Painting the Bedroom | ORC Week 3

Welcome to the halfway point of our ORC! Or at least the halfway point in the time-frame, not necessarily the work! (Or is that just at our house?)

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If you haven’t been following along on our One Room Challenge, you can hop over and see what’s up here; and if you are completely lost and have no idea what the One Room Challenge even is, it’s a 6 week design challenge where you work on one room from top to bottom. It’s crazy, it’s fun and in the end there are a whole lot more beautiful rooms in existence with Linda of Calling It Home to thank! Be sure to hop over to her blog for more! (And to see the Design Hosts and there spaces, check here; for the other guest participants and their spaces, check here.)

So, what progress did we make over the course of the last week?

On Friday, I purchased paint color swatches, with every intention of swatching that evening after work. The plan was to swatch Friday, make a decision Saturday and buy the paint, prime on Sunday morning, and paint Tuesday evening. With trim work to be touched up as needed one evening or this coming weekend.

I bought the samples to swatch, got them home and popped them open, only to discover that the pigment had not been added to 3 of the 4 cans of paint! UGH! Then Saturday I just couldn’t deal and Sunday I couldn’t get to the paint store.

So, Sunday we enjoyed a nice little brunch date and then came home to start shifting furniture. We moved the desk into it’s new home in the living room (I’ll share post ORC once the living room is back to normal), and worked on clearing the little things around the house to prepare for painting whenever that would happen.

Monday I decided to just make a decision, pick a color and buy the paint. No swatching required. I do this every day for other people, it shouldn’t be that complicated!! So that’s what I did… and interestingly enough, I chose a color I hadn’t planned to swatch to begin with.

I went with a tinted primer to save ourselves a coat of paint and some time and now the room is fully primed and ready to be painted. I can’t wait to see the color once it is finished and on the walls!

And when you have a one bedroom condo, and your one room challenge is your bedroom, you sleep with a mattress on the floor. At least until they come to do the floors and the room has to be cleared completely… then we will stay with my parents for a few days (who conveniently just moved to PA and are now only 2.5 hours away), and then sleep on the pull out couch in the living room for another night or two before we can set furniture and the rug back on the floor.

The other progress made this week was on our original closet. That space has acted like a disorganized drop all for off season/less-utilized things forever. So this week, I was able to take it all out, sort through it, re-organize it and put it back in a much more efficient way! The top shelf has a crate filled with camping gear on one side and our backpacking backpacks on the other side. The bottom has all of our nested suitcases, our Christmas tree, the sleeping bag that didn’t fit with the camping gear and a wreath frame. I plan to build a shelf just over the height of where the red bag reaches to store our AC units/window fans on when they aren’t in use. But for now, this is SO much better than it was!

We also had to address some of our choices being backordered. The crib is backordered until December, the dresser until end of November, the light/fan until December… so basically all the new things are on backorder.

The crib we love and it is the only one that fits in our space that we do like so we are just going to hold out for it, since the baby isn’t due until January anyway, even though it would be nice to have it in place for the reveal of the challenge, we’ll have to make it work without the crib.

The dresser we found a few alternate options that work with our required dimensions and the design, so we are going to decide which way we want to go on that and purchase the dresser this weekend.

The fan/light combo, with some additional research I was able to find it at an alternate retailer in stock and it should be here next week! (Few!)

I’ve also started sourcing some of the little extras for the space… art and accessories, and this weekend I need to make a decision on the blinds as well. Unless you guys think I should stick with the variety we have currently… broken blinds are all the rage, right? #trendsetter.

Next week the floors are also scheduled to be done, though depending on when paint is actually finished I may push it back a few days, so check back next week on that one, and then at least by this time next week we should be fully painted, and hopefully with freshly refinished floors!

Here’s an updated look at our list:

  • Paint.
  • Swap the light fixture for a ceiling fan (as much as I don’t love them they are practical and we will want the circulation it will offer.
  • Refinish the floors (so they will flow with the living room.
  • Leave the moldings and radiator the hell alone!!
  • Hem the closet curtains (I like the softness of the closet opening/closing with curtains, especially with baby, but they need to be hemmed).
  • Replace the blinds layer of the window treatments.
  • Move the desk and workspace out.
  • Move the baby furniture in.
  • Accessorize!

Moving along, slowly but surely, and not yet completely questioning why we are doing this to ourselves again, so that’s something!! How are all of you doing with your projects? Anyone else participating and starting to feel the craziness of the ORC? If you aren’t participating, are you following? And do you have a favorite space so far?

My favorite thing about this challenge is how it brings all these great bloggers together and provides such incredible inspiration for all sorts of rooms and spaces of every shape, size and style. So fun!! I hope you’re enjoying it this round.

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Decisions & Inspiration | ORC Week 2

In cased you missed the announcement last week, we are joining in on the One Room Challenge again this season! The ORC is hosted by Linda at Calling it Home and has been running for 11 seasons now I believe. It has become a challenge that many design and decor bloggers and enthusiasts look forward to every Spring and Fall Season. The challenge is to pick one room and transform it in six short weeks. We first participated last spring with our Living Room and with baby on the way, we knew we wanted to participate this fall to get our space ready for our new arrival! Here are some inspiration spaces for our room:


(Sources, clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)

Since last week not much has changed in our bedroom. Okay, nothing has changed. But there has been a lot of planning and brainstorming of details happening. So without further ado, here’s a look at what I’ve been up to with our space this week!

Color, or a lack thereof. The bedroom right now is green, like a really pretty jewel-tone green, but it needs to be lightened up. Though I debate painting it the moodiest of deep eggplant purples, or seriously stormy gray, for what we are doing, neutral is key. I do feel that babies can thrive in dark spaces, but, for us we are also keeping resale in the back of our mind since we won’t be painting again before we sell our place (whenever that is) this is it. Buyers are unimaginative and that is putting it nicely… so light and bright it is. And I think the change will be refreshing for us too!

Texture, texture, texture! Since we aren’t finding out the gender of Baby P, and we will all be sharing the room, in addition to keeping the colors neutral, we are using a lot of texture to add to the space. Our area rug in here is a white short pile shag carpet with a grey linear pattern, which we will keep and just steam clean to refresh. Our curtains have a great visual texture to them, they will also stay. I’m considering re-upholstering the bed though… currently it is a light tan/beige color. I’d love to have it be more in the gray/white/ivory family we are going towards, so I’m considering a white or ivory linen or velvet…or maybe charcoal… Thoughts? The bedding will pretty much stay as is (white with greige border detail, and quilted greige euros) with the introduction of some new pillows maybe… I’m thinking of maybe some of the fun lamb pillows we have in the living room.

Let there be light! I want to make sure we have enough layered lighting in the room so that if baby is sleeping and we want to read before bed, we still have the option. I’m thinking of hanging some pendants over each side of the bed for that purpose and then adding a lamp/nightlight set-up on the changing area to make sure we can see what we need to in the middle of the night. And then I just have to decide on which ceiling fan/light combo to go with. Here are the ones I’m considering (clockwise from top L, 1, 2, 3, 4.):

What do you think? I need some opinions on the fan/light situation as well as the option to either leave the headboard alone or make the change and if I change, what color/texture to go with… help!! Follow along with our progress every week here, and be sure to also hop over to the Calling it Home blog to see the other Guest and Host participant spaces. These are so great for inspiration, definitely worth the time to read through the posts!

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Three Days in Georgetown, Malaysia

Our second stop of our #PickensinSEAsia adventure was in Georgetown, which is on the island of Penang in Malaysia. We heard about this destination first in our travel guide, but after doing a bit more research, it seemed like a good stop to build into our itinerary for a few reasons. Georgetown is well known for its culinary culture as well as its rich historical background.

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We arrived to Georgetown (about an hour and a half flight from Singapore), in the early afternoon on day one and after checking into our hotel, we set out to explore. There is one main road in Georgetown (Lebuh ) that has all of the main touristy religious destinations, so those were amongst our first stops.

We first went to Kapitan Keling Mosque, walked past Sri Mahamariamman temple (which was closed at the time), headed over to Kuan Yin Temple and lastly stopped at St. George’s Church. So in the span of a few hours and a few blocks we visited places of worship for Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Catholic faiths. I love that you can see all of these different sights and learn all about these different cultures so close together, it’s a pretty unique experience to say the least.

Afterwards we made our way out to the coast and soaked up the views for a while before touring Fort Cornwallis, which was actually really interesting to see with some of the vintage cannons, the unique shape and the history of the fort on the island. Next to the fort, there was a large field, The Esplanade, that happened to be featuring an exhibit of the United Buddy Bears while we were there. Although we didn’t take any pictures of the bears for who only knows what reason, they were all decorated by artists from different countries and positioned in such a way to be linked when joined to create a united circle. The bears apparently travel around the world for different exhibits and you can look up more on them here.

We wrapped up day one with a walk through Little India and a delicious diner there before calling it a night.

Day two kicked off with a visit to the Blue Mansion, aka Cheong Fatt Tze’s Mansion. If you have any interest in architecture or design at all, or if you enjoy history, or you’re just a fan of great storytelling, the Blue Mansion is worth the trip for the guided tour. We both really enjoyed the tour of the mansion for all of the aforementioned reasons. The interiors and architecture were something else. The colors, patterns, textures… talk about inspiration (I could do a whole post on this place… but I won’t)! The history and the way our guide shared the stories of how the mansion came to be were the icing on top.

After the Blue Mansion, we made our way over to the mint mansion… Okay they don’t call it that, but the colors of Penang and the Georgetown Heritage zone were really special. This second stop was at the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, which also had a really unique history and some great interior and architectural inspiration. We had a tour here as well and our guide was entertaining to say the least. I’d say it was another worthwhile tour here.

When were were finished touring these mansions we found our way to some fresh dragon fruit and pineapple from a hawker stand, and then found our way down to the Klan Jetties. The jetties are series’ of stilt houses that extend out over the water where people still live today. Though many are open to tourists, you should be mindful and considerate as you walk through that these are people’s homes. We walked through the Chew Jetty, one of the more popular Klan Jetties and it was definitely worth the stroll just to see the way some of the people live here. Really unlike anything you’d see back home.

We wandered and meandered through the streets making our way back to the hotel and seeing what else we could see along the way. For dinner we had local Peranakan style cuisine that was so tasty, and followed it up with good old fashioned American dessert at a little cafe we stumbled upon.

Day Three, we opted to find the hop on, hop off bus for Penang. This bus had two route plans, one for the Heritage zone, which we felt we had thoroughly explored and one for the beach route that leads you out to the jungle. We opted for the beach route and the jungle. One winding scenic ride, loads of bug spray and 2 huge bottles of water later, we were at the trailhead and on our way out to Monkey Beach! This trail route is heavily trafficked and very clear with the exception of one tree we had to scootch under. The scenery along the trail was really awe inspiring with the water off to our right following us around the edge of the island and the jungle to our right, it was like nothing I’d ever seen before and it was stunning.

We made it out to the beach and waded in the water, took in the sights and had some snacks. We didn’t see any monkeys on the beach as the name would imply, but we did see monkeys both on our way there and back-it was amazing! There was an option to hike further past Monkey Beach out to Lighthouse Point I believe it was called, and we thought we’d try it, but we got about halfway and the path was a bit trickier which we hadn’t anticipated with our footwear and clothing choices, so we turned back. What we saw on our hike was really incredible, and if we ever go back, I’d definitely make sure to dress appropriately and hike the jungle a bit more.

After climbing out of the jungle, we had a few more snacks and bought more water while we waited for the bus. Then we made our way around the rest of the beach route, enjoying the drive past many other sites on the island. Again, with more time we would have maybe included some additional stops, but we prioritized what we wanted to do and made it through our list. Everything that we did get to see/do in our short time here I would highly recommend to anyone heading this way. Penang and specifically Georgetown, were a great cultural experience all around.

For more on our travels through Southeast Asia, come back Monday–next stop is Kuala Lumpur! Be sure to also read up about our first stop Singapore and continue on with all of the destinations of our trip!

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Nesting the Bedroom | One Room Challenge

Whelp, it’s that time again! Last spring we dove in head first to the one room challenge for our living room. It was a TON of work, a TON of stress and so so worth it. If you want to take a look back, check out the living room here.

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This time around, I have promised the hubs that I will keep the project more manageable. I have a more clear plan and budget in place this time, we aren’t touching the moldings at all, so it won’t get out of hand, right?

Here’s a look at our bedroom now (Warning, This is real life, after work, no pre-cleaning for photos or styling…it’s not pretty.):

When we first closed on the condo, we added this closet. Our room was a decent size, but we had no storage. Not zero storage, I mean we had the original closet which was about 30″ x 30″ of not super usable space. We definitely needed more.

The desk used to be underneath those floating shelves, but because it is about two feet deep, it took up a lot of the floor space so we shifted it into the closet. In the process of putting the desk there, we also re-arranged the height of my hanging bars to accommodate some of my long hanging items to be with my shirts, and the rest go in the hall closet with our coats. It may not sound like a good system, but it actually works really well for us.

Here’s a look at the plan:

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Did you see that? The word’s “baby’s crib” and “dresser with changing pad” appear on the plan… that’s because we are expecting! Surprise! What better way to get our space ready for baby than the one room challenge! In case life right now isn’t full enough. And now you understand why I’m calling this round of the ORC “Nesting the Bedroom.”

But let’s face it, next spring we will probably be out. (Baby P is due end of January, and we are over the moon excited, but we likely won’t be doing any big room makeovers while baby is so young.) Though time will tell😉

So the plan/list to tackle is as follows:

  • Paint.
  • Swap the light fixture for a ceiling fan (as much as I don’t love them they are practical and we will want the circulation it will offer.
  • Refinish the floors (so they will flow with the living room.
  • Leave the moldings and radiator the hell alone!!
  • Hem the closet curtains (I like the softness of the closet opening/closing with curtains, especially with baby, but they need to be hemmed).
  • Replace the blinds layer of the window treatments.
  • Move the desk and workspace out.
  • Move the baby furniture in.
  • Accessorize!

Here’s a look at some of the pieces I’m planning to bring in for baby:

Sources: Crib | Dresser | Art | Mirror | Ceiling Fan 

What do you think?? In our one bedroom condo, space is limited with where everything can go, but we do love our space and our neighborhood. As much as we’d love more space, practically I know baby would likely be in our room for the first 6 months +/- anyway so we are going to make our space work for us. It’s not impossible and I think it will be good to share that it can be done!

Did you follow along with our last One Room Challenge? Are you an ORC participant? What are you working on this time around, or what are you excited to follow along with this time around? I have to admit, I kind of love the hectic level of chaos this adds to our world for these 6 quick weeks, around week 3-5 I may say I hate it and ask what I was thinking doing this again, but by the time week 6 rolls around, we will be so happy we did it and the space that currently isn’t looking so good will shine! And that’s what I love!

Hop over to Calling It Home to check out all of the ORC hosts’ projects along with the guest participants’ projects, there are already more than 150 people joining in on the fun!

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Three Days in Singapore

I’ve finally been sifting through all of our many many pictures from #PickensinSEAsia so that I could share about our trip. I’m breaking it down by destination and hopefully you’ll enjoy the series. First up is Singapore!

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Three days in Singapore is simply not enough. We really had 2.5 days, but who’s counting. Click on any of the images to enlarge and I apologize in advance for the oversharing of details and imagery, I couldn’t help it!

So, First things first, we landed just after midnight local time which I’d highly recommend (or any late eve landing if you can swing it) so that you can just get to your hotel, go to bed and wake up on the time–it worked swimmingly for us!

Our first day there, we opted to go in search of the hop-on hop-off bus. We’ve found that these are great ways to get to all of the main city sites especially when you have limited time. Most of the key tourist stops will be on one of their routes and you will get earphones with info along the way. The tours are all operated under different companies and you just have to look up where the routes may cross your paths and how to purchase in advance so if it’s cash on the bus, you are prepared to pay.

Unfortunately, despite adjusting well to the time, we didn’t adjust well with our sense of direction. We ended up turning right when we should have turned left and walked through a section of Chinatown, which despite not being part of our plan for that morning, was really interesting and fun. There are walking tours for Chinatown and Little India in Singapore that you can look into, or you can just wander through these areas and explore depending on your travel style.

Once we got ourselves turned around and back on track, we did find the bus and made it over to one of our first sites for the trip: The Singapore Flyer. This high flying ferris wheel was really cool, I’m not a super huge fan of heights, but P loves these types of attractions, and despite the hazy day, we still could see for miles. They say on a clear day you can see all the way to Malaysia, and if we still weren’t oriented enough, this vantage point allowed us to really get our bearings in the city.

When we got our feet back on solid ground we opted to walk across the river and made our way to the Gardens at Marina Bay. This area is one that if we had more time, I’d love to have explored at night with the sculptural trees and bridgewalk all illuminated. It looks stunning in pictures and I’m sure it would have been beautiful to see live. That said, we opted to just walk around the area for a little while, take in the Cloud and Flower Domes and explore the pathways that lead around the garden. It was a great walk, and we were able to pick back up the bus afterwards to keep our day going.

Next up, The Botanical Gardens. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I love flowers. LOVE. Any flower, any color, I just love them! So walking around the botanical gardens was a must for our trip. The gardens are so peaceful and they have a variety of of little gardens you can walk through. My favorites were the Orchid Garden (worth the fee-the botanical gardens in general are free of charge), the fragrance garden and our walk through the rainforest area.

Once we finished up here, we hopped back on the bus and stopped on Orchard Road, one of the big shopping districts in Singapore. Not really to do any shopping but our hotel and many restaurants were close enough to this stop that we just explored the area as we made our way back towards the Quays (pronounced ‘keys’–little ports along the river).

We had dinner in Clark Quay, sharing the famous Singapore Chili Crab, definitely a must try if you are okay with spicy foods, the flavor was really good, and even though it was extremely messy to eat, it was fun to share the experience and try the dish!

Day two we walked through the Quays a bit more, starting our morning in Clark Quay which is a bit quieter in the daylight than at night, but so beautiful to see with all of it’s pretty colors. We made our way back over to Orchard Road for brunch before finding the bus again (we opted for the 48 hour pass). We road around the city a bit and then transferred to a bus to go to Sentosa Island.

Sentosa Island has free shuttle/trolley transportation all around it, so we made our way to the Southernmost point of Continental Asia. Found a little spot on the beach and relaxed until the heat got to us. The palm trees were just as picturesque as you’d imagine they would be but we couldn’t stand the heat, so we made our way over to the center of the island to visit the Sentosa Merlion. I liked exploring this little part of the island. We got coffee, found a roaming peacock, saw the Merlion up close and then treated ourselves to popsicles before heading back to the bus stop.

From there we made our way back to the city center, hopped off the bus and just meandered. We made the iconic stop at Raffles Hotel and walked through the areas you are allowed if you aren’t a guest and it is stunning. If we win the lotto we will go back to Singapore and stay at the Raffles and have all the Singapore Slings and it will be fabulous. Until then, we will just enjoy the architecture.

We made our way through to the financial area, spotted a few more pretty little buildings and then found ourselves at the Singapore Merlion at sunset. It was the perfect place to see the really remarkable architecture that fills the Singapore skyline. Really a great way to end our last night in Singapore.

We walked along the river after sunset, got a little lost again and then found our way to Boat Quay for dinner where we had more delicious local foods before calling it a night.

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Day three, we took one last look around our area, behind Clark Quay and then called a cab and headed to the airport. We really enjoyed our time here, and although we made a list of all the things we would do if and when we ever come back, I think we filled our time really well and got to see everything we wanted to see.

Overall, Singapore felt like a really modern city, the food was great with a huge selection of cuisine you could get anything, the sites were beautiful and we really got our trip started on the right foot here!

Next stop in Southeast Asia: Georgetown on Penang Island, Malaysia! Check back tomorrow for all of the details.

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A Kitchen in Woodstock | Before

This kitchen has been so much fun to work on. Not only is the client great, but the house is great! From the architecture through to the client’s style, I’ve loved working on this project.

I’m excited to share more on this one as progress continues because compared to most of the projects around here, it isn’t a full gut! We are taking the space and using a lot of existing elements to change the overall look without changing everything. The kitchen has a lot of natural light pouring into it as you can see in the photos above of the existing space, which is great. It is a really great size and everything is in relatively good shape.

So, what’s the plan? (Images Below: left, existing floor plan; top right, proposed new floor plan; bottom right, new window wall elevation with shelving and molding details.) We are stripping and painting the cabinets, replacing the island with something that fits the space a little bit better and offers a bit more function, replacing the countertops, sinks, faucets and backsplash. Then to elevate things we are raising the upper cabinets, adding some floating shelves to the space and opening up the pass through window to make the space flow better. Sounds like a lot? Well it’s a lot of carpentry work that will add up to make a huge impact on the space, without gutting the space completely.

What are we keeping exactly? All of the perimeter cabinets, base and uppers (with the exception of the kitchen sink base which was shot), all of the appliances-including the built in grill in the island, all of the shelving in the space is staying (cookbook storage and art storage above cabinets now) and actually we are adding more around the rest of the kitchen, lighting will remain as is since the kitchen is so bright already, and most importantly we are keeping the flooring which continues throughout the first floor and is original to the home.

What do I love most about this project? When I first started design school, when I was still in Washington (state not DC), my second semester I took an environmental design class learning about all the ways interior design adds to landfills and how to use better products and re-use what you can to help limit or prevent this. After that class I actually dropped out and switched majors for a while to environmental science. I realized that there wasn’t really a career path I could see myself in that would fall under that new major, so then I quit altogether and did some living and some soul searching. After a few years, I finally decided to follow my passion of interior design and go back to school, promising myself I’d do my best to encourage ‘green’ choices when I could. This project totally speaks to that!! And I can’t wait to share with you all how beautiful it can be, after we get it all wrapped up, to renovate this way!

Maybe it’s the location, but this project is really bringing me back to my Pacific Northwest tree-hugging roots in the best way possible and I’m loving every minute of it. And if you made it all the way through this wordy post, I appreciate you hanging in there! I’m going to be up at this jobsite next week and I’m hoping to get some pictures for an in-progress post to share with you all then!

Do you think you’d be a fan of keeping some of your existing pieces and only refacing cabinets and updating some of the details to make a change instead of doing a full gut renovation? I’m interested to hear what you think of the concept and see how you will feel when you see the completed space–maybe I can convert some of you!

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Second Anniversary Gift Guide | Cotton

We made it back from our #PickensinSEAsia adventure earlier this week and we have slowly but surely been getting back into our routine. The trip was beyond anything we could’ve imagined, but more on that later.

Our second anniversary is right around the corner and has practically snuck up on us with all that we’ve had on our plate’s lately! Last year I mentioned that we wanted to keep our anniversaries simple with a nice date and a traditional gift. In keeping with that, and being just over a week away, I thought it was only appropriate to brainstorm some good 2 year gifts.

The traditional gift for the second anniversary is Cotton. And the primary warning I’ve been given (along with many funny stories) is to make sure that whatever you buy actually has some cotton in the make-up. A lot of fabrics you might think are cotton are a whole blend of other stuff, so pay attention!

  1. PJ’s: Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning of snuggles or breakfast in bed, I love the idea of a new PJ set for each other. His, a classic cotton set from Brooks Brothers; Hers, sweet little polka dot set from Kate Spade NY with an adorable bow at the nape of the neck.
  2. Robes: I love a good robe and this is the perfect excuse to add a new robe to the rotation. If you’ve ever felt pima cotton, you know why I’ve selected the first two options, that said I’m also loving the little lace detail on the alternate option for her. His, classic pima cotton robe by Daniel Buchler; Hers, classic pima cotton robe by Skin OR a lace trimmed cotton robe by Daniel Buchler.
  3. Sheets: You really can’t beat sleeping in a set of good cotton sheets. Most people won’t splurge for good sheets for themselves but from my time working in the linen shop as well as working with my clients on their own linens, it is something that I insist on for us, and you should too! Use this cotton anniversary to get a good set in your life, you really won’t regret it! Pictured: Dashiel by Matouk in Chambray, I think we need these; We have a set by Matouk that we love, and we also have these by Ralph Lauren and I love this percale set by Ralph too… percale is the stuff dream sheets are made of.
  4. Pillows: As an alternate to just buying ‘stuff,’ I love the idea of getting something that offers a little bit more sentiment. Though it was easier to find something for year one which is paper, I love these customizable pillows that you can put anything from your wedding venue coordinates to the coordinates of your first home together or where you met. You could also do a meaningful phrase or song lyric… the possibilities are endless. Here’s a link to the Etsy shop (Love You More Boutique) where I found the pillow pictured.
  5. Blanket: A blanket is the perfect snuggly gift. You can get something for the living room or bedroom, something cozy and stylish. If you are handy at all (many of you know I knit), you could get cotton fabric or yarn and attempt a little DIY for your gift. Nothing says I love you quite like something handmade. These chunky cable-knit cotton-blend blankets from Pottery Barn are cozy and chic for any space.

These are all ideas perfect for either spouse, or something you may opt to buy together for you both to enjoy. What do you guys think? I have my heart set on something specific for P, so I will share that on Instagram come our actual anniversary (if I can swing it), but I’m curious to see what he is thinking for me…Time will tell🙂

Have you guys kept with traditional gifts in your marriages or do anything special to honor your time together that is your own tradition? I love classic traditions but there is something really special about setting your own tradition with your loved ones that makes it so much better.

Anyway, I’m hoping to get through some of our travel pictures over the weekend and see if I can start to get some posts together to share our adventures next week.

What have you all been up to since we were gone? Anything fun this weekend?? I’m going to be busily working on my gift for P as well as sifting through all the pictures! Have a great weekend!!

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Summer Travels | Southeast Asia

Practically the biggest and most exciting personal thing we’ve been working on this summer is hammering out the details for a big summer trip! We are headed to Southeast Asia.

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After a lot of reading and research (primarily with this Lonely Planet Guidebook), scanning pictures, scouring reviews and chatting with people who have been there, we’ve landed on a plan.

In a little less than 2 weeks, we are heading out.. here’s a breakdown of what our trip will look like, once we arrive:

3 Days in Singapore

3 Days in George Town, Penang, Malaysia

3 Days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a day trip to Cameron Highlands

7 Days in Bali, Indonesia with a day trip to Lombak

Then back to Singapore for a night before we fly home.

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It was so hard to narrow it down to these countries and then these specific locations. When we chose Southeast Asia, we wanted to cover the whole region and see everything, but with limited time away we decided that we would be better off limiting our stops and taking more time in fewer places. Quality over quantity. Slow and steady like our snail friend from our wanderlust reading nook.

If you’ve been to any of these places or areas and you have recommendations, send them our way! I can’t wait to go and experience this trip. It really will be the trip of a lifetime, except hopefully we will go back to the region again at some point to explore the countries and places we aren’t getting to this time around.

I can’t wait to share all the nitty gritty details and what I imagine will be all the stunning imagery once we return. And if you can’t wait to see some of our adventures, follow along with us on social media for updates as we go! (Links below.)

What trips have you been on or been planning this summer? Anything you have dreamed about for ages? Hopefully your summer has been filled with fun!

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Project Update: 1893

Summer is my busiest season with my workload and the whole work-life balance. Things have been moving right along and I have a few projects underway right now, a few of them that should be wrapping up soon(ish). And I wanted to give you guys an updated look at the progress on the 1893 House!

The tile work is done in the bathrooms, the new wood floors have gone in where needed, all the windows are in and we are only waiting on the custom french doors leading out from the kitchen. The cabinetry started to go in over the last week or so and the counters have all been templated. We have selected paint colors and had the guys swatch them on the walls for us and we will be meeting at the house on Monday to review and finalize so they can paint. All in all, good progress has been made and I am starting to really see the light at the end of this one! And if you ask me, it is looking pretty bright!

How has your summer been so far? I hope it’s going well, filled with a lot of competed projects and fun adventures on your end too! More updates to come… Happy Friday!

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Camping in PA

When P and I first started dating, I discovered he had never been camping before! I grew up camping and had always loved it, so the first Memorial Day weekend we were together, I planned a little camping trip for us up in Maine, and ever since he’s been hooked!

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Unfortunately with work and life and all the things, we haven’t made it camping in two years! The first years we were together, we went as often as we could and camped in Vermont, Connecticut, Texas and Louisiana in addition to the first trip in Maine.

This year for hubby’s birthday one of the only things he had on his list was to go camping. I really didn’t know if we were going to be able to get the same time off together, but not only did it work out, last minute we ended up with a fourth day off and were able to leave a day early!

We headed out to Raystown Lake in PA for the first night (the bonus night) and it was a beautiful spot to camp. The restrooms were a little less than desireable for a campground (no running water), but considering we were only there for 24 hours we didn’t really need much.

The scenery was gorgeous and Brantley even went into the lake with us and attempted swimming for the first time. He had so much fun splashing in the lake even though he kept at least his back feet firmly planted the whole time! It was great!

Our second stop was at Keystone State Park about an hour east of Pittsburgh. We chose this destination specifically for it’s proximity to Pittsburgh as we attended a pup night at PNC Park while we were on our trip.

The first night we set up camp and explored before dinner, and of course ended the night with a campfire and s’mores.

The second day we walked be all around the grounds over to the water and back up to our campsite. No swimming for him here, but still nice to see the water. We headed back to camp and made lunch before some rain rolled in… we ducked into the tent and played a card game, read a bit, and even snuck in a nap.

Then we headed into Pittsburgh and we had such a fun time with the pups in the Park! Brantley met 3 other wheatens, which he’s only ever met maybe one or two before ever and it was cute seeing them together. We (or at least I) didn’t really watch the game because there was too much going on with the dogs, but it was a really cute set-up and everyone had a good time. That said, we both agree that we will have to get back to this ballpark sans Brantley to actually enjoy the park and the game, but it was definitely a fun detour!

The third day, we slept in! I haven’t slept in in ages and I got over 8.5 hours of sleep (I’d like to have that again right about now)! We took B on another walk around the grounds, had breakfast and got cleaned up (the bathroom facilities here were great), and then slowly but surely started taking down camp.

We made lunch at the campsite, finished loading the car and were on the road home by 1pm. I had a serious hankering for ice cream and P knew that there was a creamery at Penn State which we were going to be driving within spitting distance of, so we added it as a detour and we were all happier for it–even Brantley!

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The only other stops we made on the way back were for gas and bathrooms, and we spent the car ride home reading through our travel guides to plan our next adventure (which I will share more on later). But all in all I’d say it was a great trip!

Always good to be home, but now the camping bug has most definitely bit us again, and although we likely won’t be able to go at all for the rest of this year, we are already thinking about next summer!

What is your favorite type of family vacation? Do you have any fond memories of family trips you took as a kid? Are there any great places to camp that we should put on our list for the future?

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