Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Looking for Dining Room Inspiration



Hi all! Long time, no blog.  It has been a crazy spring and family has had to come before blogging.  I believe that things are settling down now as we are into summer and hopefully I can start to re-focus.  The kids are all finished with school and are into to their sleeping-in routine. This makes for quiet mornings for me to get my creative juices flowing again over a cup of tea.

You might (or might not) notice that the blog is looking like it's original self. I wasn't totally happy with the new header and didn't really have the time to tweak it so I just took it back to the tired and true pink and green theme. I will be working on a new header and design, but will wait until it is perfect before it  makes it's debut.

My dining room has been really bugging me lately. For one thing, the hubs has sort of taken it over for the last couple of years because he is one of the scout leaders in our son's scout troop.  By the way, I am usually not one to brag except for now---my son recently became an Eagle Scout.  I'm one proud mamma! Anyway, back to the dining room.  It has been the storage area for so much scout crap paraphernalia and I must say that I am totally over it all. It is all going to be moved to some other victim leader's house in the next week or so. I really really really want to do some work in that room once all of that stuff is gone. I am contemplating paint colors and looking at pinterest and magazines for inspiration.

I found this on Pinterest:

Mary McDonald
This dining room by Mary McDonald is drop dead gorgeous. Now does this work for my dining room? That would be a big fat no. It is just too formal for the furniture that I have to work with. But I love the green color  of the wallpaper with the creamy (pale yellow?) drapes along with the mix of furnishings.


Then there is the other side of me that wants to go more casual and beachy. Like the dining room in the Somethings Gotta Give movie house done by James Radin.

James Radin

I am a coastal beachy girl at heart so this dining room still makes my heart swoon. Does it work in my dining room? Not quite, but it is possibly doable. By that I mean that I think I can work with my existing furniture etc. to take the room more in the direction of being more casual and beachy.  I love the creamy color on the walls and it appears to be somewhat similar to a color I have running through a lot of my house. My family room, breakfast nook, playroom and hallway are all painted Benjamin Moore Linen Sand and I find it quite livable and lovely.
   
           

It has that creamy vibe to it. But do I really want to paint my dining room this color? If I did, I think that I would want to also paint my living room this color too since they open up to each other. Doing this would probably give me more of the vibe that I really want in the house though and it also works well with my dining room furniture that I am stuck with.



I actually really like my farmhouse style dining room table and chairs. They belonged to my husband before we got married and is actually  very nice  furniture. I also adore the dresser that we added later. We found it in an antique shop in town and I think it works well with the table and chairs.  It is bird's eye maple and walnut and I love the retro vibe it gives off. What I despise is the corner cabinet. Well maybe despise is too strong of a word. We bought it when we lived in a much smaller house and it was perfect in the tiny dining room there. It also matched the table and chairs which I would never do now. I have discussed painting it with the hubs but he says "no way".  By the way, he thinks that everything with a wood grain is beautiful and doesn't understand why anyone would paint furniture unless the finish was damaged or something.  I will keep working on him, but for now will respect his wishes.

Note to self---turn out light before photographing.

The color of the walls appears to be lighter than they really are. They are definitely a golden yellow color. I think it was Glidden Soft Gold---it was a long time ago. Anyone have any suggestions? Should I go with a more dramatic color or take it more coastal?

Happy Summer!



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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

J. CREW Brompton Mini-Hobo Review



Hi all! Yes, I am still alive. I know it has been a while since my last post and they have been sporadic at best lately. Sorry about that. I hope that everyone had a lovely Mother's Day! Mine was enjoyable. The hubs brought me red roses and the kids got me a nice bromeliad and made me beautiful cards. My son is quite the artist and sketched me a beautiful sea shell. We met the in-laws for lunch on Sunday and then I lounged by the pool with the newspaper for a bit. All in all it was a wonderful day for me!

I had posted recently that I wanted a new brown handbag. Click here to see that post. I am on a J.Crew kick right now and really thought that I would love their Biennial Hobo.  Since they were offering a 30% off everything at the time, I decided to order the handbag in the saddle color and also wanted to try the Brompton Mini-Hobo as well. I hoped to like one of the bags and return the other one.  Well, the Biennial Hobo is a beautiful bag, but it is simply too large for me. I am 5'3" tall and that bag sort of swamped me. My stuff also got lost in it and I don't think I could ever fill it up. If you need a really large bag, it might work for you, but I had to return it.

The Brompton Mini-Hobo was another story......

J.CREW Brompton Mini-Hobo in Henna


I will tell you that I LOVE this handbag. The size is perfect for me and I am not sure why they call it "mini" really. To me is it is just a normal size bag. Actually it is still very generous in size. It is also very well designed with a large side zip section that is perfect for  your wallet and then an even larger section that closes with a turn lock closure so it is easy to get in and out of. It has interior zip pockets as well as slip pockets for cell phone, sunglasses etc.

This bag is plenty big for what I carry with room to spare for a small umbrella, a water bottle and even a magazine.




I put my checkbook size wallet in the large zipper compartment with plenty of room for other items too.

Nice size zipper pocket with brass plate J.Crew logo.

Roomy slip pockets.  Having camera issues---sorry for blur.

The leather is scrumptious and feels like buttah.  It is soft and supple pebbled leather and it has a vintage feel to it, and I mean that in a good way. It is lined with cotton twill. The hardware is quite substantial and appear to be of good quality, and the turn lock closure seems to be pretty solid. It squeaks a bit, but I would imagine that will go away with time and use. The handles are long enough to wear over my shoulder but I also like to carry it on my arm. There is an adjustable shoulder strap as well that you can take off if you want. It is nice to have if you want to wear the bag cross body or just wear it on your shoulder that way too.

Side snaps to give it a more steamlined look. Unsnap if you are carrying more stuff.

Easy to remove adjustable strap


Look how much it expands!



I also love the henna color of this bag. It is really seasonless and goes with a lot of colors and styles of clothing.  So this one is definitely a keeper, especially with 30% off. Would I buy it for full price? Probably not, but it would not be because it isn't worth it. If you compare the quality and features of this bag with other comparable brands (and even higher end brands...), I think it might be worth the full price. But, when you know there is always a discount eventually, you might as well wait for it.  Amen?

And to give you a real person feel for the size of this bag, here it is on my 5'3" frame. It is plenty big and not mini at all. The regular size Brompton would be way too big for me plus I just don't need that much space.






So now you have met my new love. I hope the hubs doesn't get jealous!  Have a wonderful day!


P.S.  I didn't receive anything from J.Crew to write this post.


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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tory Burch Thora Sandal Review


Hi all! How is every one's Tuesday going so far? We got an early start this morning because my daughter had a dentist appointment at 7:10 a.m.!  We got her teeth cleaned (no cavities--yea!) and made it to school on time too.   She has an orthodontist appointment later today so this is a day of oral health for her!

Last Friday I had posted (click here to see) about some pretties that I had ordered for myself with some birthday cash. So I thought I would so some reviews this week as they all start to trickle in.

First up is the Tory Burch Thora sandal in black patent. I received these sandals late yesterday. Unfortunately, our UPS person comes late and the hubs actually intercepted the order. I hate it when that happens!  Anyway, I was finishing up with dinner and he comes in the kitchen and tells me that I have a package from Tory B*@&%.  Very funny. (not really...).

I was able to get into the box after dinner and they are very cute and just what I was looking for. They smell like leather when you open the box which is always a good thing. The patent leather is nice and shiny and the foot bed appears to be leather also. The bottom is rubbery and very lightweight.


As you can see, there is a pattern on the foot bed. I had read some reviews that stated that this was painful to the bottom of your feet at first. I have only walked around the house in these so far, but this is not bothering me at all at the moment.


See how shiny the patent leather is? I am not sure I would like these as much in the tumbled leather. I like tumbled leather, but it might be boring on this simple thong sandal. The patent leather gives them a little zip. The silver Tory Burch logo is prominent but not over the top. Some of her logos on the shoes and handbags are a little much in my opinion and I like the little more understated logo on this shoe.


In case you are interested, here is the bottom of the shoe with more Tory logo so you can leave a Tory Burch imprint wherever you go. As mentioned earlier, they are very lightweight on the feet.

They come in only whole sizes and I am a size 8 but sometimes will take an 8.5 if I need some width because my tootsies are a touch wide. I ordered the 8 and they fit perfectly and are quite comfortable.

I plan to wear these sandals a lot over the spring and summer and even into the fall because I am in Florida. They will look great with shorts and pants/jeans and even with casual dresses and skirts. They would also be perfect on the beach or by the pool. As far as longevity goes, only time will tell. My first impression is that they will not last more than a couple of years and the retail price of $125 might be a bit much for them. I used a $50 birthday coupon to purchase these and that makes them a little more worth it. The bottom line is that I give the Tory Burch Thora sandal the thumbs up and would probably purchase another color if a good sale came along.

So what do you think? Do you have the Thora sandal? Do you have any other Tory Burch items that you love? I would love to hear your opinion.

Hope you are having a spectacular Tuesday!


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Friday, April 26, 2013

Retail Therapy


Hello all! It's been a while, but I am still here! Do you find yourself getting a little burned out at the end of the school year? Well, that is where I am at the moment. I am SO ready for summer and a simpler schedule. This week has been super hectic because my daughter is in a school play.  She has two more performances today and then we can relax!

I decided that I needed a little retail therapy to give me a boost.  I also had  some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket and have found a few sales too tempting.

I love Tory Burch but have never bit the bullet and put up the cash for any of her beautiful things. I get emails from them and I must have put my birthday in because they emailed me a $50 coupon to be used pretty much on anything. I needed some new black sandals, so I ended up ordering these cuties in black patent.



I haven't received the order yet so I will have to let you know how they are. I think they will look cute with pretty much any casual outfit! My Tory Burch loving sister also shared that if you order via the Tory Burch store on Facebook, you can always get free shipping with no minimum! Thanks Sis!

I also needed some new brown sandals too. I have some adorable brown thongs that I have had for years, but the sole has split and they will have to be retired.  I decided that I wanted another pair of Jack Rogers sandals if I could find them in the right shade of brown. I want more of a saddle color of brown as opposed to a darker and more true brown.  This is what I found:



I ordered these babies on Amazon and the price is a super deal because they have them priced like regular Jack Roger sandals instead of the Black Label price which is usually a bit higher.  They are a bit expensive but these sandals are excellent quality and they literally last forever, so they are worth the money in my opinion. The style is so iconic and timeless. I think I will get a lot of wear out of them.

Moving away from shoes now.....   I also have a small JCrew order arriving today. I had a 30% off coupon and just felt the need to use it too.  I found these pretties for my closet:


The Ikat tee was in the sale section (final sale actually---ugghh!). I think it will be a great casual top to wear with shorts and jeans.




I recently bought a long sleeve chambray shirt which I  love because of it's versatility. I did a post here.  This short sleeve chambray top was a bit of an impulse buy, but I think I might find it equally versatile to wear when it is warmer and I don't want to wear long sleeves. It is also a darker shade than my long sleeve version. I am not crazy about the button up to the top look though....

I also would love a new summer handbag, but that one might have to wait a bit.  I love this bag from JCrew.


This bag would actually be suitable for year round use and the style is quite classic. I love the saddle color!  I do have a bag of similar color which is in excellent condition but I have had that bag for probably 10 years! It is a traditional tote but the straps kill my shoulders, so I am thinking of replacing it. I want to watch this bag to see if the price might eventually come down a bit. I can get it at 30% off now, but it is still a bit much.

I also LOVE Kate Spade bags and wold love to have this little beauty!


The color is perfect for summer and the quilting is so yummy! This bag is the perfect size for me too. I really don't like gigantic bags. Now if only I had some more birthday money......

I have noticed that retailers are really pushing the longer strap cross body bags. I am just not that crazy about that look and really prefer a traditional shoulder bag.  I would imagine that the cross body bags would be very convenient since you can walk around with your hands-free. What are your thoughts about cross body bags? Love 'em? Hate 'em?

I hope that you have a fabulous weekend! I hope to have some more projects for you soon....



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Monday, April 15, 2013

Rug Shopping


Happy Monday to all! How was your weekend? I am still trying to get over the cold/allergy crud but I am gradually feeling better, and I almost feel normal today. I was not too sick to shop though and convinced the hubby to do a little rug shopping. You might remember that I want to add a rug to my living room.

We started out heading to Pottery Barn but ended up at an Oriental rug store nearby first. We found some very pretty rugs, but they were all a lot more than we really wanted to spend. The hubs and I tend to like nice things, so we were definitely distracted by these rugs. The guy in the shop was really good and knew a lot about each rug and he had a story for each one. I believed the stuff about where the rug came from and whether it was antique or not, but some were made by monks and other by Bedouins and carried to market on Llamas. You get the picture. Anyway, it all sounds good, but who knows?

Here are some very bad pictures of some our favorites---all out of budget and probably never coming home with us, but it is fun to look....



This one was so pretty and one of a kind, but probably too colorful. It was also "woven by monks who shave their own sheep for the wool"
----uh huh....



I LOVED this one....

Then we went to Pottery Barn and everything looked like crap....   Just kidding!  You can just see the difference after seeing the real McCoy. I am probably going to end up with my first thought which was a natural fiber rug and Pottery Barn has a nice selection of those and they are on sale until July.


We also took the kids to dinner at our favorite BBQ place. If you are ever in Orlando, it is worth dragging yourself away from tourist world down around Disney and taking a field trip up to Winter Park to eat at this restaurant. 4 Rivers Smokehouse has the best BBQ in the entire central Florida area. Like most BBQ joints, it is not fancy. There is no table service and you have to stand in a LONG line Disney style to order your food. The brisket is legendary, but honestly everything is good there. If you go, get the cheese grits because you will think you have died and gone to heaven! They are also famous for their fried pickles which I am not a fan of, but I am not a pickle person. They also have fabulous desserts and sweet treats. When we were there, I snapped a photo of this sign. I thought it is a good mantra to live our lives by.



You will see these magnets on cars around town in Orlando. They represent 4Rivers.





So, how was your weekend?




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Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Favs from the Blogosphere

Happy Friday to all! Are you celebrating that the weekend is almost here? We are certainly ready for it around here, although the weekends can be almost as busy at M-F.  Tree pollen still has me firmly in it's grip, but I do feel a little better today. We might be getting some rain and I would be thankful if it would wash some of this nasty pollen out of the air.

For this edition of Friday Favs, I thought I would feature some of my favorite projects from around the blogosphere. I am always amazed by what other bloggers are doing and these projects are all so inspiring.
If you would like to pin these images, please click on the link below the photo and that will take you to the original source and you can pin from there.

First up is Elizabeth from the little black door blog. She is a very talented designer and I adore her blog---she is so funny! I am in love with the farmhouse kitchen that she created for a client. You should look at the before photo, but the after shown here is amazing.



Next up is Karianne from Thistlewood Farms.  She is so creative and imaginative and this Bicycle Wheel Clock is totally cool.   Only Karianne could turn a bike wheel, a yard stick and some chalk into a clock.


And then there is Jennifer from Chronicles of Home. I am new to her blog, but now it is on my daily check-in list. She reupholstered a sofa and it is awesome! Love the nailhead trim!



Given that I am wanting to change the drapes in my living room and dining room, I was super impressed by Cassie at Hi Sugarplum!'s new dining room drapes. She lined them and even added pinch pleats! I am hoping a tutorial will be coming in the future. The ikat fabric is just perfect in the room.



Hope your weekend is FABULOUS!



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