on the cusp

Memorial Day weekend is such a tease. What I’m learning from my work from home role and also as the kids get older is that waiting for the end of the school year is like waiting for nail polish to dry if you are painting your nails outside in 98 degree humid July heat. It feels like the actual summer will never, ever start.

Everyone was so amped up about good weather FINALLY making it to the Northeast  States, and Memorial Day weekend was epic in many aspects. First and foremost, me jail braking the kids out of school a little early because I’m not chained to setting up and working a retail holiday weekend sale anymore. Also, we finally had one weekend away from sports and headed to the beach to do all of our absolute favorite family things: beach, boat, sun, swim, porch, bike, repeat.

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Only to have it all feel like a dream…This Tuesday was the “Monday-ist Tuesday ever”.

Relax, I’m not gonna get all Sad Sally here. I realize that in 2 weeks it will officially be summer break and as usual we are almost planned out till August 31st. I also realize that in 2 weeks or so I will be yelling at my kids to get outside and wait while I finish work until we can go crash a pool. Oh and “Boo hoo…your life must suck as the only kids in town without a pool…but I guess the beach house doesn’t count now does it?” I’m sounding a lot like my mom in 1986, (sans the beach house..we had a sprinkler and a slip and slide).

So that’s my random rant. On to all things “on the cusp” aka “early June”.

imageMakeshift outdoor offices are the key to working from home.

imageMakeshift outdoor offices turn into twilight wine and relaxation area…

When you go away for Memorial Day weekend and come home to sad peonies who have been attacked by a nearby wisteria plant. grrrr… imageSo, you cut them. And enjoy.

Lastly, on the fashion front (well not really..just personal style front). I purchased my yearly 6 pack of white men’s Hanes tanks. I’m thinking about single-handedly bringing them back. There are not many garments in my opinion with the exception of the denim jacket and possibly leopard flats that go with EVERYTHING in one’s closet.

Dress it up, down, and around it. The 6 pack costs $9.99 and is universally flattering to all shapes and sizes. Don’t ask me how. It just is. Trust and Believe. I’ve been dedicated to these since 1993. Wore them all the way through 2 pregnancies too. A few examples:

imageWith Culottes 

With a skirt, any skirt; Long, short, or this vintage cotton 1970’s skirt printed with white and pink lambs…

You can even layer it under a dress, or THIS skirt that is now doubling as a dress. 97 cents on a clearance rack at Old Navy, friends. These are the odd things that never sell at Old Navy full price; A black viscose, shiny midi skirt. These cast offs always call my name. imageIt’s totally unacceptably wrinkled though… apologies to my visual merchandising friends. 

And with the trusty denim bottom, jeans, shorts, skirts…you get it. image

May I also recommend fun accessories. Since the tank is the simplest of garments and white, you can pretty much choose anything!

It’s no secret I own lots of Baubles. I lean towards kitschy earrings like bees or birds to go with plain white tanks and arm candy for days mixed with watches that I don’t really use to tell time when sleeves disappear in the summer. The last pic is an ode to wooden bangles. If any of you have ever worked with me in my styling days, I was always on the hunt for wooden bangles for the mannis to wear in the windows. They too, are a universal, go with all summer looks, essential. 

So that’s my hard sell on the basic men’s Hanes tank (or Jockey, whatever brand you prefer. I’m sure theyre made in the same factory ;)). June has officially begun!! On the cusp of another fabulous summer!

Now if I can only find a reason to rock this vintage Marc by Marc Jacobs on a random Wednesday in June…image

xo friends!!

 

 

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Disney Coma

That’s me this week. There is no way to go to Disney World for 7 days and REALLY do Disney with 10 people (6 adults and 4 kids), without returning and morphing into a coma-like, alternate reality state. Like, wait, that’s not real life down there in Orlando? Dammit. Nope it’s not. But if you go into it with vigor, and keep up the stamina for the entire week (therefore resulting in a “happiest place on earth” high), you will not only have a good time but will need to sleep for 14 days after. AND, in real life, with kids, that’s just not possible.

So I go from this:image

To this:image

Trying to keep my inspiration, up while dealing with a slow business week, and getting into routines again, post “holi-daze”. Looking back, it’s been almost a full year since my fall, and recovery which eventually lead to changing my entire life around by choosing to work from home with the family business.  I’ve been through the initiation phase, the working while kids are home for the summer phase, the busy phase and the super duper busy phase. I’ve also enjoyed my first holiday season away from retail. Next phase, a slowwwwwww winter month or 2. Hopefully not too slow. Time to read, learn more about what I’m doing and make a list of goals for the coming year. Please God, for both my husband and my sake, let this pass quickly. Ha! We both aren’t very good with down time.

Anyway, I felt the need to make something pretty after coming back to a non-decorated and sterile house. You see, when I put all the Christmas decor away, I didn’t do ANYTHING to replace it. I like a clean slate in January.

With fresh eyes and some new Moroccan glass purchased while in “Morocco” (Epcot), I thought I’d start with the mantle. There were a few pics I pinned that inspired me to put all the small plants I had currently in the kitchen, on the mantle. To “green” up the Family  Room, like it doubles as a winter greenhouse. I do need to purchase more, probably of the succulent/cactus variety, because as I’ve said before, I kill plants.

Here’s a peak at my happy little January mantle “installation”imageimageimage

some vintage milk glass mixed in with the new Moroccan glass…imageimageimage

You should know that the plant above has survived 6 years now…I’m quite proud.

Hope this gives you a little inspiration to “green” things up in hopes for a quick and painless 2 months of winter…

xo friends!imageimage

 

ex*pert vs. ex*periment

Everyone’s an expert at something. Whether it’s a skill, a career or a hobby, everyone has a thing that they do the best. It is usually something that is practiced over time or done very often, hence why someone who has a job or hobby for a while, can become an expert in that field. Maybe it’s open heart surgery, or pitching a no-hitter, or making an incredible lasagna. However large or small, important or trivial, it’s your thing and it’s something to be proud of.

I used to be an expert in decorating 200k sq ft of retail space for the holidays with about 35 volunteers in under 8 hours. Yep. But I am not using that expertise or skill for the first time in 15 Novembers and I’m glad for the break but I do miss being an expert in something that causes so much joy. These days I feel like the only thing I’m an expert in anymore is cleaning the house in under 2 hours, largely relying on Clorox wipes and Febreez. 😉 I’m not complaining. I’m stating facts. I still have much to learn in this new business adventure I’m on; co-owning an established small business that my husband started from scratch. I’m slowly getting it. I’m getting into a groove, a routine, and every so often de-railing into a spiral of crazy when I don’t know an answer and have to teach myself something when there is no one around to ask. But that’s all part of my charm. Working from home is ALIEN to me. But it has many benefits, two of them being a clean house and happy kids getting off the bus and immediately messing it up. Ha!

So, when I have some down time I like to feed my creative side by doing more of what I know like the back of my hand. That being, moving shit around and making the best use of space while keeping it aesthetically pleasing to the (namely, my) eyes.

What was next on my home invasion? Well, first I cleaned out every closet, the basement, and even the crawl space. I donated 17 bags of things collected over the past 14 years to Purple Heart and moved on. No time to try to sell anything. That would require patience and having things sit around here longer. I have a little rule (I know, I’m full of little rules). I try to keep it but life sometimes gets in the way:image

Regardless, I feel like that’s more true now, 17 bags of crap lighter.

Next up, the office space. The room as you enter our home hasn’t changed since we moved in 11 years ago, furnished with late 1990’s, brown, shelf heavy furniture and a GOD-awful office chair that my husband swore was soooo comfy. Well, since he doesn’t frequent that chair anymore, it was time for it to GO. I do no have a before pic because we re-did the room so fast and also I didn’t want to document it forever on the internet….use your imaginations friends. Below are some pics I pinned for inspiration. Check out more on my Pinterest board (FC Headquarters). Follow the link to my Pinterest at the side of the page.

I created a board for the project to get me inspired and to hone in on what we wanted the space to feel like color wise and style wise. Decisions had to be made like, if we don’t have file cabinets anymore, where does all the paperwork go? What kind of chair for the desk? What kind of desk? What could the room double as when we weren’t working in it?

a little too feminine for my other half but it was a starting place.

a little too feminine for my other half but it was a starting place.

we decided a long wooden desk and a comfy chair. The desk doesn't have to be the focal point of the room.

we decided a long wooden desk and a comfy chair. The desk doesn’t have to be the focal point of the room.

a structured and classic but soft grey and still comfy couch.

a structured and classic but soft grey and still comfy couch.

over the desk, matching wooden shelving with plumbing hardware acting as brackets.

over the desk, matching wooden shelving with plumbing hardware acting as brackets.

We decided that we wanted more seating in the house for when we had guests over or parties and if we had a small couch and a little table it wouldn’t have such a stiff office feel. Also, when we both are working from home, there would be room for 2 to work.

So, after some inspirational pinning we headed to Home Depot and Home Goods. I am lucky enough to have a husband who can make wooden tables like no one’s business. Actually, there is not much that he can’t do. He’s one of those people who succeeds at whatever he sets his mind to. Not to say that it’s for lack of hard work. He is relentless about getting stuff right when learning something new. At times his intensity at which he throws himself into projects and work is frustrating but most of the time inspiring. It’s something I’m sure our kids will benefit from and he pushes me too to do the same with stuff I’m interested in doing. I’m just more of a “know a little about a lot of things” multitasker kind of social butterfly…That’s why we work.

Here are some of the after pics of the room.

pretty close...AND of course I repurposed some pillows

grey couch. check. we got pretty close…AND of course I repurposed some pillows

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desk. check.

Desk creation. check. It’s pretty right? Still waiting on the shelves. Winter project. Life gets in the way of creating sometimes…

leather ottoman that serves as a table, and storage inside

Leather ottoman that serves as a table, and lots of storage inside. We swapped a  brown leather for grey leather chair. We already owned both, just switched rooms. The brown one we previously had in the office now lives in the family room.

Oh. Hello, not so ugly office chair.

Oh. Hello, not so ugly office chair.

Oh, and do you think I picked out that cow-hide throw on the floor? Think again. My love for all animal prints has rubbed off onto my husband. But I will take credit for the lovely mirrored tray that of course I put a Diptique candle on. A classic and oh so lovely Tuberose scent. DSC_0771

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I had to add a little vintage to the desk too. This caddy used to house some of my bracelets. Don’t worry, the bracelets have a new home just as pretty. Duh. DSC_0762

Like I said we all have our niches; our expertise. Practice makes perfect and I intend to continue making the most of our space until I run out of space and have to move on to other people’s spaces. Friends will be first. Watch out. I’m bossy. I will continue to learn my new role too; I can take on two or more things at once, I’m a freaking mom remember?

Although we all can dream:image

Just kidding. (well, not really) xo friends!

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How to refinish a closet in 2 years and a big girl room in 1 week.

So it may snow in July because I finished my “closet”. Truth is it could very well snow because we did just have a tornado in South Jersey. But I digress.

So this closet project of mine stems from the fact that I use one of the four bedrooms in our house as my closet. And before you get all “it must be nice” on me, the room was turned into a closet before we bought the house. I just placed my belongings in it. And PS, I like my space. We don’t get a lot of overnight guests and the kids each have their own rooms so its been a good set up so far.

Anyway, after some consideration I did want to make some sort of respite for the occasional visiting family member or friend other than my 9 year old’s trundle. So for mother’s day, my husband ripped down the “shoe wall” and we finished painting and made space for a bed. (see the “unfinished business” post from 8 months ago for a refresher).

Good news is that this all tied into the re-do of Miss Eloise’s room for her big 5th birthday! Take the day bed from her and get her a new headboard and create more space for her to play (i.e. hoard things) in the process.

Take a look. I’m pretty pleased. Especially since this gave me a real live creative outlet that I’ve been lacking for the last 5 months from the broken arm situation. And now that I’m no longer in the retail biz, I will need to create more of these extra curricular projects to feed the creative bug inside my head. They will not always be this big of an undertaking but I’m sure I’ll find projects and rooms to rip apart.

Watch out friends….If I come into your home with a tape measure and power drill or 8′ ladder, you may be the next victim. You can pay me in coffee or wine depending on the time of day.

Below is the updated finished closet. I guess I’ll have to stop calling it that as it is a fully functioning guest room as well. Whatever.

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the cozy bed nook and some visual window props from yesteryear and a beautiful milk glass lamp my best friend’s mom gave to me when her mom passed….

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above the bed are some Rubin Toledo illustrations I snagged from old window installations, wedding pics and a framed tribute to my pop pop the shoemaker

above the bed are some Rubin Toledo illustrations I snagged from old window installations, wedding pics and a framed tribute to my pop pop the shoemaker

some fave pics I used to have at my desk at work... Stella Mcartney as a toddler, Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany's, My sweet pug Maggie...

more above the bed; some fave pics I used to have at my desk at work… Stella McCartney as a toddler, Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, My sweet pug Maggie and some Carry On’s…

all the baubles piled on top of my kids old changing table

all the baubles are piled on top of my kids’ old changing table, a pic of my Nana’s wedding day is next to my own, and my ballerina slippers from when I was 5.

a framed tear from an old J.Crew catalog that pretty much describes my style

above the changing table; a framed tear from an old J.Crew catalog that pretty much describes my style

and...coffee table books for every empty surface I can pile them onto.

and…coffee table books for every empty surface I can pile them onto.

Here's the new

Here’s the new “shoe wall”; trimmed down quite a bit as I recently parted with 30 pairs…see ya ladies, moving on.

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the old

the old “shoe wall”

a shot of the actual closet space on the other side of the room. i am not afraid of a little color...

a shot of the actual closet space on the other side of the room and more of the ladder shelf I purchased for my shoes from http://www.pottreybarn.com . i am not afraid of a little color…

So that’s that. Closet chapter closed. 2 years in the making. On the other hand it took me all of 1 week to get that little Pistol Annie’s room fixed up just right… take a peek!

big girl bed! Headboard from wayfair.com beautiful butterfly quilt from landofnod.com

big girl bed! Headboard from http://www.wayfair.com and beautiful butterfly quilt from http://www.landofnod.com

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nessecary book nook

necessary book nook

even more necessary art station

even more necessary art station

When little princess was a baby I made this dollhouse for her from a shelving unit purchased from Wal-Mart. I ordered doll furniture off Amazon, taped some craft paper to the shelves to look like wallpaper and bought some wall vinyls of little woodland creatures to add to the kitsch. I made a roof and chimney from ribbon scraps. viola. Doll House for under $100.

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i meet come on look at how stinking cute this baby nursery is.

i meeeean come on look at how stinking cute this baby nursery is.

admittitly, I sometimes go into her room and set everything up just so...

admittedly, I sometimes go into her room and set everything up just so…

The window treatments are (get ready) an old Anthropologie paper calendar that I tore apart to re-use all the pretty prints (i couldn’t bear to toss it away).  I threaded it through some burlap and just flung it over the curtain rod.

I purchased those

I purchased those candle “chandeliers” in  2001 at a store that no longer exists. Illuminations. They used to hang in the living room of our old house. Reuse and repurpose all the stuff people!!!

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The wall decor is the same as when her crib and day bed were just below. A vintage ABC poster find from her brother's nursery, a hawiian dress my parents brought back for her before she was born, some early artwork done in daycare, a picture from my big girl room in the 80's, and a butterfly garland purchased from the flower show

The wall decor is the same as when her crib and day bed were just below. A vintage ABC poster find from her brother’s nursery, a Hawaiian dress my parents brought back for her before she was born, some early artwork done in daycare, a picture from my big girl room in the 80’s, a bird from an old holiday trim at work (his name is spot), and a butterfly garland purchased from the flower show

And every girl needs a bauble station like her mommy….DSC_0353

and also a place to put her stuffed animals…We’re currently on a 4 at a time rotation. She keeps the rest in her tent and in various spots throughout the house and cars. DSC_0344

There you have it. 2 years to finish my mess and 1 week for Pinky Dinky Do’s big girl retreat. Hope you enjoyed the pics and get inspired to move some of your own “crap” around and re-invent! Or call me… I have power tools and a ladder 😉

xo friends!!DSC_0396

i like to look at you.

Collection: a number of things collected or assembled together. things gathered in to a mass or pile. see also: Accumulation

I collect stuff. I think we all do in some way. These days it seems the only things that I collect are laundry, sports equipment and crumbs in the kitchen BUT… BK (before kids) I did acquire a few collections that I adore to this day and someday would like to start up again.

The problem is that I seldom find myself wandering around a vintage store or antique market these days and if I am I’m usually so overwhelmed I end up with nothing but a soft pretzel and a latte.

When collecting, I tend to display them in groups. I also try to find uses for some things too while they’re in the group. (like for storage etc) It’s function, order mixed with a little chaos.

When we purchased our first home, (a 1920’s cape cod that was full of cute details and lots of wainscoting), I already knew it would be colorful; Brightly colored walls and white trim. But I wanted to balance the walls with some white.

Milk Glass, and lots of it would fill my red and white kitchen! I have loved milk glass since I was little and have a few pieces that used to be in my nana’s house as well. In our second house the collection is more broken up, but still collections in their own right.

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The dining room holds vases on display and the rest I use for entertaining, but it can still be seen and adds bright white accents to the room.

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DSC_0100Moving upstairs I use a few pieces to hold jewelry and in the bathroom to hold hair stuff. There is even a beautiful lamp that used to belong to my friend’s mom-mom. Her mom knew I loved milk glass and when she passed, gave it to me because she knew I’d display it. Pieces that belonged to people I know are my favorite. DSC_0102

Oh, there’s another little dish. I guess you could say that perfume is another one of my “collections”.image

In the kitchen I have a few vases in the corner to hold the plants that I kill every 5 months. I try so hard but I’m not the one with the green thumb. P.S.- How fantastic is that pic in the background of my nana and her 2 sisters at a graduation party in the 90’s? I especially love the plastic Miller Lite cup. It’s probably whiskey. You go aunt Caroline 😉

Moving to another collection. When I got engaged, I didn’t register for China. I wanted to collect vintage Pink Depression Glass instead. This is  collection that I would truly love to grow. My mom and dad gave us enough at my shower to use for small dinner parties and I love them. They are so dainty and we really don’t use it all that often but when I set the table with them, it really looks beautiful.

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In the “wearable” category, I have several collections. When you like the way something looks on you, go for it right? Ha!

Well, I know we’ve discussed this one before…

It's sort of a problem. But not really if you consider it's a neutral...

It’s sort of a problem. But not really if you consider it’s a neutral…

Anyhoo….

Vintage bags. Colorful and sometimes straw or wicker. I also have no means by which to display them yet. You see, I STILL haven’t finished my closet. So, here they are from 2 different points of view. Closet floor and foyer floor. Worth noting: that little gold sequin mesh bag? from my senior prom 1993. I bought it at a thrift store back then, circa early 80’s. It accompanied me with a long red halter dress my mom made, gold platforms and gold vintage 1960’s gloves. Use your imagination. Photo is sooo not available…. DSC_0109 DSC_0114 DSC_0119

A super favorite item I used to request as a gift or buy for myself once in a while were fashion coffee table books. I had quite a collection going. Truth is I know there are more somewhere but as I said before, the closet is not finished. So right now I have them tucked away in corners. Some of them  hold up my vintage bags and jewelry vessels as well. I haven’t opened them in a long time. Soon… when there are no sporting events to attend. For now I like to look at them stacked, and waiting to be re-read or discovered by a new fashionista someday….DSC_0131

Let’s talk anchors. I like anchors. All kinds. (It’s a boater thing). So I’ve started to accumulate some in the jewelry category. After I had our son, my husband bought me a very dainty diamond anchor necklace that I rarely take off and the collection grew from there. DSC_0141 DSC_0160

More on the jewelry front: vintage pins. It started with plastic 50’s pins and evolved into sparkle and shine pins from the 50’s thru the 80’s. Of course the flamingo is my favorite. DSC_0108

For our wedding I bought all of my bridesmaids a vintage pin and a vintage beaded handbag. A lot of them still have them today and often message me when they wear them. That was the point; to evoke a  memory. image image

Collections are cool. Little personal snippets of a life curated.

what are your favorite collections?image image

xoxo friends!

There’s no place like home etc…

I must apologize for the lack of posting. I’ve been preoccupied. Where have I been, you ask? Well, in the visual retail world November is like getting ready to put on a new Broadway show or building the set for the Super Bowl half time show… you get the picture. Maybe not. May you never have to. I kid. I kid.

So I’m back from Oz after the Black Friday– decorate, work crazy hours, tweak the decorations, climb ladders, work till your feet and eyes feel like they’re bleeding (and your hands really are bleeding from the garland and wire cutting)— weekend. Then I found myself at Home Sweet Home on Tuesday. ALONE. It’s time for my own decorating party.

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Now of course I have a few rules about decorating at home. #1 No decorating until the “work” installation is behind me. #2 Always decorate immediately after the “work” installation is behind me because if I wait, I will not have any motivation to do so at all. #3 Don’t take it too seriously and the kids get to do the tree with me…no rules. (p.s. the last one is a serious test for a visual merchandiser)

So I’m going to share some of my stuff with you. I have an eclectic mix (no…me?) of decorations ranging from vintage collectables to things saved from childhood to crafty and sometimes sparkly items. I mix them all together and somehow it seems to work for my house. Each room has a slightly different feel.

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This year I started in the family room. I have a ton of these vintage and new tiny trees that I mix into the fireplace/ mantel display. This year I did a little terrarium on the coffee table as well mixed with some coral brought home from the Caribbean on our 10th anniversary.

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Here’s a snippet of the mantel. The lights and gold starburst come from an old store holiday trim (a retail perk…getting to bring home the old stuff) The sparkle garland is from Homegoods.

Below are my favorite sparkly pinecones tied to my curtains…

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Here’s a snap of the corner coffee table. I love dim light and candles. These white and silver balls give off such a pretty glow.

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Moving into the kitchen, it’s a little more fun and kitschy. Some woodland creatures mixed in with some vintage pixies (stolen from my childhood tree; thanks mom)

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backing up for  a better view…

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Assigned seating in the kitchen to keep the peace. The wreaths are from the church pews at our wedding back in 2001.

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Someone snuck into this pic…Vintage stocking on a vintage mirror. There’s something I soooo love about paint chipping off old things….

Moving on to the hall…a continuation of crafty, woodland things.

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Bathroom stuff:

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Oh, then there’s the obligatory elf (I mean cute idea but I can’t count the number of times “mommy” has failed to escort it to the new location before waking in a panic at 3am to do so— another Pinterest board I refuse to follow) he sits next to a vintage tray painted with a Partridge in a pear tree. I love this one.

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In the dining room I like to play off the milk glass theme and get a little sparkly.

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After 12 years of Catholic school, the manger still is a part of my decor and the kids have to cover the baby Jesus as he is not born till Christmas Day. Traditions are important. I keep this one so the kids can remember it’s not all about the gifts. (and we don’t make it to church Every Sunday…) This manger was a wedding gift and I’ve always loved it for being simple and classy.

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So that was Tuesday. Of course there was wine 😉

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Also, no tree or outdoor lights yet. Next week. And as I said before, the next portion heavily involves the kids. They need to contribute. Mommy is tired. And only they know just where to put that paper scribbled wreath or that foam frame with the pic of one of them in preschool in an elf hat. I save all of it as my mom did. They are made with love and deserve to be shown off for all the visitors including Santa to see.

imageWatching their “shows” by the Christmas lights.

unfinished business

My closet…where to begin. When we bought our first home in 2001, there was 1 closet in the entire house. It was a cape cod style dating back to 1901 and so very charming. But there was one closet, in the only bedroom. It was very small and I had to get creative. My husband and I shared the closet. I also had things stashed in the 1901 basement in plastic containers, up in the attic on a rolling rack and under the bed to name a few places.

Listen, I’m not saying I spend a lot of money on expensive clothes, shoes etc; quite the opposite. I don’t like to look like everyone else so I don’t buy a lot of “branded or designer” pieces. Also, I’m a somewhat of a bargain hunter and a vintage lover and collector (mostly 40’s-60’s and some 80’s)…BUT I have been working in fashion/ retail for the past 23 years so I have developed quite a collection.

You can imagine my surprise and delight when discovering inside the house we live in today that the previous owners turned an entire bedroom into a closet. When we were deciding whether or not to purchase, the owners brought up the option to have the “closet” disassembled. HELLS NO, (well I didn’t say that but close). In my calculations we were going to have 2 kids at the max, and most of our family and friends live locally (sorry Cali cousins and NC friends :)) and we would figure out sleeping arrangements when the time for visits arose. So that “bedroom”? Mine. Plus I was 4 months pregnant at the time and no one was arguing with me.

So I got my very own room. Fast forward through 5-8 years and 2 kids later, it became a little unorganized and a catch-all for some extraneous things such as my son’s keepsake bin and lots of file containers of old stuff (photos, wedding remnants, things that my mom made me take out of my parents house dating back to high school). I decided to do a thorough reorganizing and ditching of pack ratty things as well as really condensing my clothes to what I truly wear. Side-note from an earlier post: If you haven’t worn it in 2 years. LET IT GO. Unless of course it has real sentimental value. So, after the purge I was left with mint green walls that I thought were too juvenile and wire racks that were boring the hell out of me.

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I wanted more for the room. I wanted it to be a space that I could work, read, write, and fool around with creating outfits in (yeah I still do this at 39 years old, it’s part of the job and quite therapeutic.. OK?!). Oh, and I also wanted to be able to take the occasional 7 minute nap in it.

I didn’t want to spend a lot (or any) money and I have like 5 minutes a week to work on it. So I started one day by literally ripping the wire closet racks out of the walls, spackling and then standing back and thinking OK well now I really HAVE to do something. Clothes etc. were strewn on the floor and I worked one night at a time on this for about 3 months. Luckily (for my closet project but not for real life) we had the worst winter in history last year and snow kept us in so I could finish for the most part.

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These were my inspiration pics. (pinterest is the DEVIL)

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I think I got pretty close to my original vision though. The only thing I purchased was paint. I chose dark navy walls, white trim and for the closet inside the closet, a muted lilac. I placed my old haphazard flea market desk, and $1 garage sale curved wood chair (all bought in the 90’s), in the actual “closet” and created a little nook to hold all my business; bills, stationary, to do lists, and some pretty things to look at like my son’s hand print form preschool and gorgeous coffee table books about fashion that no one in this house cares about but me. To the side of the white desk I used an old cd rack to hold books I’ve read and part of my vintage bag collection. I backed that up with the longer hanging garments like maxi skirts and long sundresses.

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A little tip: Use your stuff. Don’t be afraid to move some furniture (like the little stuff- chairs, desks, lamps), around the house from room to room. This is how you get away with re-creating and not spending extra $$. Also, go into that basement, garage or attic. Dig through the crap. You may find a bin or basket or chair that can look great in a new space with or without a new coat of paint. I can’t count the number of times my husband has come home to find that Everything in the house had been repurposed, furniture  been moved and pictures on the wall completely rearranged, with no money spent. It’s called re-merchandising your home. Do it. It’s fun. You can fool all your friends. 

Back to the closet. Next, there’s the racks that I kept for my hanging: shirts, sweaters, jackets, skirts, pants. Of course because I’m a merchandiser, they are left to right, light to dark. Scary I know.

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My son’s old changing table and dresser now holds my belts, scarves, wrapping paper, ribbon, boxes and bags in the drawers. Up top are the jewels. I want to be able to see all the sparkle. The whole reason for the room is so I can see everything at once and be more efficient at 5:30 am getting ready for the day. It’s also super fun for my daughter to come in and try stuff on at the ripe old age of 4. Thank God she’s more of a tom boy for now…She’s just interested enough to come in and browse…

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That all took about 2-3 months to finish. Then it got nice outside and we headed for the sun, sand and surf. No time for DIY. Not in the summer. No way. So, here we are in October, I have one problem. The shoe wall. It needs to come out. I’ve purged many pairs that really were hanging on by a thread. I have decided that we need a bed of some sort; just to be fair to those Cali and NC guests :).  My awesome woodworking husband is now handed the challenge of making me some sort of shelving unit to house those shoes; behind the door where this beauty lives currently.

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the UNFINISHED BUSINESS

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It’s time to finish this project. God help me, I’m still going to be tweaking this during the first (or third) snowfall. But I feel like I’ve achieved what I set out for so far. I didn’t freak out or rush and it was kind of fun. I didn’t really have any help and feel accomplished and proud of the outcome. I hope this inspires you to do something with your snowy days that lie ahead, although Bloody Mary’s while watching the Breakfast Club is just as acceptable.

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xo friends!

Let me know what you think! Shoe wall ideas or any ideas welcome!!

Guest Dressed. Gen X.

Once upon a time, pretty much from 1999-2003, being a guest at a wedding or actually being in a wedding party was my part-time job. At one point I had at least 9 bridesmaids gowns in my closet. I also had no trouble figuring out what to wear if I were a guest. There was a plethora of sundresses, sparkly skirts and sky-high heels in my closet as well as a small amount of disposable income because there was a smaller mortgage and no offspring.

Now, wedding invitations are few and far between mainly because most of the people we know are married and have procreated already and are running around to soccer games, not cocktail hours. So, when we do get an invite, there’s some excitement for sure. On one hand, I can not wait to hang out at cocktail hour and tear it up a bit on the dance floor without having to stand around waiting for pictures to be taken or hold the bride’s train in the bathroom. On the other, I want to make sure I’m dressed appropriately, stylishly, and comfortable enough to hang out for the duration. Oh, and I don’t necessarily want to join the black dress brigade that seems to be the standard for my fellow Gen X’ers when it comes to semi black tie events.

Case in point, The October Wedding. Kind of tricky as a guest. You can’t really fall back on the strappy sundress, strappy heels, and already tan, bare face and freckles uniform. The weather is cooler, and many of these fall weddings are partially outdoors. You need to be prepared for mother nature and also not look like you should be barefoot on the beach in the Keys when in reality the leaves are falling all around you. You are smarter and more mature than that my sweet 38-40 something friends.

I’m going to take you through some options here. These are fool-proof so listen up.

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outfit choice #1

Outfit choice #1: Pick a dress, a neutral colored dress as long as it’s not black and it is a flattering jersey or silk and flows nicely in all the right places, with a little help of course from some smoothing underpinnings (shhhh). Add lots of pearls and or chains. Add a red or berry lip (Ruby Woo matte lipstick from Mac looks good on EVERYONE trust me. If you want to soften it, add a nude lipstick underneath) and some bronzer. Bare legs. Black pointy or strappy heels. If your gorgeous grown up dress is sleeveless bring a black cashmere (or cashmere-esque) scarf. You know you all have one somewhere or you can purchase one for like $19 at Target or Forever 21.

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outfit choice #2

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Outfit choice #2: Black pencil skirt. It can be plain jersey, silk, or lace or have some sort of sparkle. Pair it with a tank in a nude color that either sparkles or shines depending on the skirt. Top it off with a black or cream short, fitted blazer lots of pearls. Layer those puppies up. Finish with black pointy heels and bare legs (maybe smooth on some Zen Tan; life changer). WARNING. This outfit while classy and elegant may impede on how much you are able to consume in the way of food/ drink. But you’ll look fab. You just may not want to sit down after inhaling all those mushroom pastry poofs.

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outfit choice #3

Outfit choice #3: IF YOU MUST be a part of the Black Dress Brigade follow this guidance. Please be unique. Choose something with a little lace or a deep neckline. You can do either bare legs OR black opaque tights depending on your fabulous shoe. Layer it with a beautiful vintage cardigan (or something that LOOKS vintage not just a plain Loft number). Look for something with a bit of personality or sparkle. Just because it’s someone else’s day doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feel and look pretty. Remember it’s probably the only Saturday you’ll be out with your significant other with out kids this month.

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So here’s what I ended up with after much back and forth. A fall sundress (Leith: http://www.nordstrom.com). It’s dressy but not too fancy; that way I can get some use out of it for work with a denim jacket and converse. I paired it with my nana’s fur collar that she gave me when I was rummaging through her drawers in the 90’s. I added a grown up necklace  ( http://www.myfunkyfindings.com ) and some old sparkle heels that I have kept as my standard fall/ winter occasion heels for like 10 years now. It’s always good to take care of your heels. They rarely go out of style if you stick to classic silhouettes. Hair up, or maybe down. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll have to check the humidity levels for that day :). Ready to eat, Drink and Dance the night fantastic with my almost 40 self.

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sunset 6pm tuesday

Look up. From your phone, iPad, laptop, whatever. Get up and go outside. That’s what we did this weekend. And what we will be doing every weekend until Mother Nature kicks us IN. Winter weather is weeks away, unfortunately. I know, I’m saying this and right now I’m sitting next to my screen door that is open at 9pm and the forecast tomorrow is 75 and sunny. The whole weekend was like that too. But even though we were in tank tops and shorts at the soccer fields, in approximately 3 weeks I will be buried under a blanket and scarf and Northface jacket, still cheering loudly, but mostly wishing for a fireplace and warmer socks.

So gather up your crew the coming weekends or even use what is left of the weeknights daylight, and get out there. Here’s some inspiration for ya:

after soccer game #1 Saturday. 1st fall farm visit of the season.

after soccer game #1 Saturday. 1st fall farm visit of the season

decisions, decisions

decisions, decisions

kitty's all "please, no photos, I'm napping"

kitty’s all “please, no photos, I’m napping”

flip flops and muscle shirts. and pumpkins.

flip-flops and muscle shirts. and pumpkins.

Follow this by grilled cheeses and beers (and lemonade for the kiddos) Saturday. Done.

For Sunday’s outdoor activity, before soccer game #2, the boys played basketball at home while I took my girl (who is soooo not a shopper) to an amazing outdoor vintage and craft show. I crossed my fingers for no tantrums and minimal snack stops, because this is one of my all-time favorite activities that I NEVER do anymore. But we need to initiate the little miss because she’s 4 and it’s time.

We got to visit with an amazing friend of mine from college who was showing her jewelry there. She is one of the most talented and creative people I know. (and I know a lot of talented and creative people) Here’s a couple peeks and some more inspiration.

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eyeing up the baubles

mmmm....so many baubles...

mmmm….so many baubles…

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helping Aunt Jo bag the baubles for customers

here's the bauble I choose. Go Big or Go Home. (Findings Jewelry http//myfunkyfindings.com)

here’s the bauble I choose. Go Big or Go Home. (Findings Jewelry http://www.myfunkyfindings.com)

Sunday. Done. (well not before soccer and then a backyard bbq, fire pit and football of course but you get the idea)

For some weeknight outdoor inspiration here’s the following suggestion. Get outside before the light is all gone. I’m not gonna lie. Losing daylight is the most horrible thing about fall for me. UGH. I’m a total summer girl. I love 9pm sunsets. So, you can understand that I get a little sad when I’m running (sooo not a real runner…I try my best, and I only run outside) the sun sets at 6:30, then 6 then 5:30 etc… But, I’m gonna soak it up till its gone.

If I reach the top of the hill on a certain farm country road…this is what I get to see…

sunset 6:00pm

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So. Lesson today: Look Up. Get Outside.

Oops, I almost forgot. I wore my sparkly new baubles with an equally sparkly top today. When Tuesday starts at 5:30am and is followed by an hour and 1/2 commute, you bet your ass I’m going for maximum sparkle. 😉

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