The Done List

It has been well over a month since I last blogged and I have been missing this outlet as a way to express myself and share the happenings of life and work. I had been seeking inspiration and making a lot of lists until last night. On our way home from our weekend away, P and I were listening to “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, and she mentioned getting great blog ideas and wanting to save them away but needing to trust yourself to come up with new great ideas for posts all the time and to use them when you have them.

I don’t recall the exact quote but it was something like creativity grows more creativity, or inspiration in place of the word creativity… something like that. However she put it hit me and I was sitting there thinking, you know what, it’s time to log back on and get back to it. It’s been too long! (Check out her blog and book to get more inspo for your own happiness–I think when we finish the book I might start listening to her podcasts too.)

The other thing that had me feeling so inspired the other day was @EliseJoy‘s #100aysofelisepeptalksmake a DONE list.” I’m a list maker anyway so this one really struck me. It’s easy to think of all of the things you need to do, or that you want to do, or even to beat yourself up for the things that you haven’t done yet. But if you stop for a minute and really think about what you have finished and make that into a list, you will feel so much better. I’m paraphrasing what Elise said in her post here, but it resonated with me, like really really resonated. (Check out her blog for and jump over to her instagram links above for a lot more inspo.)

I spent the time away from the blog doing a lot of things, but one of the things that I think is pretty interesting is that I spent time email and talking to other bloggers (or following and reading other blogs) and telling them that I missed writing and I missed this outlet, yet I still couldn’t find the drive to get back here and get going. Sometimes you need a break, sometimes something that you love so much and that you really want to do, you just have to take some space from before you can really get back into it. I tried to come back a lot sooner with a post in late May after a shorter hiatus post One Room Challenge, but I wasn’t ready yet.

So anyway, I think I’m back… I think I’ve found my voice a little more, and I am feeling inspired. Some of the coming posts will be of the catching up variety but some of them will be all new and progress reports that you’ve not been getting. I hope your still here to read through it all and offer continued support.

My Done List since I’ve been gone:

  • Finished the living room, like it’s really really done.
  • Adjusted to hubby’s new work schedule
  • Committed to a fitness class 2x/week and have actually gone and loved it every week!
  • Finished knitting a baby blanket for my dear friend’s newest little one.
  • Spent some time with said friend and met the new baby.
  • Worked my ass off.
  • Taken on a few new clients and focussed on getting their plans done and materials specified.
  • Taken a dozen naps.
  • Spent some quality time with Brantley.
  • Spent some quality time with Pat.
  • Worked out our new budget.
  • Started a “no spending” challenge at home.
  • Went on our first camping trip in over two years.
  • Enjoyed a relaxing weekend at the shore.
  • Hosted my in-laws for a night.
  • Reorganized the linen closet.
  • Cleaned countless times and remade the mess.
  • Lived.

I could go on, but I think you get the point… making a done list is so rewarding. I feel like this ‘quiet time’ around the blog hasn’t been a huge waste or isn’t time lost. I feel like it has been time well spent on a few other things. Or, well a lot of other things by the looks of the list above.

I would challenge all of you to make a done list. It feels so good, I promise! Need a prompt, What have you done in the last month? Over the holiday weekend? I’m sure you have done a lot more than you are giving yourself credit for.

If you made it all the way through this picture-less post, thank you so much for reading! Feel free to comment below and let me know if you’ve taken a time-out in any areas of your life lately. I hope this post inspires you to get back on the horse!

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Reveal | Master Bathroom That Wows

I have been busy with work and training and projects running their course, we hosted Easter, which I really want to share more about at some point, but for now I really just want to share with you this finished bathroom!

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This is the project that the homeowners main request was to open the doors and feel “wow-factor.” I shared the progress report over a year ago and it just took a long time to get schedules lined up for photography.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely think that mission was accomplished!

What do you think? Are these photos not the most beautiful thing? (Thanks Lindsay Photography!) They really show off all of the details in the space!

More work/life/general updates to come late this weekend/next week! What do you have planned for the weekend?

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Spring Inspiration

It’s a late post tonight, but on that I wanted to make sure to post. I came down with a bit of a cold last week and am just finally recovering from the last straggling remnants. BrantleyBub turned two yesterday and we had a sweet little neighborhood puppy party for him. There was fresh fluffy white stuff in the grass this morning and the air was so cold…With the cold and the snow and the fun things on the horizon, I’m so ready for Spring!!

Now that it is officially Spring (white weather this morning aside), I’m ready to be inspired by this new season, and this quote is perfect! “Inspiration is the seed, design but the flower.” Michael Langham’s words on a bright red background reminiscent of poppies (Benjamin Moore’s Ravishing Red) perfectly describe design no matter the time of year.

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Design is the pretty that you see when all of the hard work, sunshine, food and water has been put in to let it blossom from just the seed. All of the work that goes into deigning a beautiful space build from our experiences and the things that inspire us no matter how big or how small. We take the experiences of our lives with us and call on them to inspire us as we create rooms that bloom into beautiful spaces.

And if you know me at all, you know how much I love flowers, so any space of my design that could be described as such would bring me so much joy. How does the change in seasons inspire you?

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Beauty and Simplicity

This past weekend we sprung forward for Daylight Savings and today is Pi Day, and although I could do so many other posts related to these things, and maybe I will do one later this week, for now I just wanted to share some sage advice on simplicity (on a background of Benjamin Moore’s White Heaven).

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Plato said that the “beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity,” and I agree! This is such a great message about the balance of things, and it is so easy to go overboard, especially when we are talking about decor, but often times, less is more.

Each element of his sentiment–style, harmony, grace, rhythm–they each have their own weight in putting together a beautiful end product or project. When things really resonate with multitudes of people it is because they have the ability to strike a chord with each of us, for many different reasons, and they just feel beautiful. Do you find beauty in this balance of details?

I’m finding after doing our massive clear-out in our space that we (or at least I) am really thriving in the simplicity of what remains. I’m able to really see the space and appreciate being in it. And I can finally see what little details we need to implement to finish our home off. Can’t wait to share more on that! But for now, the simplicity is really speaking to me, and I hope if you are struggling with your space, you can find a way to let it really speak to you too.

Does simplicity speak to you?

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Weekend Design Love

This week I have spent a fair amount of time catching up on some of my favorite blogs. I love reading along with the blogosphere, but I find it one of the things that is so quickly removed from my list that it doesn’t happen as often as it should… I would love to work on changing that, and I think this week I made a good effort in starting.

Here are some things I’ve seen over the last few days that are worth sharing from the design blogs I follow:

Area Rugs and crafting are two of my favorite things. If they are on your list too, this post, on Apartment 34, is a must read and if you don’t want to read it, the pictures are pretty gorgeous to scroll through too.

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Earnest Home Co, Living Room Refresh Plans

I love Erin’s plan to revamp her farmhouse living room over on Earnest Home Co, she shares why she chose to work with a designer friend and gives the low down on all the details they are planning to incorporate. Can’t wait to see the after, hop over to the post to read more!

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The Bungalow, New Old French Doors

First of all, if you don’t follow Justina Blakeney and her blog The Jungalow, what are you waiting for. She is full of awesome projects and so much creativity, I always love seeing what she comes up with. Her hunt for the perfect reclaimed french doors in this post was no different. It’s such a good look at the hunt for reclaiming things and how the process works. The final result is beautiful!

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Apartment Therapy’s Spring Exteriors

The weather has been warming up over here and giving us a real taste of the Spring weather to come, so Apartment Therapy’s roundup of sunny outdoor spaces has me dreaming of sun-soaked weekends. (If only we had outdoor space in our condo…)

What have you seen on the web lately that is worth sharing? I love reading blogs and finding good home and lifestyle blogs. I also read a lot of random other blog genres…so feel free to leave me a link to your favorites (or your own) in the comments and I’ll go check them out!

This weekend, we are busy all day Saturday, capping the night off with dinner with a friend and then Sunday, my goal is to not get in the car. I would be happy just checking off the to-do list, taking a long walk with B and spending some time relaxing on the couch with P. What do your weekend plans look like?

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Home Style Motivation

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This quote breaks down design for me. Whatever fears you have in decorating your home, let these words alleviate your stresses.

Your home should be a reflection of you. If you and your family are fun loving and bold, your home should reflect that. If you thrive on living a minimalist life filled with experiences not things, your home should be a reflection of that. If you love jewel-tones (like this Benjamin Moore Gentle Violet in the quote graphic), metallics and all that is luxe, you should use these colors and textures and layer them in your space.

Don’t over complicate the process either. It takes time to build your home, but I love seeing houses that really speak to their owners and what brings them joy in life. What story do you think the style of your home is saying about you? What do you want it to be saying instead? I like to think we are the minimalists with great experiences, but a little more lived in… I’ll try and get some good pictures of our living room as is to share later this week… it’s something that has been on my list for a while now, and I plan to check it off this week.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

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Magical Book Reviews

Over the last month and a half or so I have been making a dedicated effort to get through some of the books on my reading list.

One of the blogs I frequent set a goal earlier this year to read 100 books in 2016. I scoffed. I don’t have time to read and unfortunately it isn’t high on my priority list to make time for either… but then I found audio books. I downloaded the overdrive app on my iPad and have been listening my way through my book list on my commutes and long drives to client appointments, etc., even when I’m cooking or cleaning, I’ve been listening. It’s safe to say I’m hooked. I don’t know that I will get to 100 books, but I will certainly get more read than the one book I finished last year!!

Here is what I’ve been “reading” so far:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo: Y’all know how I feel about this book. I loved hearing Marie Kondo’s philosophy and implementing it in our life. Our condo has never felt so good to come home to, and it really feels like home. There will always be projects to be done and cleaning to do, but we aren’t bursting at the seams anymore and that is HUGE!

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso: Sophia Amoruso is a Bad-ass boss lady. Her story is incredibly inspiring. Her book has been floating around for a while now with a lot of positive response from the bloggers and business babes out there. Last fall I attended a book signing with her, but still hadn’t found the time to actually read the book,  so I decided to add it to my Overdrive list and I have to say it is a good read with great info and tips for anyone, even the boss men out there.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed: I purchased Wild on a whim one night while wandering the isles of Target, and I’m so glad I did. I started reading it right after purchasing and although it was exciting and has a good hook from the beginning, life and clients took the front seat and Wild was put on a shelf until we were Konmari-ing and it came out. I immediately added it to the list and was so glad when it was time to listen. This adventure filled tale of Cheryl Strayed’s trek on the Pacific Coast Trail is one of courage and bravery. I love a good hike, love nature and love getting to know myself better, so this book was meant to be read by me… I don’t think I will be taking the trek myself anytime soon, but it was thrilling to follow along with Cheryl’s adventures… some great lessons were learned. What a great story to feel inspired by… now I want to rent the movie too!

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg: Another empowering boss lady book that has been on my list since it was released. I heard mixed reviews on this one and I think if I had tried to sit down and read it, I would’ve gotten bored and stopped. I’m glad I listened instead because there were some really key points that Sheryl Sandberg touches on in this book. The lessons here are incredible, not just for women in the workforce, but for men and women in general. I think that men reading this book can get a glimpse at what the women in their life are dealing with, and offer up ways to better support them in their goals. I think there are some great points here about time management, setting goals and tearing down barriers. Though I do think the book dragged on a bit longer than it needed to, it was a good balance of anecdotes and advice and it was worth the listen.

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis: While waiting for some books to be available on my list I had some time to listen to something more whimsical. My mom suggested that many of the books I was reading were keeping my brain turned on and although listening to great info is helpful, sometimes you just need to turn it off. So I decided to check out these old classics, I never read the Chronicals of Narnia growing up, and because I enjoyed Harry Potter immensely I thought I might enjoy these… I did enjoy The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, but I drifted off while Prince Caspian played… I didn’t really enjoy it so much… not because it was poorly written or anything like that, but it just didn’t jive with me, so I won’t be listening to the other books in the series anytime soon. That aside, C.S. Lewis’s language is truly an art. The way he describes things is truly beautiful and really sets the scene so you can imagine standing there. I love authors who write with their five senses, they can really capture your mind and take you on a journey with them… for me it makes reading much more enjoyable.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington: This book by far was the favorite one that I listened to in the past month or so. I might just put it back on my list and listen again. Thrive is a great book about balancing your work and life and not just thriving in your career, but thriving as a person going through life. Experiencing what is in front of you, not being constantly plugged in, not losing sleep over something you can do tomorrow, not losing sight of your health, your life and your loved ones. I have been working hard to implement some of the concepts from this book into my life and I have been feeling incredible doing it. It is hard at first to cut the cord but it is amazing to see the difference between a life with your device constantly in your hand and one where you are focused on those in front of you. I can’t really explain it well, but what I can say is that this book is definitely worth the read or listen.

Overall, I think all of these books were worth the “read.” Maybe I’m just happy to have literature re-incorporated into my life and over excited about some of these titles, but I think from the changes that these books (for the most part) have made in my life in just the month or less since finishing them, I would recommend reading them for sure. My heart feels lighter, my home happier, and my workplace more productive. I feel inspired each morning… and who wouldn’t want that?! What are you reading these days? Any good books you could recommend? (Either for more inspo or for some mindless entertainment?) I’d love to know what has to be on my list! Sorry for the insanely wordy post!!! I wish I could send it out over audio so you could listen if you didn’t have time to read!! LOL!

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Just Say No

There are plenty of things we grow up knowing we should “just say no” to, but when it comes to life, there are often things we should say no to, but we keep saying yes.

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There is a theory out there and a group of people that are “yes people” and that sounds great for some. To be able to live life’s adventures just finding things to say yes to all the time, sounds fantastic! And by all means the point of this post is not to say no to the fun and the adventures. It is in fact to make more time for those good things.

So what is my point? It’s all about balance. If you are like me at all, you want to please people. For me that includes my clients, my colleagues, my family and my friends. I often end up putting myself at the bottom of that list.

But the reality is, if I don’t start saying no to some things, and putting myself as a priority, the things I put first (and second and third) will suffer as my energy, focus, etc., deteriorates. It is so important to not just find a good balance, but to create a good balance in our lives. As Steve Jobs put it (on Benjamin Moore’s Mt. Rainier Gray background), “It’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

So, that is what I’ve been working on… work, life and balance. I’ve been learning to say no to the things that aren’t important and to making myself and the things that make me happy a bigger priority. How do you keep this balance for yourself? (I need all the tips I can get!)

In other news, we finished KonMari-ing this weekend, so I can’t wait to share more on that! And in the month of February I finished like half a dozen books that I want to do a round up of as well. Lots to share in the coming week and I’m planning to make the time to actually share it all too!

How was everyone’s weekend? What are you making a priority of these days?

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Love, Furnishings and Needlepoint, An Update.

Having just made it through this Valentine’s Day Weekend, I thought I would find a love quote to share and this one from Voltaire spoke to me (as it notes furniture and needlepoint especially).

 Voltaire, Love, Furniture, Embroidery, Quotes, Motivation Monday, Love Quote, Quote on Love, Love  Inspiration 
These words are perfect not only for love, but also for design and your space. And for me, having grown up in the Pacific Northwest and loving all things nature, being a knitter and appreciating all variety of needle-craft, and of course, who doesn’t love a good dose of imagination?! These perfect words are on a background of Frosted Rose by Benjamin Moore, which I also thought was so appropriate for the weather we are having and the season of love and roses we are in. 

Things have been insanely busy and so good, so here is a brief update: 

Last you heard we were working through the Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. We are still working our way through the last two phases, but it has been a big transformation already. The living room feels amazing, the closets and especially the cabinets under our bathroom and kitchen sinks… I can’t even explain how these changes have made such a huge difference. I will do a full round-up when we finish the project. We were originally aiming for a month (which would be next Tuesday), however with our schedules, I don’t want to add pressure and do it hastily and get it wrong. I want to do it once and be done and I think we will realistically be done by the end of February… we shall see.

I’m working on a handful of truly amazing design projects right now, and I will share more on that (hopefully) Wednesday so you can be on the look out for that breakdown. 

For Valentine’s Day Weekend, we went out for a nice dinner on Saturday at Liberty Prime in downtown Jersey City, where P proclaimed that he enjoyed the best steak of his life, and I certainly wouldn’t complain about what I had either… Despite the frigid temps and treturous winds, we made the best of it and had a great night. Sunday we both got some work done, around the house and professionally, and today was back to the norm.

Currently we are watching the Grammy’s, which so far.. pretty great!! I love seeing all of the performances and this year hasn’t disappointed so far… we will see as the night continues, but for now, I think that is all for me.

Have a great night! Hope you have given yourself the time to sit down and appreciate the loved ones in your life and spend some time together making memories this weekend!

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Simplifying a Bathroom

This project is the type of project that is so fun! No major plumbing or electrical changes are taking place, but the transformation is so HUGE! The work is in progress now, hopefully will be done soon so that I can share a reveal with you but on the phone last night she said to me that already the bathroom is “one hundred and fifty seven thousand times better!”
I love that, and I have to agree. The old space was outdated with burgundy 4″ tiles everywhere with the exception of a one piece tub surround unit that felt cheap and dingy in the space, a vanity that was dis-proportioned to the space and visually felt bulky with the details and finish, and an overall yellow tone in the space that didn’t feel right.


The goals for this space were to maximize the functionality and the storage while making the space feel clean and bright and more open.


Here’s what we are doing:

First things first, the vanity that is existing is 42″x 21″ and with a long narrow bathroom like this one, we want to make sure the vanity protrudes into the space too much. We decided to order the vanity to be 60″ wide with a reduced depth of 18″ to allow more storage in the length, while running the cabinetry more flush against the wall.

Due to the position of the door, we can’t run the vanity all the way to the door, so we positioned it as close to the commode as we could according to the code regulations, leaving a 20″ space between the entry wall and the vanity unit… perfect spacing to accommodate a decorative hamper or waste-basket, or just leave it open, either way, the space is left feeling elongated and open.

We changed the vanity finish from dark wood to a painted white finish and from a dark granite top to a gray and white top.

The other main thing that we changed that will make a huge impact is the tile. On the floors we removed the old dated mini burgundy tiles from the floor and replaced them with a large 10″ gray hexagon, and on the walls, we used a large white tile, staggered just like a standard subway tile would be, but in the large scale, it makes the space feel so open and the white is so refreshing compared to the old dark tile that was there before. Instead of using a standard bull-nose tile to finish the ends, we capped it all off with a sleek chrome trim. (Some in progress shots below.)

Basically the re-design is a simple change in the scale and tone of the details to really simplify and freshen up the space. Hopefully I will have more details to share soon… be sure to follow along on Instagram to see any updates that may come along.

What do you think? Are there any little things you can do to simplify your bathroom? (Or any room in your home?)

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