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!

Extend The Shelf Life On Fresh-Cut Flowers

If you found the DBK blog by transferring over from the old blog, then you are likely aware of my obsession great love of flowers. I love having them around the house and even find myself moving them around to whatever room I’m spending the most time in so I can enjoy them.

I often gift them to clients upon their project completion as well so that I can use them in my finished-spaces photo shoots. Fresh flowers are a wonderful addition to any space. They add life and color–and unlike a houseplant, no green thumbs are required!

So if you are like me, you love flowers around the home, but can’t grow them to save your life, here are some tips to keep those fresh stems alive longer!

1. Buy budding blooms. The flowers that are still in their budding phase will give you the longest length possible. You will get to see them open them up and enjoy them while they bloom.

2. Change the water. It is as simple as that. Pay attention to the water and change it often. They don’t need fresh water daily, but they do like a nice fresh drink. Make sure to use water that is room temperature so the stems don’t have to adjust.

3. Trim the stems. If you’ve ever cut down your own Christmas Tree, you know about trimming the end of the tree trunk off when you get it home just before you put it into the tree stand. The reason you have to cut it again (after just cutting it in the farm or forest) is because it forms a layer at the cut edge that seals it off from accepting the fresh water, thus causing it to die sooner. If you cut the end off, it will drink up all that fresh water, giving it a longer life. The same goes for your stems. Just cut a small amount every 3-4 days and you will get more life from them.

4. Remove any dead or dying elements of the plant. If you purchased rosebuds with leaves attached, and you like the look of them, use them in your initial arrangement but pay attention to them as they dry out and be sure to trim them away. Any dead or dying element of your arrangement will suck the nutrients away from the healthy elements causing them to go faster. Trim these parts away and the healthy parts will thrive for longer.

And that’s that! Hope this helps you get more mileage from your stems to really enjoy the blooms!

Motivation Monday {Love, Flowers & Sunshine}

Here in the New York Metro area we are gearing up for Snowmageddon 2015. There are currently light flurries blowing around outside like someone is shaking up the snow globe. But over the next few hours and overnight, it is expected to come down hard. We should be waking up to around 18 inches give or take… offices will be closed and a state of emergency has already been declared.

So in honor of this frigid nor’easter night we are leading into, I thought I would share a favorite quote that is a little bit more sunshine-y.

To be able to sprout love like flowers, to grow a garden in your mind is such a beautiful image. The thought of it just brings a smile to my face.

To me, there is a beautiful image of positive energy here. To be positive, kind, open, and to think that by offering a smile you can spread a bit of sunshine on someone else’s day? I just love that, and I hope that no matter how cold and snowy these next few days are for everyone, you feel the warmth and love of those around you.

5 Habits at Home to Kick-Start a Better Year

I want to share with you five easy habits that help me stay happy and reduce my stress level within my home.

1.Make your bed.

Everyday, the easiest thing you can do is make your bed. Getting ready for bed, and being able to just snuggle in and get cozy is so nice. It will make your room look and feel cleaner and cozier, and you will just feel better.

2. Wipe down your kitchen surfaces.

After dinner every night, the food is cleaned up and put away, the dishwasher is quietly humming in the background. Just grab your cleaning wipe of choice and run over the counter tops. I’m a bit crazy about doing this, but I do the counters and then the stove top with and without the burners on. When I turn the light off and walk away, the kitchen is closed for the day, and when I come in first thing in the morning for coffee, I don’t feel the chaos of crumbs on everything. If you let it sit, it only gets harder.

3. When you’re done, put it away.

Simple as it might be, I’m sure you’ve been known to use something and then walk away without putting it back, maybe it’s your toothbrush, you use it and leave it on the counter, maybe it’s a book you were referencing… it can be any number of things. But when you are done, put it back on the shelf, in the closet, in its holder, wherever it may belong, put it there. With everything living in its rightful home, you won’t go crazy trying to find things the next time you need them. For us, in our small space, it helps things stay organized, which helps me feel calm. But even in the largest of homes, if things don’t get put away, piles can build and chaos will ensue.

4. Deal with junk mail immediately.

There is no sense in keeping a pile of anything. If it’s junk, toss it. Don’t let it take up your surface space or your piece of mind. Do it when you bring in it, save yourself time later so you don’t have to sift through it again, and just put it immediately into the recycle bin.

5. Buy yourself flowers.

If you are new around here you may not be aware of my love of fresh flowers, now you know. I think this is so worth the $5+/- at the market when you are picking up your groceries and it adds such an impact to your day to day life. I like to alternate which vase I use depending on the flowers, and then I try to put them where I will enjoy them. So pick a place where you spend a lot of time, whether it’s your desk, kitchen counters or coffee table, let them be seen. They will make you smile as you pass, because really who doesn’t enjoy seeing a little floral beauty as a part of their day?

These five things are key for me, and I hope they help you. Sometimes they don’t get done every day or every week, but try to keep it consistent and it will become second nature. You will start to notice your mood and stress levels all changing for the better.

Spaces We Love {Styled for the Holidays}

Since my home isn’t currently ready for a holiday home tour, I have been searching for some incredibly beautiful spaces styled for the season. There is so much out there that I just love that it was hard to choose which spaces I wanted to share, so I narrowed it down to three lovely and fully decked-out rooms.

First things first. If you have been reading along here for any length of time, you know I’m obsessed with flowers. Obsessed. I couldn’t look away when I found this incredible table-scape that is quite literally overflowing with florals and greens. Top it off with those layers of light (again, mildly obsessed), and I am fully in love with this room.

This dining space was styled for a wedding. Link over for more images and details from this shoot

Next up, this nature-inspired cabin in the woods is a real winter wonderland. Through my favorite social media outlet (Instagram) I found Brian Patrick Flynn, an interior designer in Atlanta. He does incredible work and his commentary on his feed is hilarious. Last week, he shared his cabin all decked out for the holidays I linked over to his post as well as the post in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles to soak up all the little details!

Color, texture, pattern and the holidays. Cozy perfections.

The natural details from the greenery, to all of the different trees and woodland critters, this is a holiday scene I can definitely appreciate. Not to mention, that cabin in the mountains… I’m sure it is stunning year round, what an incredibly backdrop for design!

Lastly, Toronto-based interior designer, Jessica Kelly, combined traditional festive details (wreaths, candles & greenery) with a bold hit of hot pink. I am in love with this combination! It is such a cheerful twist on the classic green-and-red holiday color combination.

The elegant way in which Kelly implements the pinks (again… I’m a little obsessed) is so charming while keeping it very sophisticated. Her pink and green holiday theme was featured in Style at Home, and it is definitely worth linking over and flipping through the images.

This year, we have already picked our scheme, and unfortunately I don’t think it really represents any of these styles. This year we have been so busy that I make no promises that it will be fully decked-out. That said, next year I might just be sharing some hot pink additions to our holiday decor!

Our DIY Wedding Decor {A Natural Romance}

It’s hard to believe that we have already been married for two months. Our wedding turned out to be such a wonderful day filled with great memories, but there was a lot of work that went into it.

We opted to use a space where we would be supplying everything. I did speak to a few wedding planners, however, doing what I do it was hard for me to relinquish control on such a big event in my life.

DIY wedding decor is a huge part of planning any wedding. Meaning, that no matter how big or small your budget is, you are going to want to customize the details to make the event really represent you and your new spouse!

Wedding shawl made with love by my incredibly talented mom.

For our wedding, we wanted to create an event full of florals, natural elements and soft romantic lighting. For inspiration, I looked through wedding magazines (it was finally acceptable to buy them once we were officially engaged) and of course through Pinterest. To get started with the space I measured the space, noting key details such as window and door locations, main entrance, fixed booth locations and spacing of the beams. I then sketched out my concept for the space and went over it with my hubby to make sure that he liked the overall plan.

Here are some of the details of our day:

For the lighting we used two main elements: strands of globe lights sweeping across the rafters and a customized monogram light. We accomplished both of these things with a lot of help! My mom designed the monogram for us, and a great friend of ours (JP) is a lighting designer who helped turn it into a projectable image for a spotlight.

Monogram light on stage with the ampersand MJ made for us.

JP also helped us install the globe lights across the dance floor. To get them just right, we used the beam measurements to ensure we were getting strands the appropriate length. The bulbs come separate from the strands and my family all pitched in to get them ready to go up.

After the lighting had been tackled, we started working on the tables.

The booths were used as places for the escort cards, the gift station and the guest book. We found these great downloadable signs on Etsy to indicate each station and framed them without glass to keep the chalkboard illusion.

Here’s a look at each station:

For me, what really brought the look of our day together was the guest tables. We used long rectangular tables, fresh white linens and craft paper to run the length as a runner. I loved the layered effect of the paper on the linens. The final layer was a long row of glass vessels of different shapes and sizes, some were filled with candles and some left empty. The morning of the wedding we added mason jars filled with farm fresh flowers to fill in along the lengths of the tables.

If you are looking to personalize the layered table look for your wedding day, look no further than Shutterfly. You can customize everything from table runners to candles (which can double as your favors!) and of course photo books where you can share your dating timeline with your guests through pictures, or use one as your guest book.

Our interior look was perfectly customized to represent us. I loved the way the space came together and that we had so much wonderful help from our friends and family to make our big day perfect.

The look extended outside for the ceremony with tulle draped shepherds hooks and hanging mason jars with more farm fresh florals leading the way to the alter. On the front steps of the lake house we used big planters full of mums and more draped tulle at the front steps.

The day of the wedding everything came together beautifully. I was so happy with the whole scene, and the whole day was filled with so much love, it was perfect! Now that our day has come and gone, I’m so thrilled to have all of the pictures back from the photographer (click over to her site here if you are in the CT, NY, NJ, PA area–she’s amazing), and I cannot wait to put everything from our day together in a Shutterfly photo book. I love their hardcover books, they are a perfect coffee-table book and such a special way to bring you back to the special memories of our day!


All images in this post provided by PhotoJenicMoments from our beautiful wedding day!