Red | White | Blue | Backsplash

As we are officially leading into the Independence Day weekend, I thought it would be fun on this Tile Tuesday to talk about some fun kitchen backsplashes using our patriotic colors. (All of these images are saved on my Houzz Ideabook “Kitchen Tile” where you can find greater detail on each project and the materials.)

RWB bs1

“Upper Main Line Kitchen” by STUDIO Robert Jamieson

Using red for your backsplash can have two effects. First, when you have more traditional details and you add a deeper red shade, it can lean into that traditional feeling a bit more. The same goes for an all-white kitchen with a true red backsplash creating a country-chic feel. Lastly, depending on the tone and pattern of your tile, adding red can create a vibrant and bold focal point to your new space. Here are some red backsplash inspiration photos:

White is sort of the go-to when it comes to tile these days, and let’s face it, you can slap a basic white subway on any wall in any pattern, and you are sure to get a classic and timeless look, but isn’t that a little bit boring? I wanted to call out some other ways to play with white in a backsplash that are a bit more exciting (if you consider white tiles exciting..). Here are the white inspiration photos:

Lastly, let’s take a look at the blues. The varying hues of blue can provide a vast array of different looks in a space. From a classic cobalt to a bold tropical turquoise to a clean, crisp beachy blue or a soft spa-like feeling, blues can create so many different looks and feelings. Here are a few of the blues I found for inspiration:

So, what do you think? Would you be inclined to use more color in your tile choices for your next renovations? I have to say, I do love a clean white kitchen, but after looking at all of the stunning shades of blue and the varying options, I think I might need to find some clients who would love a more colorful selection in their kitchen tiles. I’m feeling inspired!!

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Love More

A lot has happened in our country in the last few weeks, and overwhelmingly now more than ever, I really thing the message should be to love more.

Love More

We can get wrapped up in the violence, become afraid of what it means for our future children and our nation’s youth, but at the end of the day, the only thing we can really do is teach love. If we love each other more, respect each other more, teach each other better, be more accepting, at the end of the day, we can worry less.

The same goes for the rulings of the Supreme Court. Personally, I think it is great that no matter who you love, you can get the same rights afforded to you that any married couple gets. Again, it’s all about loving more so that at the end of the day we all can sleep a little easier and worry a bit less.

This past weekend, P & I went to go see The Jersey Boys on Broadway, we had a really nice dinner, and despite the drenched state of our clothing by the time we got home, we had a good time just spending time together. Even building in a little date night once in a while is about loving more. After the last few weeks, and such a great weekend, my heart is full and I hope yours is too.

SMP Something Blue Event

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Style Me Pretty x Tiffany & Co. event “Something Blue.” Needless to say it was a fabulous event filled with delicious passed hors d’oeuvres, plenty of bubbly and a whole lot of bling.

I wanted to do a little overview of the event. First off, I arrived there after the event had started, as I was coming straight from work, what I missed was a discussion about diamonds and rings and a round table of questions which I heard great things about. When I arrived, we walked off the elevator and were greeted with little blue envelopes filled with details on the Something Old, Something New traditions as well as a note explaining the basics on diamonds. When we entered the event, there were greeters with a choice of champagne, white wine or seltzer, and then holding some of the most spectacular rings I have ever seen.

Here’s my opinion on your engagement rings for any of you waiting for the proposal, or dreaming of your “one day,” you will have a good idea of what you want in your head and he (or she-thanks to today’s Supreme Court rulings!) will have a budget. The bottom line is, we like to have something with a little sparkly, some more than others, but at the end of the day, if you really love him, when he gets down on one knee and asks you for forever, it won’t matter how much the rock is worth, if you really love him, you will say yes and you will love the ring because it’s from him and because of what it symbolizes.

That said, if money is no object or you are budgeting on your wedding, I feel that your ring which you will wear forever, should hold a little more weight on the overall budget of the wedding expenses, everything else will last a day, so if there is anything worth splurging on, it’s the one thing that you will wear forever, and Tiffany’s is certainly a great place to start your shopping.

If you are already married, they had some fabulous bands that you can add to your wedding set as your family grows, which a lot of women do, and I even tried a few bands on! In addition to engagement and wedding rings, they have a world of other jewels for any occasion or even to treat yourself! I personally love the pearl earrings in the case with the pearl necklace and diamond bracelet shown in the pictures above.

The event had a florist on hand who made custom bouquets for the brides-to-be and a calligrapher who made a custom keepsake with your name, ring size and desired ring of choice to hand over to your sweetheart when you got home. In addition to the passed hors d’oeuvres, there was a little dessert table with Tiffany box cookies, wedding cake cookies and chocolates. Everything was beautifully done, the event was great and I had a really nice time! I finally met a friend of a friend who I’ve talked to a dozen times but never met and I also met the founder of Style Me Pretty, Abby Larson, who is so sweet and very down to earth.

All in all I’d say it was a successful night! And P, if you are ever in a bind trying to decide what to get me, I’ll take either of those add-on bands (though I think the baguettes will compliment my setting better), or the anything from the pearl case.

What is everyone up to this weekend? It’s a rare weekend when we both have a Saturday night free, so this weekend while we are both off and have no social obligations, our obligation is to each other! We are taking a little date night in the city, planning to head in early and go to the TKTS booth to score show tickets, have a nice dinner before, and then enjoy whatever musical we can get tickets to! Sunday will be a chore day and maybe a good day to take Brantley on an adventure, and then the weekend will be over before we know it!

Happy Friday–enjoy the weekend!!

PS, I apologize for the poor quality of some of these photos, they were all taken on my phone during the event, so I know they aren’t the best, but they are better than nothing and at least this way you can see the bling!

(This post is not sponsored by anyone, although it may seem like a Tiffany’s promotion, it is simply my own reflection of this event that I attended. I hope you enjoyed a little peek at the bling!)

Wedding Season|The Registry

When a couple is newly engaged and planning their big day, putting together a registry is often one of the most fun parts for both bride and groom. It’s something they look forward to and can have fun with, but it is also something that can be quite overwhelming! I wanted to give some pointers on what to think about while you are registering for items for your new home together.

Sunset on the Mediterranean during our honeymoon.

Sunset on the Mediterranean during our honeymoon.

1. First, there are fabulous websites that allow you to register for your honeymoon, register for some upcoming financial goals like your first house, etc., and these are great places to look. I highly recommend that everyone do a honeymoon within a few months of getting hitched. Don’t sweat the cost (but don’t go crazy if you really can’t afford it), you are likely to get some monetary gifts on your big day, although you won’t be able to count on how much, so plan to do a honeymoon fund as one of your gifts. Your honeymoon will build the memories that will last your entire marriage. Our honeymoon was amazing, and I don’t regret a single thing we did or didn’t do and we frequently talk about our time on our honeymoon like it was a dream. Check out Wanderable and Honeyfund. And if you love to travel in general, don’t forget to register for new luggage!

monogrammed luggage

2. Consider large gifts for your friends and family to be able to get you. Often times at showers a group of friends will go in together on one larger gift as opposed to each purchasing a few small pieces. A lot of companies also offer completion discounts for the items you didn’t receive from your registries, so after your big day, you may be able to splurge for that new sofa or those nightstands you’ve been dreaming of for less. But if they aren’t on your registry you won’t be able to apply the discount.

3. Consider all the little things. It takes a lot to make a fully functioning home and all the little pieces really add up. You will use those measuring scoops and cooking-and-serving utensils more than you think, so register for a few more pieces than you need. The worst-case scenario is that once you actually are gifted these pieces you may realize you don’t like to use a bagel stand to slice bagels in so you return it for credit and put it towards that bigger purchase that nobody was able to splurge on for you.

Place Settings

4. Look at the open-stock items for your dinnerware and flatware. A lot of times the sets come with pieces you won’t ever use, so why have them taking up space in your cabinet or coming out of what people can afford to buy you? Instead look towards the open-stock pieces in which you can mix and match pieces to create a place setting you really love and that you can actually entertain with. Once you’ve created your place-setting, ask for one or two place settings more than you think you will ever need (i.e., if you plan to host 8, order 9; if you plan to host 12 order 13), because let’s face it, dishes break. See more on the dinnerware we registered for here, also pictured above.

5. Have fun! This should be something that you and your future spouse can really enjoy. Part of planning your registry is planning what kind of life you want to live together and figuring out the essentials to get you started.

If you are shopping someone’s registry, remember these things too! Plan your purchases based on first what you can afford, decide if you want to go in on something with a group to get a larger item or if you would rather pull a few smaller items together.

In general, I like to get things that remind me of my friendship with that couple. If it is friends you always do game night with, get something on their registry that would help them host their own game night, maybe a chips and dips bowl; if they are friends you often grab drinks with, get them a cocktail shaker or some of their barware; if they are friends that you love to cook with, get them a few of their essential skillets.

Remember that these are likely all things that when they use them in the future, they will stop and think of you and how thoughtful it was for you to get them something that corresponds to your friendship together. It makes it a little bit more meaningful which makes the gift that much sweeter!

National Pink Day

Today is apparently National Pink Day. I found out while scrolling through my Instagram feed, and being the true lover of pink that I am, I just couldn’t let this one slide. So I thought I would quickly share some of my favorite pink paints across the board in honor of this day.

Farrow & Ball's Calamine.

Farrow & Ball’s Calamine.

Cinder Rose 246

Farrow & Ball’s Cinder Rose.

If you haven’t looked at Farrow & Ball before, they have wonderful colors. They feature a select range of curated colors that is truly lovely. I might even go so far as to say they are my current favorite paint manufacturer. They have a shade of pink called Calamine and it is so delicious. The color is soft and subtle, so much so that you may even be able to convince your husband to let you paint the master bedroom suite in this sweet little shade of pink. If you can’t see that pastel shade in your home, check out their Cinder Rose which is more of a dusty desert pink shade with great warmth and depth,

Benjamin Moore's Tickled Pink.

Benjamin Moore’s Tickled Pink.

Benjamin Moore's Peony

Benjamin Moore’s Peony

The manufacturer I specify the most in my projects is Benjamin Moore and they have a vast array of pinks to choose from. That said, I have a few favorites: Peony (2079-30) is a vibrant raspberry shade of pink, while Tickled Pink (2002-50) has more of a refreshing pink lemonade feel to it. Both are lovely, the Peony could be used in a small space to make a statement, and the Tickled Pink would be well suited in a little girls room or a guest room.

Sherwin Williams' Oleander.

Sherwin Williams’ Oleander.

Sherwin Williams' Dishy Coral.

Sherwin Williams’ Dishy Coral.

Lastly, Sherwin Williams is another mainstream paint manufacturer that has a lot of great shades and tones, where you are sure to find exactly what you are looking for. The pinks I selected from them are a bit more orange in their base, first with Dishy Coral (6598), which is very cheerful and warm, I could see this color in a lot of places. Similar to BM’s Peony, it could act as a surprising bold in a small space such as a powder room, mud room or laundry space, but I can also see it adding a great pop by way of a graphic detail in a master suite space. The last pink I’ve selected is Oleander (6603), which is a very soft fleshy pink that, similarly to F&B’s Calamine, could really be used anywhere. Though it reads a bit more pink, it is soft enough to still feel neutral. Try a color like this on your ceiling to bring the eye up.

What are your favorite shades of pink? Do you have a favorite manufacturer or distributor that you like to work with? Happy National Pink Day–hope you made it a pretty one!

Do What You Can

This quote is one of the greats.

DO WHAT YOU CAN

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are at.” That’s it. You can’t do more than you are able to do; you can’t work with more than what you have; and you can’t just spring ahead.

Everything takes time, effort, energy, supplies, dedication, ambition and much more. Every single one of us is in a different place in life, in our careers, with our families, with our homes. Take a minute to take inventory of all the things you have. Often we can be found saying “I wanted to be finished with my Bachelor’s by 22,” or, “I really was hoping to buy my first home by 30,” or even, “I wanted to renovate [fill in any space] by the end of the end of the school year.” There are a lot of things we will want to accomplish in our lives, and that want of growth and evolution is so good, but it can also have a negative undertone when we think about what we still have yet to do. Remember to give yourself credit for all that you do and all that you have.

If you rent an apartment instead of owning a condo or home, you are still responsible for keeping a roof over your head. If you just finished your degree, and you haven’t landed your dream job yet you are taking baby steps to get there. If all you can afford in time and money is to buy a can of paint and slap it on the wall, you are taking steps to make your house a home.

Don’t discredit the small steps you are making. You are moving mountains for your future. Everything you’ve done has helped you get to today, and everything you are working on is motivating you for your future. So just remember, sometimes it isn’t about those huge goals and life checklists, most of the time it is really just about doing what you can, with what you have, exactly where you are right now.

Wall of Mirrors

I know I owe you all an update on what has been happening as we “Address the Bedroom” but while I am working on that, I can’t help but continue to think about other little updates and projects that I will be doing next.

Mirror Wall-1

As everything has been ordered and or planned out for the bedroom, we are just waiting for the details to come together. While we wait, let’s talk about our entryway.

We have this wall right across from our front door, it is the first thing you see when you walk into our condo, and it has a light switch dead in the center of the wall. Who installs a switch in the middle of a wall?? I have looked into moving it, but due to the fact that we live in a terribly old home home filled with years of character, the switch is not going anywhere unless the wall comes down.

So, we have to work around it. The space from molding to molding on the wall is 32″ and originally I bought a 28″ D round mirror for that space, as I really like the idea of a mirror in the entry, but due to the aforementioned light switch, the mirror found a home elsewhere.

That said, I am thinking of doing a wall of smaller mirrors. I’m not sure how it would feel being the first thing in the front door, and I haven’t pitched it to P yet, but I wanted to source out some inspo for the concept and get a few more opinions on it.

Mirror Wall Grid MIRROR GALLERY-VINTAGE WHITEMIRROR GALLERY-GILDED Mirror Wall Photo Ledge Mirror Wall Round

So what do you think? Are you a fan of a wall of mirrors? Would you do it in your own home somewhere?

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

MM Drop It

At this point, we have probably all had the overplayed songs of Taylor Swift and Frozen stuck in our heads for hours, if not days on end. They have a good message, “Shake It Off,” and “Let It Go,” are both not only quirky lyrical jams, but they are also important words to live by.

IMG_1719

The thing is, there are going to be millions of things in our lifetimes (realistically more like gazillions) that drive us crazy, tick us off or for one reason or another just add a lot of weight to our shoulders. It’s not always easy to shake it off, let it go, or just drop it. Somethings really crawl under our skin.

On Friday, I had a co-worker (who was out of the office) whose customer was mistreating me, for the simple reason she felt if she insulted me and raised her voice, I would be more willing to drop everything else I was working on with my own client projects and help her with what she was doing.

I’m not sure there is anyone out there who enjoys being yelled at, but I take a lot of pride in not only what I do, but the level of customer service I extend to my clients. I try to help people as quickly and professionally as possible, and when someone is yelling hurtful things through the phone at you, it really gets to me. Well, I did end up helping the woman, but I wasn’t super thrilled about it and by the time I got home on Friday, I was ready to pour myself an Olivia Pope sized glass of wine to wash away my woes.

Then I came across the above quote and realized anything the person said to me was only affecting me because I was letting it, when really it only made me feel worse to just hold onto the negativity. Really, I just needed to drop it and move on. For whatever reason, these words by Jacqueline Gentry, gave me permission to just accept that this issue was dealt with, and I didn’t need to be carry it around, I could just drop it and move on.

Let me tell ya, I had still had that glass of wine of Friday night, but I felt so much better! When was the last time that you were feeling bogged down with something and holding onto it for no good reason? Next time, see if you can give yourself permission to stop carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. I hope this works for you as well as it worked for me on Friday.

Here’s to a week full of weightlessness!

Weekend Finds

One of the things I love about warmer weather and the weekends are all of the yard sales (tag sales, moving sales, garage sales, etc.) and estate sales that happen. The signs start popping up Friday afternoon in neon colors with arrows leading you to find all the random piles of things people are getting rid of over the next day or so.

These sales, especially ones marked “moving sale” or “estate sale” can have great furniture finds, and they are worth exploring if you are looking for something more vintage, antique, or just at a better price point than what you might find at a retail shop. These sales are made for haggling! Nobody really has a price that is set in stone so they are often willing to negotiate a lower price to get rid of something that they no longer have space for.

When you go to these types of sales, look for pieces that can be used for what they are, or re-purposed into something new that would be more useful for you. Look for things that maybe aren’t in the best shape but can be easily cleaned up, sanded, painted, given new hardware, etc., to breathe new life into them and make a wonderful new piece for your home.

A few weeks back we scoured the sales for a few good finds with some friends and ended up walking away with the above vintage singer sewing table and machine that appears to be in decent condition. I haven’t had time to touch it yet, but I can’t wait to work some magic on this piece. I’m currently debating if I want to just clean up the wood and let the character and age show through or if I want to paint it to give it a cleaner more updated feel… what do you think? What would you do?

Our friends found this incredible old record player/radio unit that not only still works, but is a beautiful console table as well. I can’t wait to see how they use it in their home!

I promise to share more on how these pieces end up along with all of the fun finds of estate sales, tag sales and the like over the summer.

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SNP Kitchen Progress

One of the projects I am currently working on is a small galley-style kitchen. The client’s previous kitchen didn’t have a very good working triangle, nor did it have good organization for food and other kitchen essentials. The plan in the new kitchen should take care of all of that.

The first step in any project is to get a plan. Once you have the plan, you select and order the materials. After the materials are scheduled for delivery, you can use that timing to figure out the start date for your contractors to begin demolition.

For this project, demo began about a month ago in the beginning of May. Once the demo was done, we started removing the old windows and framing out for the new ones. The rough plumbing and electrical was done and we awaited the inspections.

In New Jersey, the inspection process can be cruel. Each town has adapted it’s own version of the code and each inspector has a different list of things that they are particular about. The codes are there for a reason and they are so important, which is why it is always important to file for permits and go through the process. It is also very important to work with certified plumbers and electricians so that you can ensure a minimal amount of time wasted on delays due to inspections. For this job, we were delayed 10 days after needing to make minor revisions and have re-inspections.

Everything has now passed and the sheet rock is up! The client is getting antsy, and wouldn’t you without a kitchen for over a month!! But this is the way that renovations work. They take time and believe me, you don’t want anyone rushing your job through because that is when mistakes happen.

This project is coming along beautifully and I can’t wait to share more progress, and hopefully soon a finished reveal of the space. You aren’t going to believe the transformation once it is complete!