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Happy New Year!

2 Jan

We had a pretty lame NYE, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate how wonderful 2012 was to us. It gave us our beautiful baby boy and lots to be thankful for.

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At least Liam got fancy for NYE.

For 2013, I have a few things in mind I’d like to focus on to improve myself, but I’m not huge on resolutions, so let’s call them goals.

1. Be healthy. Go on walks, eat right, yadda yadda yadda. We’re taking family photos in less than three months, so I’d like to look good for those.

2. Be happy. Choose to focus on the positive and be satisfied with my life. Appreciate my family and my job and don’t be a negative nelly.

3. Be me. Do some stuff for myself every once in a while. Get my nails done. Decorate. Plan parties. Shop. But don’t blow the budget.

Sound good? What are your goals for the year?

Can’t. Stop. Pinning.

3 Jun

I have a new obsession. I’m sure you’ve heard of it and you’ve probably been using it for a while now, as I’m usually pretty late to the party.

Do you
?

It is a really cool social networking site where you “pin” images to “boards” and share with friends. I’m having so much fun organizing all my save images and starred posts in my google reader. I’m also very inspired by the boards I’m following. Here’s a peek at some of my pins…

Want to join the fun? Put your email address in the comments or email me at amyc83 at gmail dot com and I’ll send you an invite! You know you want to try it…

Follow my pins here!

>A Story of Hope

1 Feb

>When I was in graduate school at Pepperdine, one of my professors had breast cancer. She was only 30 years old and was such an inspiration to all of us.

She was selected to be on the show My Fair Wedding with David Tutera on the WE channel! Her episode airs on Sunday (yes, Super Bowl Sunday) at 9pm.

Check out this preview! She is the first bride…

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/271548328

If you have a big party to go to and can’t watch the show live, add it to your DVR. She is such an amazing woman/teacher/mentor/survivor and her story is truly inspiring!

I’m Loving…

8 Nov

Some things I’m loving this Monday morning…

Wouldn’t that mobile from Etsy seller Gosh and Golly look adorable hanging above a crib in a gender-neutral nursery? And I could see that little colorful rain scene on the wall above a changing table…

This home was featured on Design Sponge today and I love the branches behind the couch SO much. See the little birdies??

I’ve been thinking about our Christmas cards since September, but if I win this contest on Weddingbee, I might have to scrap my original idea and get those adorable cards with Ruby and Jackson’s faces on them.

If I was rich, I’d be all over this teal coach purse.

What are you loving lately?

Dream Kitchens

26 Oct
(via Emily)
I’m foolishly letting myself believe that Emily and HGTV will not only give us a fab living/dining room, but also take down half of the wall between the dining area and our kitchen AND re-do our kitchen because if they knocked down that wall they’d have to. She already told me this will most likely NOT happen, but I am a fool and like to believe that things will happen even if they probably won’t. I’m optimistic to a fault. My husband is the exact opposite.
I want a kitchen that is kinda modern, but kinda traditional and really white. I heart the one above SO freaking much.
(via Emily)

If I had to “sell” HGTV on giving us a kitchen make-over, I would tell them that butcher block countertops are much less expensive than granite, but super beautiful. I would also say that open shelving instead of upper cabinets in all the rage right now and it would be super inexpensive. I would also tell them we’ll buy our own appliances (aka put them on credit at Sears), so that would cut down on some of the cost as well.

(via Emily)

I might even be tempted to buy all white dishes from somewhere cheap like the dollar store or Target to make the shelves look all crisp and clean.

This layout is very close to ours. There are just two problems: this one has a half wall bar thing where we have a whole wall closed off thing AND our laundry area is where the open shelving and fridge are. I really want that laundry wall closed off for more kitchen space and the laundry to be its own room, but that requires way too much reno 😦
These shelves seem like they would be super cheap. I heart them. And those blue bowls.
I also really want a chalkboard wall somewhere in the kitchen. It would be so cool to write menus, lists, and notes on the walls!!
Hello farmhouse sink. Nice to meet you. Want to come in for a drink? Bring your friend white subway tile backsplash with you.
What does your dream kitchen look like? Am I crazy for hoping for something that will never be?

Design Fantasy: Chandeliers

12 Oct

I’ve said before that I obsess over everything. Even though we probably won’t be filming Secrets from a Stylist until January, I can’t stop thinking about it and imagining the amazing things she is going to do to our space. Today, I saw this post on The City Sage and it got me thinking about chandeliers.

When Emily was at our house a couple of weekends ago, she commented that we didn’t have any light fixtures. I had to pause a moment and think about that one because we have recessed lighting (really good lighting that makes my engagement ring sparkle all crazy) all throughout the space. However, I guess we don’t have any decorative lighting, which led me to suggest that she put a chandelier above our dining table. At that point she was probably thinking, “well, duh!” but I was just thinking aloud… and feeling embarrassed that we didn’t already have something there.

My inspiration is all over the place on this one. It  goes from very vintage and old world like this one:

To something more traditional and classic like this:
And then we have a classic style with a twist in this one that adds an unexpected pop of color:

This next one is in a living room, but could easily hang above a dining table. It is a bit more modern than those above, but it still has an air of tradition:

I did tell Emily that my style leans toward modern without going over the edge. These next three chandeliers from West Elm are really beautiful and have that modern-but-not-too-modern feel:

The one above is made of glass ovals linked together. So lovely.

While this one would probably be better in a corner rather than above the dining table, I love the delicate feel of it (and maybe we’ll get something like this in the living room half of our space).

That last one is my favorite of all, I think. It is delicate and reflects light without being gaudy and I love the rectangular shape to match the shape of a long rectangular table.

Which chandelier is your favorite?

Design Fantasy: Faux Fireplace

8 Oct

Before I get into the fireplaces, an update: we probably won’t be shooting until January. This makes me a bit sad because I was SO looking forward to having our beautiful new room for the holidays this year. One of the things we asked for was some type of fake fireplace with a mantle just so I could hang our Christmas stockings up in the living room instead of our bedroom, but if the scheduling stays the way it is, we won’t be able to enjoy that this year. Sad face. I’m not truly sad, though, because our room is being styled by someone I adore and I could not be more grateful for the opportunity.

Back to the fireplaces…

Originally, my husband and I had discussed something like this:

It is an electric fireplace that is turned on with a light switch and doesn’t require a chimney. We thought this was the best option for us because a real fireplace wouldn’t be possible where we’d want to put it. We talked about setting the TV into the wall above the fireplace so it didn’t stick out so much like it does now. Then, I started seeing things like this on the design blogs I read:

 (two images about from design sponge)
These images feature beautiful mantles without the fire. I love this idea!
Yesterday, I was reading Emily’s blog and came across this picture:
See that mantle? See what’s inside instead of fire? A TV!! I could tell she wasn’t super excited to have to include a TV into our living room design. TVs are like cryptonite (sp?) for interior designers. They kill their creative buzz. But this? This is a win for all! We could even get one of those cheesy yule-log DVDs and play it  whenever we want to have a nice fire and the mantle can be reserved for pretty mantle-like things: art, family photos, antique mirror, candlesticks… I really wish we were getting this before Christmas…
Which type of faux fireplace do you like best?

Design Fantasy: Living/Dining Room

25 Sep

Since my last post on my design fantasy, Emily posted on her blog that her new show, Secrets From a Stylist (for which we are being considered), was just picked up for 26 episodes! This is great news because it means that the show will be sticking around for a while, unlike other shows from previous design star winners (cough… Antonio… cough). The problem we now have, though, is she also told all her readers to apply to be on the show. The application isn’t on the hgtv website anymore, but with her blog post, I assume more people will apply and that means more competition for us. Boooo… By the way, my dear loyal friends, if any of you apply and get on the show and we don’t, consider our friendship over. No, I will not be happy for you. I will be jealous and mad.

Moving on…

She also wrote on her blog that she will be making over only one room, not the whole house like she did for Ian on her first special. I kind of knew this because the application asked us to talk about one room we would want to change, but I hoped for more because they asked for pictures and video of all the rooms in our house (minus the kitchen and bathroom). So… she would probably do our master bedroom because it needs the most help and that is the one we focused on in the application and these other fantasies will probably remain fantasies unless they decide to be super generous and surprise us with four rooms (man, that would be freaking amazing).

OH AND ANOTHER THING… she wrote in this same post that the rooms “should be 15′ x 20′ or else amazing” and ours aren’t quite that big which makes me a bit nervous. I already sent the measurements and they have since bumped us up to the next phase, but I still worry that if they find something bigger and better they might give us the boot. Please nooooooooo…..

Ok then! Ready for some living/dining room pictures? Here is our combo room now:

It is one big-ish room that we have tried to separate into separate living and dining areas. I actually like this room for the most part. I had planned on putting up curtains myself this summer, but since we are being considered for this show, I decided to wait until we found out for sure. I also really want a fake gas fireplace where the TV is (one of those that doesn’t need a chimney, but you just flip a switch and it goes “on” and gives off a bit of heat, but is really for looks and mainly so I can have a place in the living room to hang stockings at Christmas – you didn’t forget about me being crazy, did you?) and above the mantle, I’d like an indent in the wall to hang the TV so it doesn’t stick out. Oh, and a new TV would be awesome.

Here are some living rooms I love:

This living room from The City Sage would be my favorite if I lived alone or with another girl. However, it is a little too feminine more my husband’s taste, I’m sure.

Here is an awesome fireplace, also from The City Sage, with my favorite new wall color: gray. I adore this mantle and the huge baseboards and the rustic wood floors.

Another one from The City Sage. I really love the furniture – except the white couch because I’m much too practical for that. I’d like to see some color on the walls other than white, though. The more I look at design blogs, the more I see white walls as a huge trend and the rooms can be very beautiful. However, growing up always living in apartments and never being allowed to paint the walls, I feel like my walls must be painted some other color than white in order for me to be taking advantage of being a home-owner.

This one from Nate Berkus is effortlessly chic. Those stools are nice because they provide extra seating without taking up a lot of space.

Another one from Nate Berkus, and another one with white walls, but I really like the couch and branches. This is almost too masculine, though.

One more from Nate and let me tell you something: he uses that rug a lot. I don’t know how I feel about it. I like it in this space with the bright green accents, but I don’t think I’d want it in my house. What I really love about this room is that it doesn’t feel like everything is new and mass-produced. There is a sense of unique-ness to the furniture and accessories which is important to me. I never buy art from stores that have 10 copies of the same thing sitting there. I like things are are original and different (without paying thousands or millions for an original painting by a famous artist).

I’ve loved gallery walls for a long time. I have a mini one in my hallway now, but I didn’t really put a whole lot of planning into it. I’d love one with more pizazz like this, from The Brass Petal, in our living room.

I just read somewhere that purple is out, but I just sort of noticed it recently. I almost bought some dark purple curtains at Ikea for our living/dining room and was going to make pillow covers to match. This lovely “aubergine” room, as Emily (of The Brass Petal) calls it, is maybe a bit over the top for us, but I like the idea.

Now for the dining room inspiration.

My favorite part of this dining room from Design Sponge is the corner cabinet for china and linens. I never really thought about something like that for our space, but now that I see it I think it would work really well.

While that paint color scares me, I think this room (from The Brass Petal) is so gorgeous. The window placement and size of the room are almost exactly like ours. I’ll take it.

This dining room from Crate and Barrel is bright and fun, but practical. I love having a bench on one side so more that two people can sit down.

There’s that gray again. Love the white sheer tablecloth, as well. This room is from The City Sage.

Coming next…. Design Fantasy: Master Bedroom (the only room that I should even be thinking they’ll redecorate).

Design Fantasy: Guestroom… or not.

22 Sep

Our current guestroom is basically my room from when I lived at home in college, but moved to our house. We have decided that when we have a baby, that room will be the nursery. It is closest to our bedroom and the windows lead to the backyard, making us feel safer about our baby sleeping there. In our video submission for the design show, we said that the guestroom would eventually be the nursery, even though we’re not pregnant yet. We even pointed out the paint swatches I have taped to the wall (yes, I’m crazy, we all know that now, moving on). Ideally – and I know life doesn’t really respond to my plans the way I want it to – I would be pregnant by the time we film the show and they might design the nursery for us. If not, I guess they would design it as a guestroom or just leave it the way it is and not feature it on the show. For her first special, Emily did 4 rooms in Ian’s house, which is what I am basing all of this off of.

This is the room now:

Something else you should know about me: I really want a girl first. I love all things girly – the clothes, the dance classes, the doll houses and play kitchens. I’d love to have a boy, as well…. one day. My husband? Totally opposite. He wants a boy first. Either way, one of us will be disappointed. OK, back to my design fantasy…

This is my very favorite girl nursery, found on People Magazine. I love the lavender paint and the tree that is built off the wall and the birds and the fluffy rug and the chandelier… I just love it.

I really like this boy’s nursery from Restoration Hardware. I love the sailboat theme, but I don’t think it is taken too far. The bedding is still simple and not too cutesy (I dislike the bedding with pictures of stuff all over it) and the colors are muted enough to fit with the rest of the house.

Here’s the problem: even if by magic we did get pregnant before taping the show, we wouldn’t know if it was a boy or a girl for a few months (usually 20 weeks, right?). While I’d love to go all out boy or all out girly for the decor of the nursery, I really love the idea of a gender neutral nursery with just a few details that whisper “boy” or “girl”. Here are some of my favorites:

This nursery from the boo and the boy leans toward “boy” without screaming “BOY!” I love the soft blue on the walls and the white furniture.

This one is from spearmint baby. It has a similar wall color to the first one, but with the pink accents, it is obvious a baby girl lives here. I also adore the book shelves that allow the covers to be showcased. A reading corner is a must for me (I am an English teacher, after all).

While having triplets seems like my worst nightmare, this room (also from spearmint baby) is quite lovely. I feel relaxed and at peace when I look at it and hopefully my baby would, too.

Again, the light blue/gray walls and colorful accents make this room (from spearmint baby) sing. That poster with the little girl’s name and the alphabet is calling me. I want it.
 

This room from with two cats just feels home-y to me. The combination of fabrics gives visual interest and creates a very comfy vibe. I’d love to rock my baby to sleep in that chair.

I have loved this nursery ever since I saw it on design sponge and it led me to follow with two cats.

I love the neutral gray walls and bright colorful linens (though I’m not really a fan of orange). My husband’s parents also have a crib just like that that we could paint white.

Coming up next… Design Fantasy: Living/Dining room

Speaking of books…

4 Jun

I read quite a few design blogs daily (and quite a few mom blogs… and twenty-something blogs) and one trend I’ve been taking note of lately is bookshelves organized by color.

Isn’t it pretty? This last one made me want to try this in my own home.

The way Design Mom coordinated her accessories with the books on the shelves is simply stunning. Oh wait… one of those accessories is a baby!

This is what our bookcase looks like:

Not so glamorous, right? Well, I plan to change that very soon… stay tuned!

What inspires you when decorating or designing your spaces?