I Guess I Needed a Break

After the whirlwind that is the one room challenge, I guess I was a little burnt out and I had a lot to catch up on with my clients as well, not to mention the adjustments we’ve been making with P’s new schedule.

Weekend Snuggles 1

Speaking of, he is on day shifts now, which is great because we get our evenings together which we haven’t had in years… like years. so it’s nice to actually have some face time with the hubs. But he is now working only in the office (never at home, which I actually really love… just that he’s not in the living room with a constant stream of sports and his laptop and papers, etc., it’s kinda nice) and he is working Thursdays through Mondays. So while my days out of the office are Sundays and Tuesdays, and Tuesdays I’m often juggling client details, materials sourcing, drawings and blogging. So to say the least it has been an adjustment.

I’m still not willing to give up Sunday to a day of really working even though sometimes I do a lot of the behind the scenes legwork, I don’t want to do it all the time… you need down time too people, and it is important to block that out. But we are trying to balance out my schedule on Tuesdays to be able to enjoy more time together as well. So we will see how it all works out.

For now, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my Sundays home alone with just me and Brantley Bub! I’ve been catching up on my DVR’d shows, reading, cleaning and even knitting! Yup, I just cast on for one of my dear friends baby blankets (she is due June 22nd, so wish me luck!). Of course, I’ve been working on floor plans and brainstorming blog stuff too, but it’s nice to just be in the house, or around the neighborhood soaking it all in.

Weekend Walk

My favorite new tradition that we have started is walking from home to the train station to go meet P after work on Sunday evenings… it’s so nice to then walk home together. As the weather gets better, I’m planning on definitely keeping this tradition up! It’s a nice long walk too so we all sleep well, and B is good to go for his day at home Monday!

What have you been up to lately? Doing anything fun with your down time?

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From Napa, With Love | A Travel Guide

It’s Monday again, but don’t fret! Instead of getting your typical gloomy case of the Mondays, start dreaming about the perfect weekend getaway in Napa.

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About a month ago, I was sitting in a tasting room learning how to properly drink wine. (Because apparently just pouring way more than the standard amount into your glass a couple times/week or more, is wrong.) I met one of my best friends from Seattle in the Napa Valley where we wined, wined, wined and dined, for 4 days… in short, we had a blast and I found my new happy place.

Here’s a little breakdown of how we spent our time while we were there and how we balanced out our days to round out an excellent trip to wine country. A travel guide for Napa if you will.

Day 1:

Food:

Breakfast at Pacific Blues in Yountville (a must) and dinner at Tarla Mediterranean in Napa for yummy risotto and a great gluten free selection.

Tastings:

We decided that before we went around acting like we knew what’s up with wine tasting we should take a class, so our first stop was a wine tasting course for beginners at Robert Mondavi, and it was a great first stop. Their grounds were beautiful, their wine was good and the class was just right to get us started.

Our second tasting was to Odette which had stunning architecture, beautiful landscapes and great service, with good wine to boot! We enjoyed the tasting and stayed just the right amount of time. I’m not typically a fan of white wines, but they had a delicious crisp and light Chardonnay that I will have to find locally or try to have shipped for any summer gatherings this year.

The last tasting for the day was at Chandon for some bubbles! Who doesn’t love a good glass of champagne to toast to the greatest weekend getaway ever?? Talk about a pretty landscape! We were fortunate enough to have gorgeous weather to sit outside and enjoy our cheese plate and bubbly while soaking up the sun!

Other:

After our first tasting, we went back to Yountville for mani’s and pedi’s and to soak up some much need girl time sans booze at Lavender Nail Salon, where the place was clean and the service was good. Yountville is a great little town either to stay in or to just stop into and walk the main street… it’s very charming and sure to please.

 

Day 2:

Food:

We started our morning with coffee and juice from the Oxbow Public Market before making the trek up to Calistoga for some spa-time. Post spa, we enjoyed brunch in Calistoga at Sam’s Social Club which was so good, very fresh food and fun interiors! For dinner we opted for Mexican and ended up at Don Perico’s in Napa which hit the spot as standard Mexican fare.

Tastings:

First we headed to Sterling where they have a gondola car that takes you up to the winery for the tastings. The wine was nothing special, but the views were incredible and the architecture was like a little slice of Santorini right in Napa.

Second we headed to Mumm for more champs. Again the bubbles, you can’t go wrong. Next to the parking lot there were rows of the mustard flowers that were so pretty! The service wasn’t great at Mumm, but supposedly they are known for that, and the bubbles were delicious (we took a bottle home with us) so I would recommend going anyway.

Third we headed to Artesa, which became one of our favorites of the trip. We started our tasting late and they closed, but let us finish our tasting and my new favorite wine is their Tempranillo… the stuff that dreams are made of. They had so many delicious red wines to taste that we really enjoyed, in addition to their prime location, which on a clear day you can see all the way to the San Francisco Bay from, and their beautiful architecture… it was a win all around.

Other:

We kicked off Saturday with a mud bath in Calistoga… it was something that sounded so luxurious and it was on my bucket list, so we fit it in the schedule. What I will say about that… it was interesting, I’ve not laughed so hard in such a long time and my skin has also never been so soft. Now it’s checked off the bucket list… if it’s on yours, try it, you might like it, but try for an early bird special (which we did) or a groupon or something, rather than splurging for the full priced package right off the bat… it’s expensive and it is a different experience, so be open minded.

 

Day 3:

Food:

We kicked off the day with coffee from the Napa Valley Coffee Roasters, which was delicious and then we made our way to the wine train.

The Napa Valley Wine Train had a lot of mixed reviews on the web, but it included lunch and we opted to add a wine tasting to it as well and just give it a try. I’m glad we did. The train itself was charmingly restored, and the ride was a good way to view a chunk of the valley to see if there were any additional wineries we should put on our list. It’s also a good way to orient yourself with the layout of Napa, so it would be fun to do in your first day or so there. The food was pretty good and the wine was okay (nothing special compared to what’s available in napa), but the experience overall was worth it.

For dinner, we booked the Farmstead tasting menu with wine pairings at Long Meadow Ranch. It was one of the best meals I’ve had ever, like seriously, the food was so simple, so pretty (the appetizer in the top right got asparagus soup poured over it which made the flowers float… talk about presentation) and beyond delicious… looking at the pictures is making my mouth water. If you like food as much or more than you like wine and you are in Napa, this is a must!

Tastings:

We had a red sampler on the wine train, as noted above, nothing to write home about and in hindsight, given the day we had planned it might have been worth just having one glass on the train and then skipping the tasting here.

We booked a tasting and tour at Jarvis the day before while we were waiting for the mud baths to start and if you are visiting Napa especially in their peak, book this one in advance. Their Willy Wonka-esque wine caves were very cool and the details they put into the design are worth seeing in person. We sampled 6 delicious wines and both brought home a few bottles… we had a good group on this tour and the tasting was fun in addition to being good wine.

The wines from our pairing dinner at Long Meadow Ranch were perfect. I’m really not kidding when I say this meal was in the top 5 of my life… it’s not your every day kind of thing but it was such a great treat. The wine was so good. The service, amazing. Everything about this last stop was perfect. I found out about LMR by purchasing a bottle at my local wine store in preparation for Napa (I was buying a lot of Napa wines leading up to the trip) so I didn’t buy any wine here, only because I knew I could get it back home.

Other:

A note about our Day 3 agenda… we tried to split up some of these bigger things and do one a day (the tasting course day one, mud baths day two, etc.) but we accidentally booked both the train and the tasting at LMR on the same day. Were we to do it over again, we would split the two up… that said, we still thoroughly enjoyed this day, so do what makes you happy if/when you go!

 

Day 4:

Food:

Jax White Mule Diner in Napa for breakfast and we literally had the place to ourselves. It was good enough but don’t drink the water. For dinner we went to Bounty Hunter BBQ and again, good enough but nothing to write home about, though the portions were huge, we shared a sampler plate and still took home leftovers.

Tastings:

First stop, Inglenook. Talk about good wine and a great experience. This place is like a chateau it is so pretty, down to the details. I loved the chandeliers and rugs especially… well and especially the wine! They were so slow (on that particular Monday morning) that we ended up getting a private tour of the wine caves and to see the back vineyards. Seriously worth the stop.

Second, we had a tasting scheduled for Brown, which was great. What a cool story of their estate and how they became wine makers after previously just selling their fruit. They make a lot of Zinfendale and for someone who isn’t a big zin fan, I have to say, their wines changed my tune. Their property is also stunning and great design details here as well… but I won’t give away their secrets, you will have to go do the tasting yourself! We got to meet David the wine-maker… this guy definitely has a lot of fun, and it was a fun experience for us!

Lastly, we went to Nichelini (right next to Brown, and we stopped just for that reason). Although we hadn’t heard of them or their wines, we both ended up joining their wine club. The wines were delicious and we tasted them all! We were pleasantly surprised by many of them here, hence the new wine club memberships, it was definitely a worthy stop.

 

Day 5:

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We loaded up the car, stopped for a delicious brunch (maybe the best we had all weekend) at Boon Fly Cafe in Napa, complete with fresh squeezed orange juice which we may or may not have added to a water bottle filled with Mumm champs… Just sayin. We walked around downtown Napa, went to a yarn shop and some art galleries and then headed back to SFO to fly to our respective homes.

 

Overall:

I can’t say enough positive things about this weekend. The trip was so needed and so wonderful. We made it happen and we soaked it up! Napa is definitely in my list of happy places. Especially Napa in Spring (so what if that is my only point of reference), there is enough going on but nothing is jam-packed and you can typically get into tastings without reservations (but do your research to see where reservations will make sense), the flowers are in bloom and everything just smells delicious. I can’t wait to plan another girls weekend with L, hopefully this time it won’t take us 8 years!

Where’s the last trip you took with your bestie? Your happy place? I need to start adding to my list of destinations! Where have you gone or are you planning to go that I need to make sure to get to? I hope you are taking some fun adventures, we will be continuing down the rabbit hole that is our living room for the One Room Challenge this week and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel… check back Thursday for the big reveal! (Or find me on Snapchat (@designbykrystle), I’ve been sharing lots of ORC living room progress in real time over there.)

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Harmony, Purpose and Form

I have written a lot about the balance of form and function in design (here), they are both so important, and the balance of these elements in a space is crucial to a successful design. Sometimes I wish it were just as easy to break down and create this harmony in other areas of life!

alvar aalto harmony quote

This quote by Alvar Aalto was an architect, designer, product designer, etc., that was no stranger to creating this lovely relationship in his spaces. (See a few of them here.) It’s rare to find a architect with such a great understanding of not only the exterior space and form of the building/home, but also with such awareness in how it relates to the interior function of a space. Mr. Aalto puts it well when comparing this balance to something that is truly beautiful, “beauty is the harmony of purpose and form,” shown above on Benjamin Moore’s Cream Puff pink.

This color family is another thing I’ve spent a lot of time talking about… the pale pink/nudes that are subtle enough you can convince hubby to paint the master suite pink… he might not even know it’s pink if you don’t tell him!!

Anyway, I love dreaming of pinks color stories for when we have a bigger space, and I love dreaming up ways to create the perfect balance and harmony for my clients in their homes.

In life, this weekend was about juggling friendships! We celebrated a dear friend for her bridal shower on Saturday afternoon in upstate New York, and then I drove to CT to help out another very dear friend and we had a sleepover (mani’s and pedi’s included!). Come Sunday I was home with Hubby for a day filled with quality time, dog walking, shopping, and good eats…the weekend was so full, and I wasn’t even mad about getting up and getting to work this morning… So what! It’s Monday… let’s create a better harmony between our relationships with work and with life so that we don’t dread every Monday!

This week is going to be a great one! What do you have planned for your week? Did you have a fun filled weekend?? Are you good at creating harmony as Mr. Aalto suggests? Do tell! Happy Monday Friends!

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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!

apt therapy outdoor spaces roundup

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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5 Years | The Butternut Farms B&B

Sunday marked 5 years with P, and that is something worth celebrating! A lot of people have speculated that you can’t or shouldn’t celebrate your dating anniversary once you are married, but I say the more time you dedicate to your partner and the more reasons you have to celebrate you should!! Of course quality time is key, so we decided to plan a little overnight away for just the two of us.

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It was so necessary to have time one on one together. We had a wonderful dinner at the Chelsea in Fairfield, CT., and then made our way up to the Butternut Farms Bed & Breakfast in Glastonbury. Oh my was it just the most charming place we have ever stayed!

Because life is so hectic we only got to stay for one night, but we are now determined to go back again when we can! We stayed in part of the barn which has been converted to a guest suite complete with a kitchen and loft bedroom. There is enough room in this space to even bring kids someday–who would get a kick out of the farm animals on the other side of the wall. Not to worry, when you are in the suite, you can’t hear a peep and the gardens surrounding the barn are filled with mature trees for privacy and seasonal blooms (which we hope to experience next time around), it really is a private space. I really love all of the original barn wood that has been incorporated throughout the home too–on the stairs, the moldings and trims, beams, and even left exposed in the corners of the main room. It made for a special touch.

The inn-keeper, Don, was as charming as ever, and so accommodating! He went out of his way to find a gluten free English muffin to accompany my breakfast for Sunday morning. The food was delicious on top of the whole charm of the space and it’s host, I don’t know that I’ve tasted eggs better than the ones we had that morning.

After breakfast we took a little tour of the main house, being built in 1720, still with much of the existing charm, it was quite the treat to see all of the fireplaces and wood work throughout the home. I didn’t get any images of the interior of the main house, but I tried to take a decent few of the guest suite in the barn… as you can tell I was quite taken with the space.

The farm animals were a fabulous extra benefit if you ask me. I’m sort of like a 5 year old when it comes to things like this, but I must’ve run back to the goats three times after we loaded up the car to pet them just one more time before actually heading out.

We slowly made our way home, first driving out to the ocean in Old Saybrook to soak up the scenery and have a seafood lunch. Also, as part of our wedding cake arrangement, Dee’s One Smart Cookie makes you a fresh cake on your anniversary, we hadn’t had time to get back up around the fall, so we ordered our cake for this special getaway and Dee delivered it to the B&B for us. We took it with us and got extra forks with our lunch, then parked up at the leaf dump and had some cake by the ocean to celebrate.

All in all, my heart is so full of love for P and our little life together. I cherish these special weekends that we get to spend in each others company, they are the perfect way to not just celebrate the time we have spent together, but really reconnect and dream about our future.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend too and would highly recommend the Butternut Farms B&B if you are ever in need of a place to stay in Connecticut. We really did love it and we really do plan to go back! What places have you been to that you were just enamored with? Any good b&b’s or vacation spots we need to add to our list? We are always looking for a good recommendation for a getaway!!

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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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The Life Changing Magic

So this year one of my goals was to spend more time reading and to make my own home a priority in getting it to the same level of comfort as I work so hard to help my clients get to in their homes.

"The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up", Marie Kondo, KonMari Method, KonMari, LIfechanging Magic, Life Changing, Tidying UP, Organization, Spring Cleaning, Sorting, Home, Japanese art of decluttering, declutter

Well I’m busy, so time to read ends up falling pretty low on the totem pole, but I had heard so much about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo that I thought maybe that would be a good way to get two birds. Read something that helps me get my own home more in order.

So again, with no time to read, I posted on Facebook about audio book apps and what people thought of them. Most of my friends left comments raving about both Audibles and Overdrive, and I would be willing to try either, however Overdrive is a free service that works in connection with library systems so it is only as good as the library you are linked to and Audibles is a monthly fee for one book per month or a higher fee for multiple books. You can look into more on that here, but I ultimately decided to download Overdrive and connected using my Mom’s library card to start and see about the service.

Her library is amazing and so far has had every title I have searched for and I’m on my third book with more on hold… I might be addicted to audio books. 

That said, the first book we listened to was the life changing magic, to learn the KonMari method. I say we because I wanted to make sure that P and I listened together so that we could work on the process together, sense after all we share the 525SF space equally with equal amounts of possessions that add to our chaos and do not bring us joy.

We started listening to the book on Monday the 18th I want to say. On Friday the 22nd there was a blizzard brewin’ so I stopped at Home Goods on my way home to buy some organizational baskets and things. Friday night we listened to more of the book and Saturday morning we listened throughout brunch until we got to a point where we felt we had heard enough to get the concept and start working on it. (This was about 2/3 through the book where she had completed discussing the order of the process and how the process works, so we were in a good place really to start.)

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Everything all laid out, ready to sort. No judgement!

I have to say, at first it was hard and I did end up with a lump in my throat sorting through some items. P and I discussed it and he said that he learned after a few ‘tough’ items to figure out, he realized that he really knew which way he should go on them and some things were just harder to detach from, but if they don’t look good, feel good, etc., then do they really bring you joy just taking up space?

We moved past the hump, finishing our clothes and by Sunday morning our closet was put back together in such a stunning way, and we had rearranged our bedroom minimally but gained so much space in the process! (Can’t wait to share more on this down the road!)

The order that Marie Kondo discusses in her book is first clothing, then books, papers, komono and mementos. Komono is a Japanese term that basically covers all of the miscellaneous items you may have, such as linens, cleaning products, medicines, accessories around the home, kitchen goods (from dishes to the items in your pantry), etc., so this is a vast category to get through.

Sunday we worked through all of our books, then started on the komono (there is a specific list/order to follow mentioned in the book).

Monday after work, we went through our papers, realizing we had skipped this necessary and evil step.

Tuesday we sorted through a few more areas of komono in the morning, and then started taking a few things to the car to donate.

Tuesday night we took out our narrow dresser that had been in our closet along with our old filing cabinet, both now empty, down to the street (in JC if you put any furniture on the curb, people will come pick it up in under 24 hours) and someone else had picked them up by the time I got home from work the next evening. The last few nights and mornings upon coming and going to work, we have taken a few more items and loaded them into the car.

This morning, I took the first car load to the Goodwill Donation Center. In this car-load alone, we donated 10 garbage bags of clothing/shoes/accessories, 2 boxes of ‘komono,’ 2 folding chairs. At home we still have 3 bags of closthing/komono, one box of books and one more folding chair to donate that wouldn’t fit in the car this time around. That and we still have about half of the komono category to go through. Not to mention, we have also taken something like 6 bags down to the garbage and recycling (mostly recycling when we can!) since we started sifting through everything, and we have one stuffed bag to take to the shredder.

Here is what I am feeling throughout this process. First of all, holy shit. How is it possible that we even had so many things just sitting around, stuffed in corners and hidden away in the back of our closet that we truly don’t love?! That in and of itself is crazy. Second of all, I feel amazing. I am starting to feel lighter in my space.

When I would come home from work before, it was always hard for me to feel calm. I always felt like there was something that had to be taken care of because there is always stuff everywhere and surfaces covered. Especially doing what I do I have always felt a bit of guilt that my home doesn’t look and feel as beautiful as my clients do.

Homes should be lived in, and that means they should have stuff. You should have things that are meaningful to you laying out on your surfaces. Things that when you see them bring you joy. But you shouldn’t have a seemingly bottomless pile of junk mail covering a section of your kitchen counter no matter how many times you clear away that section. You shouldn’t have your electronics (laptops, iPads, etc.) just laying around on the coffee table. And you shouldn’t have a pile of miscellaneous crap just sitting on the table for no good reason. For these reasons, I am completely absorbed and invested in the KonMari method. The life changing magic is no joke.

I can feel our life changing. I can feel the weight of the things that don’t matter to us that have been filling our lives being lifted away.

For now, things are still in a state of chaos as we are still sifting through things one day at a time and around the time when we are at work or my client appointments, etc., because this takes time. The more you have, the longer it can take. In the book Marie Kondo says that it can take up to 6 months for some people… I’m aiming to be done in less than one just because I don’t do well with things up in the air-I need some sense of finality, but I also want it to be done right, so we will get it done when we can.

We have still been listening to the book and are just about finished with it. I have started to get really excited about what this ‘life change’ means for us moving forward. I think we will be so much more comfortable and relaxed in our home.

I will report back once we are truly finished with the process and the book as a whole, but I had to share what we have been up to and how amazing it has been so far. It is certainly not easy, and I wouldn’t recommend starting the process without considering what it means and if you are really mentally/emotionally/physically ready for the grueling process. I also have to say that having your spouse (or house-mates) on board is HUGE. For me, knowing that P is in this with me has been so wonderful. I feel supported and that it is a joint effort to move forward with a tidier lifestyle, and thus I feel my efforts are not wasted but matched.

Have you heard all the rage on the KonMari method and this book? Do you buy it? Do you want to try it? If you have questions, chime in in the comments section, I’m happy to help if I can!

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Words for the New Year

Hey Friends, I know it has been a month since I last blogged, December was crazy and I needed a little reset and to take one thing off my plate for a little while. But, I’m back!

Jersey Shore, Beach, January at the Beach, Coast, East Coast, Serene, Open Beach, Empty Beach,Jersey Shore, Beach, January at the Beach, Coast, East Coast, Serene, Open Beach, Empty Beach,

I’m so excited to see what this new year has to offer for our life, family and for our design ventures. DBK is busy with clients in such a good way. I am learning a better work life balance and not to be busy with projects all the time, I am starting to be more selective with the projects and clients I do take on and I am learning to ask for help when I need it. To say the least, things are already starting to feel amazing in the New Year! I thought these were particulary wise words, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life,” well said Socrates (on a background of Majestic Violet by Benjamin Moore).

quote, words, dbkwords, beware the barrenness of a busy life, socrates,

We spent the holidays with my family on vacation and it was so great to have Christmas with my mama (and of course my step dad, sister and hubby)! We didn’t work at all while we were away and for that I am so grateful, even P took a complete break and really soaked up the downtime!  I finished a book, worked on some knitting, did a puzzle, played games with the fam, lounged by the pool and in the best hammock ever and soaked up the time with my family.

Hammock, Christmas, Florida, Holiday, Relax, Relaxation, Rest, Restful, Bare Feet,

New Years we spent the weekend at the new jersey shore. Had an amazing morning at the beach, had some delicious meals and more great time to just reset and think about what we want from 2016.

Golden Retriever, Sully Boy, Brantley Bub, Wheaten Terrier, Beach Dogs, Beach Puppy, Puppies at the Beach, Dogs at the beach, Playful puppies, ocean, January at the beach, Winter Beach.

We have decided that we want to take this year and really build some amazing memories. P had said that compared to the year we had in 2014 (we bought our condo, brought home #BrantleyBub, got married and had the most incredibly honeymoon), 2015 really didn’t live up. I think it was sort of a year of balance last year. With 2014 being as awesome as it was, we needed a year that had a little less going on.

For DBK it was still an incredible year last year with so many amazing projects. I spent some of the last month taking inventory of our year in design projects and last year was something special to say the least. So from a business/design side of things, I’m so thrilled to see the beautiful spaces we put together this year.

New Year, New Mantra, Less Stuff, More Moments, Make Memories, DBK Words, Less is More, quote

And personally, we are putting a big push on making some incredible memories. We are planning some great trips, some updates to the condo and a whole lot of elimination of stuff. I shared our new mantra on Instagram over the weekend, “less stuff, more moments,” and I think even just the idea of that makes me feel light and happy. Commence excitement for all of the above!!

What are you most looking forward to in the new year? Do you have any big plans, or any plans to keep it simple? Any New Years Resolutions or like us maybe a new mantra?

Either way, we wish you all the best for 2016 and can’t wait to share in more projects and adventures with our blogging community!

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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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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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