Perfection is the Enemy

Last year at this time, I was swamped. I was doing so many things and feeling awful about it all. The fact that my house had little to no holiday decor really had me feeling down in the dumps.

Perfection Quote by Rebecca Stone

The thing is, I love the holidays and I love home decor (duh). So when I was seeing all the perfect spaces people were sharing all over social media, I felt like I was failing because my life wasn’t perfect.

But I learned such a huge lesson! This perfect image that we all put forth is a front. Nobody is perfect, and to idealize them that way is just setting yourself up for self hate. Really you should be lifting yourself up with others that you admire. Learn to appreciate what you see but know your own strengths and weaknesses. Don’t compare yourself to that ‘perfect’ image that someone else is putting out there.

Especially at this time of year, things are busy. Work is hectic with end of year stuff, life is busy with holiday season commitments, tis the season for all things sparkly and magical and chances are, you want to be included in that magic. So do yourself a favor and give yourself a set day to work through your holiday magic. Set up a few fun vignettes and change out the wreath on your door.

Don’t over-commit yourself this season. This year, we are going to be out of town for Christmas meeting my parents and sister for a little vacation and it will be the first time we have had Christmas with them since P and I started dating. I am so looking forward to it! But I also know that it means, less holiday parties, a little added work stress making sure things are all settled before we leave, and not as much time at home to soak up my holiday decor. And ya know what? I’m okay with that… I’m looking forward to it actually because this year, my holiday season is going to be amazing inspiration, and so much fun!!

I hope this quote hits home for you as much as it does for me! Rebecca Stone really says it well, “Perfection is not only the enemy of good; it’s also the enemy of the realistic, the possible and the fun.” The other good quote that comes to mind is “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Because if everything in life was the same picture perfect scene all the time, everything would be so boring anyway.

I hope you all get to enjoy this holiday season, I can’t wait to share more decor and inspiration with you!! The abridged version of this Rebecca Stone quote in the graphic is shared on a background of Benjamin Moore’s Forest Green, which made me think of Christmas Trees and Holiday Wreaths! I can’t wait to deck the halls at our condo!

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10 Tips for Hosting & Attending Thanksgiving

This holiday is one of my favorite holidays of the year. As you can probably tell from the last few DBKwords posts I’ve shared, there is just something about this holiday and all of the appreciation that goes with it that just brings out all the good feels.

"give Thanks" Chalkboard decor DIY Chalk Tray give Thanks, Hand drawn pumpkins, wall hanging, thanksgiving decor

That said, if you are the host of the Thanksgiving Soiree, you are likely in panic mode right about now… it is less than 24 hours before your guests will be arriving (and maybe some are coming tonight), and you still have little things to get ready!

Well, let me ease your woes. If you still have to set the table, and add some festive decor around your abode, here are 5 things that are so easy, you can be ready in an hour.

  • Add some festivity to your front door. You likely don’t have time to hang a wreath on the door, but you can easily take some card stock, construction paper, etc., and cut out some leafy shapes, write out “Happy” “Thanks” “Giving” or “Give” “Thanks” on the leaves, (one word per leaf) , attach a string to each leaf, and hang them on the front door. Greeting your guests with something cheerful will get them in the spirit right away. Here is my front door wreath for the season and an idea from That’s My Letter of wooden door tags.
  • Add some festive pumpkins around the house. If you really have zero time to do anything, just grab a handful of mini pumpkins (you can find them everywhere at this time of year). Group them together in a few different areas around the house, and voila. If you have time to do something, check out this doily covered pumpkin from Allyson Baker Design, or this paper pumpkin from Shelterness.
  • Use those mini pumpkins for place-cards  on your Thanksgiving table as well. You can add names, or festive tags, or just put them on top of the salad plates to add a pop of color to your table. Taryn Williford made glitter dipped pumpkins to make for a more glam tablescape, while Jennifer at Celebrating Everyday Life tied ribbons on pumpkins and then wrote on the ribbons.
  • Light Candles. The glow of candlelight adds a nice warmth and ambiance to any space, but make sure on this food filled holiday, you are using basic unscented candles so they don’t interfere with all the smells coming from the kitchen! Get out all your candlesticks and tapers to make this glowing candlestick grouping from Snippet and Ink, if you don’t have a stash of similar candlesticks, then group the pillars you’ve got to create a good focal point like West Elm is showing all together on a tray or cutting board.
  • Don’t forget the food! Take a clear container and fill it up with apples, cranberries or mini pumpkins, as shown on Good Housekeeping. If you are cooking all the food you have on hand for the main event, look outside and use things like leaves or acorns to create layered centerpieces like these ones from Being Better 2Gether. If there were ever a perfect night of hosting to use food as a centerpiece, Thanksgiving is your night!

If you are a guest, there are some things you should remember on Thanksgiving (and well, every event you attend).

  • Manners are key, that turkey make look so good you can’t wait to get your hands on it, but wait your turn and remember to say please and thank you, it goes a long way.
  • Bring a little something for the host. Something as simple as a bottle of wine that can be enjoyed with the meal, or saved for after all the guests leave, is a great gesture that any host will appreciate.
  • Compliments are key. Be sure to offer your host at least one compliment (which should be easy on Thanksgiving). Compliment the decor, the food, his/her ability to be so stylish while cooking up a storm… you name it, a compliment or two will make them feel so appreciated for bringing this all together.
  • Offer to help. There are so many things your host has to stay on top of with cooking alone, be sure to check in to see if you can help with anything from opening more wine to clearing the table, and for the love of all things, please don’t make your host do the dishes by themselves.
  • Respect the hosts Thanksgiving style. Many people will say a special prayer on the holidays when everyone is gathered. Be respectful even if it isn’t your thing, bow your head and go along. Some hosts will want to go around the table and say what you are thankful for. This can feel like a cheesy gesture, but give it some consideration and truly offer up some gratitude before you dive in.

Whatever you are doing this holiday and whomever you are spending it with, I hope you have many blessings to be thankful for, and that you have no trouble finding ways to share your gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Gratitude

I missed my typically Monday post with words of motivation and inspiration… but with this week being Thanksgiving and all, I didn’t want to skip it entirely.

"As we express our gratitude we must never forget that our highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them." John F Kennedy Quote Quotes on Gratitude Thanksgiving Thankful Grateful "Farrow and Ball Eating Room Red"

Saturday we went to a friends surprise party and it was so fun, he was so surprised… I love that! Sunday was a day filled with relaxation, organization and a water main break. Monday morning we woke up to brown water, which they kept saying we didn’t have to boil, but like hell am I going to drink or bath in water that is actually brown. gross.

Yesterday was a day filled with client visits and project reviews. By the time I got home, made dinner and ate, fed the dog, walked the dog and then had to walk up to the corner store to buy water, it was late and I was tired, so I decided to just go to bed.

That said, I have to say I feel so blessed and thankful for water. The fact that this is the first time this has happened and I have had to worry about if I can drink the water, or take a clean shower, really goes to show you just how fortunate most of us are. There are so many people who don’t even have the option of fresh potable water… and that is awful. So I have taken Sunday and Monday as a water conservation day for our house, using just what we needed. Today the water looks good again, and I can’t wait to hop in the shower!!

I love this quote from John F Kennedy about gratitude and appreciation and I have been saving it for this week. (Shared on Farrow & Ball’s “Eating Room Red” a very Thanksgiving appropriate color and color name.) This is definitely a time when we are all expressing our thanks a little bit more, but I think this is a great point that our actions will always speak louder than our words. So those friends and family members you are thankful for, make sure you find a way to show it. Help with the dishes Thursday night to show your appreciation to your host. Hold the door for the strangers rushing into the shops on Small Business Saturday. Put your phone down and make polite chit chat with the clerk at the store. And when you feel yourself getting a little burnt out emotionally or physically and start to feel the frustrations perk back up again, take a minute to breathe, shrug off the bad and soak up all the good.

These are all reminders for me just as much as they are for you. This time of year has a tendency to be stressful when dealing with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. So give yourself a break when you get tired and don’t forget to appreciate yourself and all that you do this holiday season.

Check back tomorrow to see a little Thanksgiving decor around our place and get some easy last minute tips on welcoming your guests if you are hosting, and how to be a good guest if you aren’t.

PS, the contest winner for the Chalk Lots placemats was contacted privately, thanks so much for playing along!

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Fall Farmers Market Menu + CONTEST

I love the farmers market. Plain and simple–I just love it. I love the friendly people, I love meeting the people in my neighborhood at the market on our park. I look forward to it in the late spring early summer when it gets started and I dread it coming to a close each fall.

But(!), before it does come to a close, I love getting inspired by all the farm fresh fall flavors. (Try saying that 5 times fast.) I wanted to share a menu I put together that was inspired by the local goodies I picked up at my local market (which is sadly now closed), and hopefully you can pick up some fresh goodies to do your own farm fresh menu from your local market. We have a few others in neighboring hoods that are still up and running

Fall Farmers Market Menu 1

Savory Bacon & Brussel Sprout Galette. Modified from a sweet galette recipe from Bon Apetite, I used gluten free all purpose flour and walnuts for the crust and replaced the cinnamon with a savor spice blend. For the filling, I used a little spread of ricotta on the base (don’t get carried away here, it’s just to add some depth and because I love ricotta), layered on TONS of shredded sprouts and then snipped a few pieces of bacon over the top. It was so good, it was hard not to eat the whole thing.

Fall Farmers Market Menu 2

Italian White Bean & Kale Soup. I love a good soup in the fall, and it’s especially good if you can dump everything into the crock pot in the morning and come home to dinner. For this recipe, I used white beans, pink kidney beans and great north beans (1 can of each), dumped into the pot with their juices (more flavor) a few cloves of crushed garlic, a diced onion, and corn…now the corn you can use farm fresh if you have access, or canned (drained) or frozen will work just as well. Add either chicken or veggie stock to make sure you have enough liquid in the pot to cover and then some… after all this is a soup. When you get home, add in some hand torn kale and let cook til bright green. When you serve, shred on some fresh parm for extra flavor.

Fall Farmers Market Menu 3

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Garlic & Mushroom Cream Sauce & Asparagus. For this dish, I roasted my squash (you can use whatever your fave fall squash is) in the oven with just a drizzle of oil and salt. At the same time I put one head of garlic in the oven to roast (wrapped in foil with the top cut off, and a little oil drizzled on top) with a dish of mushrooms to roast as well. While that was all cooking away I made a rue on the stove as a base to the sauce. Once the mushrooms came out of the oven I added them to the rue with all their juices to really create a sauce. When the squash comes out pour the mushroom heavy super flavorful sauce on top and dive in… it is so good… I could’ve eaten the sauce with a spoon.

Fall Farmers Market Menu 4

Garden Variety Pepper Meatloaf & Smashed Potatoes. For this loaf, I used a bunch of random peppers from the market, more flavor than spice, but get what you like. I diced everything up to the same size including an onion and then mixed with ground turkey, worcestershire sauce, one slice of gf bread (pulsed in the food processor to create crumbs), and an egg. I didn’t have a clean loaf pan, so I used a large baking dish (like 9×12 ish) and it made for a really skinny loaf…the pictures make it l But, because it was so skinny, it was so good. The flavors were amazing..seriously, I want to make all meatloaves in an over-sized pan now.

I only did four dishes, we like to have at least one night of leftovers and one date night every week so for us, four is good… for a fifth, you could always do a huge fall salad with some grilled chicken or fish on top.

Now to the contest portion of the post. See those awesome chalk board placemats pictured in the posts? Well, I won them in a contest a while back, but had been eyeing them up for quite some time before then too. I use them all the time and think it is such a fun way to add interest to your table. You can leave sweet messages for loved ones, use it as shown to let people know what they are about to feast on, or use it to write up your daily to-do list while having your breakfast.

They are fun when you are hosting as well–use them as an alternate to placecards. Or for the holidays, imagine having the kids do hand-traced turkey’s on them for Thanksgiving…how cute would that be?! Or even leaving greetings of gratitude for your guests? Well you are in luck! I pitched the idea to Chalk Lots that we do a little giveaway of their placemats and what my idea was and they so generously offered to supply the placemats, and they came out with a gorgeous new color just in time for you to select your finish when you win!!

To enter, simply follow @designbykrystle and @chalk_lots on Instagram, leave a comment below telling me how you would use your new placemats and what color you would prefer (black licorice or graham cracker) and I will announce a winner on Monday. Please make sure you follow us both on Instagram and leave your account name in your comment for confirmation, contest closes at 11:59pm ET on Sunday.

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The Language of Kindness | Weekend Recap

November is such a great month for so many reasons — my favorite of which is easily all of the gratitude. November and the feelings of Thanksgiving really do provide us all with a month to reflect and give thanks, and that is something I hope no amount of early holiday advertising can erase.

kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain. quote quotes motivation inspiration monday word words Benjamin Moore Caliente AF-290

A little recap on our weekend and life in general:

P & I have been making a big push for our health this year in general, and with all of the food-focused holidays ahead, we thought we would make a push to get ahead of the belly bulge with some cleansing and general modification of our eating habits. This weekend (Friday) we started a cleanse. We opted for a juice cleanse in the form of smoothies so that we could feel like we were getting more substance in our system and not just drinking juice every day.

Basically it is four days of smoothies, one for each meal and then we can have tea, coconut water and water in between to stay hydrated. The portion sizes of the smoothies are actually really large, so we haven’t felt hungry. The first day was okay the second day was miserable — I was a complete mess and I wanted to cheat so badly, but I didn’t. I figured this is something we wanted to do together and if P was in and doing okay I was going to keep plugging along… I went to bed early and woke up yesterday feeling so much better. Sunday was almost too easy with the smoothies, our energy was back up, things were good.

Today is the last day of smoothies and after this we are going to be transitioning back to whole foods, heavy on the produce with vegetarian proteins easing towards lean proteins (like chicken and fish) and I want to do some more research on processed foods and what choices would be better than others as well for this next phase. Does anyone know anything about tofu and where it falls here?

Smoothie CleanseFrom a work perspective, P worked the whole weekend, and I worked my regular Friday plus a consult in the evening, Saturday plus some materials shopping in the afternoon, and Sunday we took B for a walk, watched Inside Out, I ran errands, did a floor plan and put together the base lines for a scheme on a new project.

Then when P’s shift (and the Giants’ game) ended, we went for a long walk around the park to enjoy this beautiful night! (And to kick some butt on our weekend Fitbit challenges-my family all has them and they are a bit obsessed — in a good way — about doing the weekly and weekend competitions.)

So, all said and done, a few things I’m thankful for? I am so appreciative for my hubby, someone who is there on this journey to help support me during every aspect of our life from fitness to careers and so much more. I am grateful for my mom who raised us to have such a strong knowledge of being healthy and fit, not skinny. I am thankful for following my heart into the crazy world of design as I know I am so fortunate to have a career that I am passionate about. And I’m thankful for Brantley who provides us unconditional love, always.

How was your weekend? Does this time of year make you thankful for anything? Today’s quote graphic is a great quote from Mark Twain on the language of kindness and I think it is so true… kindness is everything. (Graphic background is on Benjamin Moore’s Caliente AF-290..such a beautiful shade of red for the fall season!)

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5 on Friday | A Week Away

This week I ended up taking a week off from blogging. I had posts scheduled, and I had great content to share, but when my Monday post that I had scheduled didn’t go live, I took it as a sign to focus on other things for the week and give myself a little break.

I did want to check in and let you know about a few great things I’ve read lately, that are definitely worth your time:

Master Bathroom, glass shower, industrial chic, shower door, black and white, clawfoot tub, details, beams

If you are looking for a little home inspiration, the gallery on this HomePolish project is definitely worth clicking through. The bathroom (pictured above) is  stunning. The painted detail in the master bathroom makes such a great graphic focal, and what’s not to love about the dining room? The only thing I don’t LOVE about this home is the graphic wall treatment they show… don’t get me wrong, it looks amazing, but I certainly don’t want to be responsible for dusting that!!

Living Room Inspiration, Decor, Progress, Before and After, Bright, Rolled Arm, Sofa, Table Rug, Blue White gray

I love this bright and cheerful design takeover post on Emily Henderson’s blog where Ginny shares her progress in her living room. Her inspiration is delicious and her sofa options are so helpful to see. I love EH’s blog–always worth the read!

Old Home, Remodel, Renovation, Before, Work in Progress, updating, fixer upper

You know I have a thing for words, and this post from In the Fields is great! Catherine shared so many amazing quotes about houses and homes in the post that I might have to work a few into upcoming rotations of my Monday posts.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Holiday, holidays, hosting dinner party tablescape table setting gold pinecones pumpkins, turkey, deer,

The thing I love the most about this time of year is that it’s the time when people gather, and it is so fun to be the host! I love this holiday tablescape on the Fashionable Hostess. The post is great, with tips showing you how to easily transition your table from Thanksgiving to Christmas and Amanda has shared some beautiful images and details here, which is typical of her on her site… she has a good blog to read anytime.

blog blogger blogging office home office desk work space, life

I love this post from The Elign Avenue, Monica talks about the jobs she had before becoming a pro blogger and how everything she did before contributed to where she is now. I love this concept and feel it is so true. I often joke that if you could think of some random job that’s out there I’ve done it! Everything gives you knowledge and experience, you just have to make the best of it.  And isn’t her home office so cute?!

What have you been reading lately? I love to take Sundays as a good day to read through anything I may have missed on the blogosphere during the week. It makes me feel so inspired for the week ahead… so, feel free to share the links of what I should be reading this weekend in the comments, I love hearing from you!

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Benjamin Moore Color of Year and Trends for 2016

The color of the year announcement for each of the leading color experts in the industry is always a big time of year. it is something that we all get in a tizzy about and look forward to. This year Benjamin Moore announced the color of the year as Simply White, OC-117, and had this press release which if you have any interest in color and interiors I think both of those links are worth the read. I have to say that although many people were looking for more of a color, I’m not surprised.

Benjamin Moore 2016 Color of the Year 2016 Simply White OC-117

If you scroll through your favorite home decor Instagram account, flip through a magazine-be it modern, traditional, transitional, or otherwise, when you are looking at the decor images, you are seeing a vast array of whites. Whites in kitchens, whites in bathrooms, whites in living rooms, great rooms, and bedrooms. Whites are vastly used in commercial spaces, including boutiques, big box stores, and even restaurants; not to mention the use of white in the hospitality industry.

So at the end of the day, no matter how much you love color, whether it is bold or pastel, cool or warm, white is always there. It provides a base and neutral. Not only that but it works in such myriad of spaces (as suggested above) that it makes for the best base color to work with. And if you have a crisp neutral base, then you can add almost anything in the way you layer and decorate. Your color pallet can change seasonally and you can add different colors as pops to brighten things up and add interest from time to time.

One of my old professors in design college when I first started mentioned how the most common color schemes she would use were combinations of neutrals: whites, tans, grays, and then build from there, because if you have a neutral base, you can always evolve the design of the space without making major changes. Not a bad concept, although I must admit that I’m often of the mindset that it is only paint and you can always change it without too much hassle but I do understand the appeal of wanting to have a solid foundation of color that you don’t have to worry about changing.

Here is a look at the color palette Benjamin Moore released for 2016 with their color of the year announcement:

Benjamin Moore Color Palette Color of the Year 2016 Simply white

They have selected 23 colors in total, of which 8 are whites or white-based tones (Paper White, Ice Mist, Simply White, Marscapone, Ballet White, White Heaven, Cream Puff and White Satin); 7 are soft or muted, more pastel hues (Morning Sky Blue, Gray Owl, Lemonade, Enchanted, Kittery Point Green, Luxe and Weimaraner); and 8 that are more bright or bold offering a color pop or at least something with more depth (Banana Yellow, Ravishing Red, Patriotic Blue, Black Ink, French Press, Blue Echo, Gentle Violet and Royal Flush). Of all the colors in their 2016 palette, I have specified 2 of them in current or past projects and they were both of the white or white based family. What can I say, Benjamin Moore might have some inclination as to what they are doing when they talk color.

Do you have any white based rooms or neutral rooms in your house? Would you use any of the 2016 color palette in your home? Every time I see the announced colors of the year I feel so inspired and start itching to re-paint our condo. We only have one room that hasn’t been painted, but I think it’s fair to say that at least one of the painted spaces could you a fresh coat. Hmm….

All images shared in this post are from Benjamin Moore’s website and their color of the year 2016 announcement. Links have been provided throughout the text.

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October Instagram Recap

I had seen this idea on another blog and thought I would bring it over to DBK since I tend to share a lot on Instagram that doesn’t ever make it to this space and I know a lot of my readers don’t cross over to my social media and vice-versa. So, here’s a look at our October through the eyes of the insta’ account!

I tried not to include too many things that were seen here so that you don’t have as much overlap, but no promises that you’ve not seen any of it before. If you don’t follow DBK on social media and you would like to, there are links at the end of this post.

What did your month look like on Instagram? leave a comment with your username and I will hope over and take a look. I loved putting together this round up, it gives a good look at my day to day life and makes me realize just how much I love not only doing what I do, but also capturing and sharing it! Well, my job, my pup, my hubby, living in Jersey City.. you get the idea from the images! I put a little description on all of the pics to decipher what’s going on so if you care to read through you can click on any of the images to scroll through the gallery with captions.

So, how was your October? I’d say, from the looks of it, mine was pretty great!

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Kindness Confetti

Have you ever heard the expression “throw kindness around like confetti?” I’ve heard it before, but the other day I came across it again and something about it struck me. That is what I love about doing these Monday posts is that no matter what is going on in life, good, bad or indifferent, there is always someone out there who said something awesome that will make you smile.

Throw Confetti Around like Kindness

This is one of those expressions. I decided not to create a graphic of my own this week, but to share a favorite print from Etsy featuring this expression. Pictured above is a beautiful print from Sara Vroomin Designs I love the black with gold lettering! An alternate print in metallic pink can be found here from VeraLaLune’s shop. I did some searching and I couldn’t find who is responsible for this fun and powerful expression, but I really do just love it and thought it would be a perfect way to kick off a month of being thankful.

How is it possibly November already?!?! Did you guys dress up and/or do anything fun for Halloween? P worked so we stayed in and being that we live in a condo we had no trick-or-treaters, but watched movies and had a cozy night.

Sunday we went up to CT to visit with a friend who had a birthday over the weekend that just had to be celebrated. I feel like we are getting to that age where we don’t really ‘celebrate’ the way we used to anymore, but just grab a bite with good friends and enjoy the company of loved ones, which let’s be honest is a pretty great way to ring in another year. P if you are reading this, my next b-day is a big one and it needs to be C E L E B R A T E D!! 

Well, that is all for me this Monday evening. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!! Leave a comment below to let me know what you’ve been up to lately, I love hearing from you guys! I’m hoping to blog more this week… we’ll see how that goes!

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