from mid-rise to high rise. I know I'm late to the trend, but it took me a while to find ones that fit me well and are comfortable. 

This sweater is sold out in the blue, but comes in two other colors. 

I love this lookalike Balmain sweater with the gold buttons. The 3/4 sleeve is perfect for those days that are in between cold and warm too. Mules are one of my favorite shoes to wear in the fall. I never have to worry about them rubbing my heel when I walk like typical ballet flats and loafers. I'll have to switch to my flat/low heeled boots when it gets cooler. 

One way to make a casual outfit look dressy is by adding a blazer. I'm just wearing a tee with jeans, but doesn't it look so much more put together? It's another classic black and white look too. I'm wearing mid-rise jeans here, but I switched over to a great fitting pair of high rise. 

I have two different bags pictured. I use the Prada bag for client meetings so I can put my laptop and fabric samples in it. I use a nude or a black YSL bag daily because it can be a shoulder bag or a crossbody. It's also small and dressy enough to wear with a cocktail dress. All three of these are coated leather so there's little worry about scratches. They're a bit pricey, but these three bags are all I need. I've also had them for years so the cost per wear is really low. I bought one every two years. It's technically time for another one, but I just don't need any more!

Here is the same blazer in black. It was such a good deal I had to get both colors. I don't wear heels often so the only colors I have are black, nude and leopard. I haven't found myself needing another pair now that I have the basics. These are low-rise jeans, but I'll link my new high rise ones I recently bought that I absolutely love.

I have been eyeing this red sweater forever! I finally decided to buy it and I'm so glad I did. It's actually not the best photo (sorry none of these are) because I was in a hurry to get my son to his basketball game, but it is really cute. 

I don't buy a lot of clothes as you can see by the amount of times I wear the same jeans, belts, shoes and handbags. It's just not necessary. I suggest starting with the basics to mix and match. If you work in an office that might mean solid colored pants/pencil skirts instead of jeans, or heels instead of flats. I would not suggest buying anything designer unless you know from experience that you will wear it forever. I've owned some type of leopard shoe for the last 20 years. I knew when I bought a designer brand that I would have it forever. FYI, I did get mine 50% off when Saks had their summer sale. Buying off season is a great idea too, but it's only a good deal if you will wear it! You won't see me wearing a designer brand flat shoe that I wear everyday. I have to replace those often because I wear them so much. My booties in the first photo barely lasted two years. I have my eye on the similar ones I linked.

Beauty Faves

I am really into fragrances this year for some reason. Like I mentioned before, I don't buy much. When I do buy something I become a bit of a perfectionist, which is why it took me so long to find the best high waisted jeans. I'm still torn over whether I like Madewell or J.Crew's jeans better. Keep in mind J.Crew completely redesigned their jeans so it's not the same as years past. Anyway, I had to try every fragrance under the sun before I found my favorite fall/winter scent. Don't laugh, but I tried on perfume every time I went to the mall for the past three months. This is the one! It's a clean floral with a musky under tone that's great for fall and winter.

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1. This CC cream has such a huge following that there's a good chance you might already be using it, but just in case you aren't it's a full coverage foundation and has SPF 50. It's the only one I have used that covers all of my imperfections and doesn't sink into my lines.

2. If you can't figure out strip lashes then these are for you! I can put these on in 5-10 minutes. It does  take a bit of practice to go that fast, but it's worth it. I use this in lieu of mascara for my upper lashes. As long as I sleep on my back which I try to do to not cause wrinkles anyway, I only have to reapply them when I wash my hair. I only wash my hair twice a week so I wake up looking made up when I'm not. I use the dark glue instead of the clear. I've found the clear dries white that makes the glue noticeable. I don't need eyeliner on my upper lashes with the dark glue either. I only have to put on a bit of shadow, and then liner and mascara on my lower lashes that's easy to remove without dislodging the lashes. 

3. I've been using this moisturizer since May when a make-up artist recommended it. Hands down this is the best I've ever used. I even bought a small jar of La Mer once. Don't waste your money on that. I was not impressed!

4. My skin is very dry and my lips used to be perpetually chapped no matter what I put on them. This is the only product that has cured it. I have to put it on twice a day, but most people only need it at night. I use a matte lipstick during the day and just put it on top to make it look like lip gloss.

5. I can't say this bronzer came recommended to me the way I use it. It was just trial and error. I was happily using Laura Mercier translucent powder over my foundation to set it until it really just started to settle in my crow's feet. I tried so many other powders and couldn't find anything that didn't age me until I realized my bronzer didn't do this. I bought the lightest one possible and started using it as a powder. I'm guessing it's because it's thicker compared to translucent powder. I told a makeup artist about it and she was impressed as well!

I hope you enjoyed this different kind of post! Of course interior design is my main focus since it's also my career, but let me know if you'd like me to include an occasional fashion and beauty post.

Master Bedroom Update: Intaglio Art

Oct 21, 2019

I'm so excited my new intaglio art is finally here! I've been wanting them forever, but the price tag isn't cheap. I did find a site that custom makes them for a great price. You get to pick the intaglios, mat colors and frames. They also have different size options if you are looking for something larger. You might notice I have a new rug in here too. I planned on an ivory silk tone on tone rug in an abstract or stripe, but they were so pricey. This viscose rug is so much more affordable.

I love how this art blends with the abstract painting. Eventually I'd like to add moulding and/or grasscloth wallpaper to the walls, but this gives the room a more finished look in the meantime.

I wasn't sure if I was going to hang the art above the bed or in my upstairs landing that overlooks the foyer. I picked frames and mats that would go in both rooms for that reason. I decided to keep them above the bed for now because it is so much more noticeably bare without them than the landing. Here they are in the landing.

Can you see why my decision was so hard?


Bed, Nightstands, Actual Bench-Restoration Hardware

Abstract Art-High Fashion Home

Faux Fur Blanket-ZGallerie