Cozy by the Fire

I am currently in the thick of working on a fireplace redesign for a client, and I wanted to share with you the many different designs that can be centered around this cozy space in your home.

1. Modern Fireplaces will use clean lines, minimal details, simple materials and will overall feel more linear in design.

Modern Fireplace 1 Modern Fireplace 2

2. Traditional Fireplaces will include more detail, sometimes feeling very ornate, often times using more curved and complex moldings, columns or cornices and will us marble or granite for the hearth and facing instead of smaller or detailed tile work.

Traditional Fireplace 1 Traditional Fireplace 2

3. Clean & Transitional fireplaces will use details that are a softer, simplified version of the traditional, without eliminating all detail and swinging fully into the modern realm. They will often use a more decorative tile surround to create some visual interest in a subtle way, while any molding or framing elements will remain simple.

Transitional Fireplace 1 Transitional Fireplace 2 Transitional Fireplace 3

4. Craftsman-style fireplaces will use chunkier wood elements, with a more geometric and linear feeling. There will be a repeated line or box element throughout the design to enhance the craftsman feel, and though this style often dictates the use of natural woods, a similar look and feel can be achieved in white as well.

Craftsman Fireplace 1 Craftsman Fireplace 2 Craftsman Fireplace 3

5. Rustic Lodge & Cabin-type fireplaces will be seen with large rock or stone facings, typically at a large scale extending from floor to ceiling. They are often combined with large wood mantle pieces and will use other nature inspired elements to create the full look.

Lodge Fireplace 1 Lodge Fireplace 2

Do you have a fireplace in your home? What style does it fall into? Is there a style you would be happier with? Sometimes changing the feeling of a major focal point in your space can be all you need to feel like the room is your own, and a fireplace is certainly a good place to start. Make it work for you and your family so you can really enjoy it!

Image sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

Making the Most of Winter {Play in the Snow}

If all else fails — it won’t stop snowing, you’re freezing, miserable and so over it — put on as many layers as you can fit into while still moving, go outside and release your inner child. Play in the snow! That white powdery stuff really is pretty fun!

Winter Series Snow Play 1

 

This afternoon the snow was falling, and it was so beautiful that I couldn’t resist. It helps that Brantley loves the snow – it energizes him, and he gets so playful running around in it. We went to the park and just ran around and honestly, we had such a good time!!

I hope this series has given you some fun suggestions on how to make it through winter and feel better about it. Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite winter activity is. I’d love to add some fresh ideas to my list!

Happy Valentine’s Day lovebirds ❤

Making the Most of Winter {Homemade Marshmallows}

One of my most amazing friends helped in the planning of my bachelorette party last fall and for the hotel room, she made us treats! The thing that everyone loved the most was the homemade marshmallows. They were so good!

Winter Series Marshmallows

When I started thinking about this winter series and fun activities to do through the colder months, I knew I had to try my had at making marshmallows, so I scoured PInterest for a good recipe, got the ingredients and began!

I followed an awesome recipe by The Urban Poser and she even has a very helpful video tutorial to go along with it so I would definitely recommend linking over for the full recipe and post!

Here’s a peek at my process. Overall I would say it was not only a mangeable project but it was a fun way to spend some time in and hubby was very pleased with the end result. One of the things I liked about this recipe was the use of honey. You can definitely taste the honey flavor coming through instead of a traditional marshmallow flavor, but I like them nonetheless.

The other thing is that I didn’t (and still don’t) have a candy thermometer. To be honest, I’m not much of a baker, and I certainly don’t see myself getting all excited about making candies or chocolates, so for this activity I just used my freshly sanitized meat thermometer. And although it doesn’t go up high enough, I was able to figure out when the boiling honey water concoction was ready to mix in!

The marshmallows came out great! They are a delicious winter treat and perfect to dunk in your cocoa after a snow day! Have you made marshmallows? It was easier than I thought and I can guarantee your family won’t be disappointed!

Making the Most of Winter {Cozy at Home}

Okay so for the past few days I’ve been trying to convince you all to get outside and enjoy the winter scenery, but today, I’m going to share how I keep cozy at home. Afterall, it’s all about keeping things balanced.

Winter Series Snuggles 7

For me, the best cozy day starts in bed and stays in bed. I love to snuggle up under the covers or just lounge on a pile of pillows with my favorite things. For me, the main thing is giving myself permission to put my to-do list on hold and spend some time relaxing. It is so healthy, mentally and emotionally, to give yourself a break every once in a while and just let yourself really turn everything off and relax.

So that is exactly what I did! I pulled over my Vittsjo table from IKEA, with my candles and roses and hunkered down. I spend some time reading, scrolling through Instagram, knitting and most importantly snuggling with Brantley! It was probably the best afternoon I’ve had in a long time and I would seriously recommend it!

The only thing I would change about this afternoon is our bedding. We are seriously in need of bedding and I have been researching what I want to get since that White Sale post a while back. P & I had registered for a bunch of new bedding but we didn’t end up receiving any of the pieces, so we are also debating buying ourselves some of the pieces from our registry with gift card money we received.

But I also recently discovered a little site called Parachute Home that deals with bedding in a way that leaves me quite intrigued. First, they donate a portion of their sales to send insecticide treated bed nets (in partnership with Nothing But Nets) to areas in need in Africa. Secondly, they speak highly about the way they work to bring together simple and good quality sheets.

They design everything in Los Angeles, manufacture in Italy and they dye using a natural process to reduce the impact on the environment – which my sustainable side loves. But mostly they are made to bring incredible sheeting to you at an affordable price. I can really relate to what the founder says about why the business was started. To recreate that Italian hotel sleep experience without blowing your monthly rent on bedding. P and I went to Italy on our honeymoon and I’m telling you, the bedding was insane.

All that said, I really am very picky about my bedding, so I have ordered some swatches to find out if these Parachute Home sheets feel as fabulous as they sound! (And to see which color I would select for our space.) I’m so excited for them to come so I can report back on what I think!

All said and done, whatever bedding you have and whatever your favorite things to do to hunker down with on a chilly day, this is a great way to push the pause button on winter and take some time for you to truly relax this season!

Making the Most of Winter {Take a Hike!}

As I mentioned yesterday, getting outside is a surefire way to kick the winter blues. As long as you make sure you are bundled up, you might be cold, but you shouldn’t freeze! Break out those layers and get outside!

Winter Series Hike 1

The second activity to make the most of winter is to take a hike! Seriously! The winter air is crisp and refreshing and the foliage has all dropped, making for great conditions for soaking up the views without overheating.

P & I opted to take Brantley with us on our hike. A lot of trails, parks and beaches that aren’t pet friendly will allow dogs off season, so it’s the perfect time to get your pup’s energy out too!

We searched and found a trail up near the George Washington Bridge that was stated to have incredible views of the city. However, the day that we opted to hike it was insanely overcast with freezing rain. But it was all planned out so we made it happen, and even though I think we really were chilled to the bone when we hopped back in the car, we felt great! We got to check out a new trail, run down Brantley’s energy and really had a good time.

This is an activity that is completely family friendly, though I would recommend going on a day when it isn’t freezing raining. I think this could be really fun in the winter whether it is clear or snowing.

Are you an outdoorsy person? What is your favorite time of year to hike? I dare you to try it this winter and see what you think! If we could make the most of a hike in freezing rain, you can at least put it on your list 🙂

Making the Most of Winter {Downtown}

One of the easiest things you can do to kill those winter blues is get outside and soak up how pretty winter can make everything.

Winter Series, Walk Downtown 1

I suggest exploring your local downtown, whether it involves skyscrapers or little boutiques, everyone is inevitably within 30 minutes of some variation of downtown. (Cue Petula Clark’s “Downtown.”)

I made P get all bundled up with me and walk around downtown Jersey City. We explored the Newport area, where they have a beautiful waterfront walkway spanning from Jersey City to Hoboken. It is fun to take in the views of the local area, and you get a chance to see your downtown in a new light.

After wandering around the waterfront trail, it began to get a bit darker out and we headed over to the Grove Street area to check out some shops and restaurants.

Many of the shops are not pictured because I was having fun just soaking in JC at night in the winter (swoon), but I did capture a few of the places and had a bite to eat as well.

What is your local city center? Is it more urban or suburban? Have you ever tried to appreciate its beauty in the winter? I strongly recommend checking it out. From my experience, everything is a bit more sparkly. There is just something about ducking into a little shop or restaurant to get away from the cold that is so perfect.

I hope you all get bundled up in your winter gear and go check it out with your family!

Some favorite JC spots that are not pictured:

Kanibal Home

JC Made

Two Stix & A String

E Tittlemouse & Co

Word

Downtown Yogurt

Taqueria

Left Bank Burger Bar

WHOS Gluten Free

Mod Cup Coffee

Making the Most of Winter

Hey, it’s wintertime! I have heard so many people saying things like, “it is so cold out,” or “I’m ready for summer,” or any number of other choice words for this season, so I wanted to shed a little light… Last week the groundhog said we only have 6 more weeks of winter, let’s make the most of it!

Winter Series Graphic

I think what bogs us down about winter is the weather, especially if you live in a climate where it has been snowing or freezing rain – or just plain freezing – for so long. It is gray and dreary out; it gets dark so early, and it is just so damned cold! But on the bright side, in six months, we will likely all be complaining about how hot it is.

I’ve put together a list of five fun activities to make it through these last six weeks of winter in a happier fashion – with less complaining and more fun. These activities are fun for everyone, so I hope you enjoy following along this week while we gear up for a fabulous winter!

Winter Series Graphic 2

This week, we are going to explore the joy of a wintery walk in your local downtown neighborhood, take a winter hike, make our own marshmallows for the inevitable hot cocoa that we will be in need of when we come in from playing in the snow, and finally we will discuss the major benefits of taking a snow day from work and staying cozied up inside, preferably not leaving your PJs all day.

I hope you are excited to follow along with our winter fun!

My Reading List

As a follow-up post to that last TV-obsessed version of me that posted all about my love for the Thursday night lIneup on ABC, I wanted to talk about some books on my radar. I do read. In fact I’m looking for a new book right now, and here are some of the books that have been recommended to me:

Lean In Book Cover

1. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, a book about working women and their will to lead. It is Sheryl Sandberg’s own take on the task of being a high-powered, career-focused woman in today’s work force while still having a family. I think the reason it is interesting to me is that I have always wanted to work, but I have also always wanted to have a family (in due time mom). For me, this is one of the things that I love about the profession I have chosen. I’m passionate about design, and I love working with my clients, but I also know that there will come a time when I’m going to want to start a family. With my design work I hope to be fortunate to balance the two.

GirlBoss Book Cover

2. #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso, a book about Sophia’s own journey into life as a woman running her own company. This one feels like it will really resonate with me and where I am at right now in my own life. I know a lot of women I admire and follow along with who have read this book already and raved about it… I’m a little late to the game, but I can’t wait to get my copy and dive in!

10 percent cover

3. 10% Happier by Dan Harris, is a book about taming that nagging (and often cruel) voice inside and finding success and happiness in your day to day. I had been thinking about this book for a while, then randomly saw it at the store, picked it up and passed on it. I then read a post from another blogger I read frequently who had just finished it… I think it’s a sign that I need to pick it up!

5 Love Languages Cover

4. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, came highly recommended to me by a dear friend whose marriage I truly admire. In the world we live in today where the statistics of divorce are staggering (and as a child of divorce) I feel there is truly no time too early to connect with your significant other and really make the commitment to making it last. So when this book was gifted to me the other day, I became very excited to dive into it with my hubby and see what exactly these love languages are all about.

The Girl On The Train Cover

5. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins, is a book I randomly came a cross in Costco while doing my shopping the other night, and it looked good, but I was too tired to really look through it. Last night, I was going through the remnants of last weekend’s paper for recycling, and I came across the book-review section and read through the excerpt about this book. It seems like it would be a good quick read, with a little mystery and intrigue and a main character that you can root for.

That is enough to keep this busy slow reader covered for the rest of winter! What books have you read lately? Anything you would recommend? I love hearing what people have been reading and seeing what books I can pick up next!

Thursday Night TV

Many moons ago, when they switched over from those metal rabbit ear antennas to the digital antennas, that was all I had for tv. And Thursday nights have always been my favorite for television.

One of the only channels that I could get in my little studio apartment was ABC, and I made sure to be home for Thursday nights’ lineup. I have watched Grey’s Anatomy since the beginning and I was a fan of Private Practice too, but the current line-up from Grey’s to Scandal and now How to Get Away With Murder… I’m not convinced I get enough oxygen on Thursday nights. I hold my breath through about 50% of each episode in anticipation waiting to find out what glorious twist Shonda Rhimes has in store for us next.

If you haven’t watched Grey’s Anatomy or Scandal, I strongly strongly recommend that you get on your Netflix and start watching. After all isn’t that what our beautiful living rooms are for: to cuddle up with a nice big Olivia Pope sized glass of wine and get sucked in to the fictional lives of others while we unwind from our own hectic days?!

What shows do you love to watch during the week?

Dreaming of a Valentine’s Day Soiree

It’s February, and I’m noticing all things lovey dovey. Maybe it is because this is our first married Valentine’s Day… maybe I’m just happier than I’ve been or less cynical.. I’m not sure why, but whatever the reason, love is most definitely in the air over here.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 9.02.28 PM

Whatever it is that has me feeling the love has got me thinking. My valentines have been my good friends for years. I’ve always celebrated with the girls, or ignored the holiday altogether. Even when I was dating someone, we’ve never really celebrated it. This year I’ve been thinking, why? Why all the negativity and cynicism surrounding this day? Honestly, isn’t there enough bad in the world? Couldn’t we all use a little love?

So, for all of you anti-V-Day folks, here is a list of things you can celebrate on Valentine’s Day.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 9.04.00 PM  1. Celebrate yourselfYou are amazing, and I shouldn’t have to tell you why. Take a minute to celebrate all the great things about you. Treat yourself to a little pampering; get your nails done, have a little spa day. Whatever it is, take a minute to appreciate the things that you do.

2. Celebrate your family. If you have little ones, whip up a special at-home dinner that feels fancier than your norm. Set the table with candles and flowers and don’t leave out the dessert! If you don’t have kids, celebrate with a siblings dinner, or by going to visit your parents. Take it upon yourself to fix up something for them as a sign of your appreciation and love for them.

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3. Celebrate your friends. Let’s face it. We all have those friends that are there for us through it all, and we love them for it. So why not whip up some cocktails and host a night in with the girls. Have everyone bring their favorite chick flick and laugh and cry the night away with your favorite ladies.

4. Celebrate a hobby. I’m a knitter and I used to have a fantastic knitting group in Connecticut before we moved to New Jersey, and I haven’t found a new group yet, but our knitting group was the type of group that knows how to have a good time. Have some of your fellow hobby-sharers over and spend some time progressing on your projects. It’s a great time to focus on something you love with a good group of people, whether your hobby is knitting, photography, scrapbooking, etc., invite a group of friends over that enjoy the same thing to hang out and work on your skills.

5. Celebrate your fur baby. We love our puppy and it is so much fun to spoil him! Take a trip with your fur baby to the pet store and buy him/her some special treats, a new toy, etc., or treat him/her to an extra trip to the dog park or a long walk or play session.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the love. So celebrate the love in your life this Valentine’s. Don’t let it bog you down, have fun with it, call some friends and get your soiree planned!