Holiday Target Finds Styled 6 Different Ways

High style doesn’t have to mean a high price tag. A quick stop at the dollar or discount section of many stores can provide a solid basis for great designs. A personal favorite of mine? The “Bullseye’s Playground” section at Target. Many of you may call it the dollar spot, even though items usually range from $1-10. It’s that area right inside the door of your Target store that pulls us all in. The buyers do a particularly good job of sourcing small scale, fun and trendy, home decor items. Most of us cannot help but stop and look for the newest finds.
Target Finds

This season I, myself, walked away with $19 of Winter Holiday goodies in my basket.
(1) 4 Pack Small Evergreen Bottle Brush Trees…..$3
(1) 2 Pack Large Evergreen Bottle Brush Trees…..$3
(1) Ceramic Tea Light House……………………………,$3
(1) String Battery Operated Star Lights in Gold……$5
(1) Large Silver Glitter Bottle Brush Tree…………….$3
(2) Small Glitter Bottle Brush Trees……………………$2
TOTAL $19

They’re each great, but together and with a little outside help from ordinary household items, they really shine. See for yourself and get inspired.

Style 1

Cakestand setting

Get out that cakestand you only use a couple times a year and put it to work. Arrange your items on top, circle the base with your light and voila-you’re ready to go.

Style 2

Setting on Fireplace

A setting on the mantle is a pretty traditional idea, but that’s because the results are always great. Use a piece of foam to elevate the house and cover it with cotton snow. For added effect, I put the lights underneath the snow to make the whole thing glow.

Style 3
Setting on Mirror

Decorative mirrors are another household item that you can use for a lot more than their intended purpose. The reflective surface enhances the effects of the lights. It makes the scene look fuller and brighter.

Style 4Scarf Setting

For this next style, I raided my closet. Finally, that green pashmina that’s been sitting in there has a use. Wrap the lights around a festive scarf or pashmina and drape around the ceramic house. Place the trees into the folds so they stand up nice and straight and you are done.

Style 5
Small House Door Wreath

Have a wreath that doesn’t get as much use as it could? Wrap the string of lights around the wreath. Hide the battery pack in the pine boughs and add some decorative floral inserts. You can attach the house to the wreath by hot gluing some zip ties to the base of the house. Once cooled wrap and tighten the zip ties around your wreath.

Style 6

Wreath 2Wreath 2 Close Up

Similar to the last one but instead of using the little house, use the bottle trees. I added a little more of the decorative floral inserts. The bases of the trees can be secured to the wreath by weaving them into the wreath material or tying them with string.

No Target close by? You can shop the Bullseye’s Playground selection online. CLICK HERE 

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Friday 5: Etsy Holiday Gift Guide 2017

The holiday gift shopping season has begun and the holidays are coming up quick. There are times when the whole hustle and bustle of the whole season becomes daunting. I struggle with the societal pressure to buy a gift for everyone I know which becomes so overwhelming. The pressure can take away from the magic of this special time of the year. That being said, the holidays are a wonderful opportunity to show appreciation for the people that really matter in our lives.
 
A gift, big or small, can mean so much when given with thought and love especially when they are handmade. Since we don’t always have the time, or skills to make all the items we would like to give, we have Etsy. Etsy, for those of you unfamiliar, is an online marketplace for handmade and vintage items. It is a great place to shop for unique items made by artists and artisans from all over the world.
 
Of course, there are times when we want to give a great gift, but can’t seem to find the right one. This gift guide is here to help. I have collected some items from Etsy, all $50 (USD) or less, for tough to buy for loved ones on your list. Happy Shopping!
1. The Teenage Girls
Unicorn-themed items are very trendy right now and that is why I picked this great sugar scrub. ModBathandBody has many other options as well, and they are all practical, usable and fun.
Unicorn Dreamer Whipped Sugar Scrub
Sugar Scrub Unicorn Dreamer | Unicorn Soap Sugar Scrub | Sugar Scrubs | Whipped Sugar Scrub | Exfoliating Sugar Scrub from ModBathandBody

The second option is the makeup brush travel bag. Great looking and it could double as pen or pencil holder or storage bag for the girls that aren’t as into makeup.

Makeup Brush Bag
Makeup Brush Bag Travel Makeup Brush Holder Makeup Brush Pouch Brown makeup bag Makeup Storage Travel Cosmetic Bag from LudaMelnick
2. The Teenage Boys & Men

Guys, in my opinion, can be very hard to buy for but I feel like I hit the jackpot with the following items. A great looking, yet masculine phone speaker is perfect for any music lover on your list.

Acoustic Phone Speaker
Acoustic Phone Speaker OKTIE Passive Phone Speaker Wood Phone Dock Android and iPhone Great Gift Retro Speaker Amplifier from OKTIEofficial

The phone stand that works as a storage area and charging station is perfect for today’s day and age. Bonus, it works as a small item storage and display area.

Rustic Wood Phone Stand
Black Vintage Industrial Rustic Wood Phone Stand / Docking Station / Charging Station / Cell Phone Holder / Phone Stand Wood from IndustriralMatter
3. The Kids

While you may not think of children as hard to buy for with all of the toys available today, it is hard to find gifts that are not electronic and that stimulate the mind. Get the kids on your list into reading with this fun nursery rhymes book that is personalized to incorporate their name.

Timeless Nursery Rhymes and Poems Baby Book Gift
Timeless Nursery Rhymes and Poems Baby Book – Beautiful Baby Gift, Child’s Christening Present – Baby Shower Treasured Keepsake Gift from MyMaginNameBook

Another personalized option is the wooden name puzzle. Puzzles are a great, technology-free way to build problem-solving skills.

Personalized Wooden Name Puzzle Gift
Personalized wooden name puzzle, newborn baby birthday gifts, nursery decor wood letters, toddler toy, wedding gift, for family, custom word from YourWoodenMaster
4. The Host & Hostess

This time of year sees a lot of holiday parties, but what to bring the host or hostess? While it may seem a little generic, the beautiful marble and rose gold coaster set below is a great option. The style is a classic, yet very popular and they will last forever.

Hexagon Marble Rose Gold Coaster Set of 4
Hexagon Marble Rose Gold Coaster Set of 4 Drink Coasters, Bar Coasters or Home Décor from MarbleObject

Want to stick to the basics and just bring a bottle of wine? No problem, but why not dress it up with one of these fun gnome bottle toppers that can be reused for years to come?

Adorable Santa Face Wine Bottle Toppers Gift
Adorable Santa Face Wine Bottle Toppers Olive Oil Bubble Bath Bottle Toppers Set of 3 from Sunflowermom
5. The Newlyweds

Buying for the couples that just celebrated their nuptials can be a challenge. They just received a plethora of gifts, one of which was probably from you, so keep it simple. Of course “simple” doesn’t need to be thoughtless, a great option is the customized wooden snowflake ornament below that also commemorates their wedding date and location.

Wooden Snowflake Ornament Gift
Wooden Snowflake Ornaments, Christmas gift Married Christmas Ornament Wood Christmas Decorations, Snowflakes Christmas tree ornaments from WoodenEngravedShop

 

Commemorative items are a great way to celebrate new couples, and at an amazing price, this one can’t be beaten. Starting at $5 you can give a customized gift that will help to create the setting for a perfect first Christmas for a lucky couple.

Soy Candle Newlywed Gift
Holiday Scented Candles, First Christmas as Mr and Mrs, Newlywed Christmas Gift, Christmas Gift, Christmas Candle, Soy Candle, Newlywed Gift from AtoZCandles
Bonus: The Traveler

I threw this bonus item in because I think it is awesome! For anyone who travels in your life, this would be an amazing gift. A beautiful map of the World or smaller various regions, you choose, that you get to scratch off locations as you visit.

Scratch Map from TravelMapPoster
Bestseller Map with golden foil, 88 x 63 cm (34.6 x 25.2 inches) from TravelMapPoster

Happy Shopping! And remember, it is the thought and love that counts, not the price tag!

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Make the Best Pumpkin Pie This Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is coming up quick. For many Americans, that means pumpkin pie on the dessert table. This year, instead of stopping by your favorite bakery, try making one from scratch. I will warn you, that “easy as pie” does not actually apply to pie making. But, with some patience and a good recipe, you will be well on your way to being the star of Thanksgiving.
Best Pumpkin PIe First, we start with the crust. A homemade crust will far outshine a store bought one, but either one will work. I use a traditional, simple recipe from Genius Kitchen for my crust which you can find HERE. This recipe includes vinegar which helps prevent the formation of gluten that causes tough crusts (1). It also is a good recipe for either Lard or Vegetable Shortening approaches. I have made it using both and do tend to prefer Lard crusts which are crispier and flakier. Note that you do not need a pastry blender to make this recipe. All you need to do is use two knives in a crisscrossing motion to “cut in” the lard or shortening. For a great video on “cutting in” lard or shortening click HERE.
Cut In
 When your dough is ready or purchased, you will move onto prepping and pre-baking your crust. If you need to roll out your dough make sure you use plenty of flour on your work surface, the dough and the rolling pin. Flour keeps your crust from sticking to things and tearing. Always roll from the center of the dough ball towards the edges. Be careful not to overwork your dough or get it too warm or you will end up with a tough crust.
 The important thing when it comes to crust for a pumpkin pie is that it is blind-baked, meaning it is pre-cooked. Pumpkin pie is a “custard” pie, it only uses a bottom crust and the filling is liquid when added. You need to pre-bake the crust so that the filling does not seep into the raw dough and cause a gooey mess. The directions for blind baking a homemade crust are below. All store bought crusts should include directions for blind baking on the packaging. Once you get your dough into your pan and form the edge, step by step instructions below, you will begin prepping for pre-baking.
Raw Dough in Pan
 Note that this step calls for pie weights. Weights are important as they prevent the crust from bubbling and tearing. You can buy them for a few dollars on Amazon, or even simpler, use rice or dried beans. Use all the weights in a set, or fill the center using the beans or rice. You will remove all the weights for the last few minutes of the pre-bake to brown your crust.
Pie Weights
 Next comes the filling, you put all the ingredients in the bowl and mix them, what could be more simple? The filling recipe below is very nice because it makes a spicy, moist filling that will not be runny. I have refrigerated this pie for up to a week and have not had it liquify, which has happened to me with other recipes. Add the filling to the crust and bake, but be attentive while it is in the oven, pumpkin pie is easy to overbake. The pie is done when the edge of the filling has begun to set and slightly darken but the center is still jiggly. If it goes for too long you will see cracks in the filling and have scorch marks near the edges.
Filling
 Last, but not least, dress up your pie with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. The flavor will bring your dessert to the next level. This might all sound like a lot, but once you get going it goes very quickly. Have some fun with your pie and dress it up. Use fun cutouts on the crust, or spice up your filling with your favorite spices.
Any way you make it, a homemade pie, made with love, is always well received.
 
Print Recipe
The Best Pumpkin Pie
A nice firm and spicy filling, paired with a flaky crust makes for one delicious dessert.
Prep Time 30 Minutes
Cook Time 1.5 Hours
Servings
Slices
Ingredients
Pie Crust
Pie Filling
Homemade Whipped Cream
Prep Time 30 Minutes
Cook Time 1.5 Hours
Servings
Slices
Ingredients
Pie Crust
Pie Filling
Homemade Whipped Cream
Instructions
Crust
  1. Follow the directions for your chosen pie crust recipe, if you need a good recipe see the one I listed above. Make either half of the recipe or cut the final in half, saving the other half for later use as that is all you will need for this pie. If you want to make a patterned crust make the entire recipe. *If you are using a pre-made pie crust follow the directions on the packaging for blind baking the crust.
  2. Remove your dough from the refrigerator and let sit on the counter 5-15 minutes, or until malleable. Flour your work surface and place the dough on top. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and also rub some flour onto your rolling pin.
  3. Begin rolling your dough from the center toward the outer edges working your dough into a smooth disc. Add flour as needed to keep your dough from sticking to your rolling pin or work surface.
  4. Continue rolling until your crust is around 13" in diameter and about 1/4" thick-try not to overwork your dough or let it get too warm.
  5. Carefully transfer your dough to a 9" deep dish pie pan. Gently press your dough to fit into your pie dish. Don't worry if you get a tear, simply patch it back up by pressing the two sides of the tear together and smoothing out.
  6. Trim the crust about 1/2" beyond the edge of your pan. Fold the edges under to create a rim and press down to create a smooth edge.
  7. Crimp your edge using your fingers or a fork and pressing down into the rim. *To create an edge using leaf cutouts as shown above leave the rim smooth rather than crimping. Roll out some dough, to about a 1/4" thickness and use the leaf cutters to cut out pressed leaves. Place the cutouts on a baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Once you have finished baking the pie simply place the baked cutouts around the edges.
  8. Refrigerate the crust while you heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  9. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and place on a baking sheet- The baking sheet will make the pie much easier to move.
  10. Cover the crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill the crust with pie weights. If you do not have pie weights you can use dried beans or rice.
  11. Tent the edges with foil or use a silicone crust cover to prevent the edges from burning.
  12. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment paper and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the crust is golden and flaky. If it bubbles a little bit at this point just press it back down using a flat spatula. Leave the foil or silicone protector on the edges.
Filling
  1. For the filling, whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl. Once combined, pour into your pre-baked crust.
  2. Bake your pie for 50-60 minutes. Remove the foil or silicone cover after about 40 minutes to let the edges brown. The pie is done when the edges have just set and the center is still a bit jiggly.
  3. Let your pie cool at room temperature for a couple of hours, then either serve or refrigerate until ready eat.
Whipped Cream
  1. 1. Combine the heavy cream, sugar, and splash of vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk using an electric mixer until stiff peaks have formed. Use as soon as possible or store in an airtight container for up to 12 hours.
 See something you like?
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Friday 5: Inspirational Quotes from Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel was a French-born designer who revolutionized the fashion industry. Known to this day for her tailored suits, little black dresses, and signature scent. Inspired by menswear, her clothing designs focused on comfort over constraint. At a time when many women were still wearing corsets, she created comfortable and freeing, well-fitted clothing.

The only fashion designer on Time’s 100 Most Influential People of the Twentieth Century, her style remains iconic to this day. Coco Chanel was a hard worker with a passion who made a true difference. She believed that fashion wasn’t just clothes, that it was in everything around us. That luxury was about comfort and being yourself was true style. She defined elegance for the modern woman. Her wisdom is still applicable from wardrobe to home decor to life in general. I have collected some of my favorite, most inspiring quotes below. I hope you take something from them as I did.

"Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside." -Coco Chanel

Fashion and luxurious lifestyles can only take you so far. It sounds cliche to say that “beauty comes from within,” but Coco believed and we should practice.

"Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance." -Coco Chanel

Her little black dress is the epitome of an iconic design, and for good reason. It was simple and straightforward, yet captivating. She created a piece that let the woman in it shine through her clothing.

"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." -Coco Chanel

Coco voiced wisdom at the beginning of the Twentieth Century that is still beyond relevant today. Women should be heard as well as seen, and living that is true courage.

"Keep your heels, head and standards high." -Coco Chanel

One of my personal favorites. I repeat this to myself as a mantra at times. Feeling down about yourself and your progress in life? Don’t. Keep your head up and keep fighting for what you want and deserve.

"If you're sad, add more lipstick and attack." -Coco Chanel

Coco was truly a wise woman who embraced being a woman. A difficult feat for a businesswoman of her time. None the less she persevered and fought and we can all thank her for a lot. A true revolutionary who continues to be as relevant as ever.

Bonus Inspirational Quote:

Katharine Hepburn, another female revolutionary, played Coco Chanel in the Broadway musical “Coco,” which chronicled her life. She reminds us that we have to work hard if we want success.

 

                           Image result for gospel according to coco chanel

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Style Spotlight Fall 2017: Mad for Plaid

The beginning of October means that Fall Fashion Weeks’ in Europe and America are wrapping up. From the runway to the street this years’ events welcome back a classic, plaid. From handbags and footwear to wide leg trousers and jackets plaid was a standout pattern. Worn by models and fashion elites alike there were many different styles on display. Not surprising since plaid comes in an endless variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

A Lesson in Plaid
You may be wondering what the difference is between many of the different styles of plaid. Is there one? Yes, there are technical names for many standardized plaid patterns even though the term “plaid” is often used as a universal name for many. While these patterns come in a wide variety, they do all have one shared characteristic. All plaids use the intersection of vertical and horizontal lines at 90-degree angles to create patterns. Let’s look at a few examples.
Tartan Plaid
Tartan Plaid
Tartan is a traditional Scottish plaid that dates back centuries and is still seen today. The Tartan pattern uses a line repeat that is exactly duplicated on both the horizontal and vertical axes. Unlike a more generic “plaid,” which may have unique line repeats on each axis. Yet, both of these patterns use the overlapping regions of their lines to introduce new or mixed colors.
Glen Plaid
Glen Plaid
“Glen” or “Glen Urquhart” plaid is another lesser known pattern. It uses an alternating series of large and small checks. Often seen in suiting fabrics and utilizing houndstooth, Glen plaid traditionally uses muted colors.
Rob Roy Tartan
Rob Roy Tartan
Furthermore, a variety of check patterns  are often referred to as a “plaids,” including “Buffalo Plaid” and “Rob Roy Tartan.” These patterns use two or more alternating colors to create equal sized squares, and where the lines overlap, other colors appear.
Modern Plaids
These traditional plaids have taken on some modern twists in their latest iterations. By playing with scale, color and repeat textile designers have freshened up and modernized a classic. Modern versions often have bright, unique mixes of colors and playful line repeats. Large scales and metallic accents are being used to add a bit of whimsy.
Plaid for Your Wardrobe
Women, ready to add some plaid to your wardrobe, but not quite sure where to start? Grab a simple plaid shirt, skirt or scarf, and pair with sweaters, jeans and leather jackets. A few good pieces will provide an endless supply of mix and match opportunities. Shirt dresses are another on-trend way to spice up your attire this season.
Plaid for WomenFor men, plaid flannels have always been a staple. But, in the day and age where plaid is loud and proud, ties and even full jackets are a fun addition to the closet.
Plaid for Men
Plaid for Your Home
As popular as this trend is in the fashion industry right now, it is also a popular trend in home décor. Plaid evokes feelings of winter holidays and coziness. In preparation for the cold months ahead add some plaid touches to your favorite rooms. Use a plaid upholstered chair or sofa, or even wallpaper to create an eye-catching focal point.

Checkered Sofa

For a more subtle approach layer in plaid adorned throw pillows and blankets to create depth and interest. While it can be a very fun pattern, keep in mind that plaid can become overwhelming if overdone. Use patterns with similar color schemes or pair with chunky knits and neutral textures to avoid this issue.
No matter how you embrace it, plaid is a fun yet traditional way to dress up your autumn wardrobe and home!
Please note that some of the below include affiliate links. Meaning I may receive a small payment if you should purchase one of the products. To know more read my full disclaimer HERE.1|Plaid Table Decor-Frosting Home Decor on Etsy.com  2|Plaid Throw Blanket-hhprint on Etsy.com 3|Women’s Plaid Any Day Tunic-Target.com 4|Red Plaid Stag Throw Pillow-Cost Plus World Market 5|Women’s Sylvia Alexander Plaid Scarf-Target.com 6|Buffalo Plaid Knot Headband-shopantsypants on Etsy.com 7|Mid Mod Oval Stool Wood Legs-Plaid –Target.com
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Friday 5: Things To Do On An Autumn Weekend

Autumn is officially here once again and before we know it, it will be Winter. As the days get shorter, don’t forget to stop and inhale the crisp air. Partake in some seasonal activities and enjoy this special time of the year. Looking for some ideas? Check out my curated Autumn Weekend outline below.

Please note that some of the below include affiliate links. Meaning I may receive a small payment if you should purchase one of the products. To know more read my full disclaimer HERE.

Saturday

Saturdays are days for fun and adventure and family and friends. Take the opportunity to explore and spend time with those you love.

 1. Take a Drive

In our pursuit to get more done and be more efficient, we often take the shortest route to our destination. Forgo the quickest option this Autumn weekend and indulge in taking the scenic route. Roll the windows down and enjoy the Autumn sights and the sounds of the road less traveled.

 2. Head to a Pumpkin Patch or Apple Orchard

No Autumn weekend is complete without a trip to the local pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Find the perfect pumpkins to adorn your front stoop or holiday table. And, don’t forget to pick up a gallon of fresh pressed apple cider (you’ll see why later).

 3. Cook a Homemade Meal

Making a homemade meal to share with family and friends is one of the most rewarding activities you can do on a cozy Autumn weekend. I know some of you aren’t best friends with your kitchen but there is no reason that cooking a dinner has to be hard. Opt for a one-dish meal with minimal prep and let your oven do most of the work. One of my family’s favorites is Stuffing and Pork Chops with Apples. Find the simple recipe HERE.
***Bonus Idea: After a great meal, relax a little and enjoy the evening by having a bonfire in your backyard. Cold weather is coming, so take a moment to indulge in the crisp air and enjoy some stars. Remember to always check bonfire rules and regulations with your local municipality.

Sunday

Saturday saw a long day of driving, gathering, and cooking. Now, Sunday should be a day of rest and relaxation before another week.
4. Make a Steaming Cup of Hot Apple Cider

After a restful morning dig out that fresh pressed apple cider you picked up at the orchard and make the ultimate Autumn treat. A flavorful cup of steaming apple cider. One of my favorite ways to prepare is with Martinelli’s Organic Mulling Spices (available on Amazon, find it HERE). You can make either a single cup or a whole pot to share. Either way, prepare for an amazing aromatic experience.

5. Cozy up with a Blanket and Good Movie or Book

Now that you have a warm mug of happiness it’s time cozy up and kick back. Find a favorite blanket and a comfy seat. If you are looking for a new throw to add to your collection check out an awesome option from Target.com (pictured above, find it HERE). Next, pop in that movie you’ve been meaning to watch or open that book that’s been waiting for you. Take a few hours to escape reality.

No matter what you do slow down for a few minutes and enjoy the changing of the seasons.

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“Hip Hue” of the Month September 2017: Pink

September is upon us once again and Autumn is right around the corner. Visions of pumpkin patches, colorful leaves and cozy nights are dancing in our heads. So why on earth have I chosen Pink as this month’s “Hip Hue?” A color having nothing to do with the jewel tones and earthy hues that we tend to associate with Autumn?

Good question! The answer is simple; because pink is the trend, that like the Energizer Bunny keeps on going and going. The most recent iteration of the trend took off in 2016 with the Color of the Year “Rose Quartz.” Yet, unlike so many other color trends, it hasn’t been losing popularity so much as gaining it over time. It works as both a new neutral and a statement color. Quite a feat for a single hue.

Pantone recently announced their Fall Color Report and only one color was a real standout. You guessed it. In both the New York and London markets a shade of light pink made the list amongst a group of earth tones. While pink is not projected to be quite as popular as it’s Crimson cousins I don’t think it should be overlooked. While Pantone was specifically focusing on fashion, home decor appears to be following a similar trend. Light shades of this hip hue continue to be a popular choice for a wide variety of markets.

Pink invokes a sense of softness, love (romantic and familial) and innocence.  It also has cultural connotations of femininity. A great association for fashion pieces and home accessories. Using the color on a larger scale, like on walls, especially exterior walls create a wonderful juxtaposition that demonstrates the hues versatility.

Check out the below for a gathered collection of inspirational photos and fun products. There’s plenty of pink to go around!

Enjoy!

Pairing pink with darker tones can make it feel more serious.
Photo by Zachary Staines

Pink has many associations, like fluffy frosting, use it to your advantage.
Photo by Annie Spratt

Pair pink walls with subdued artwork and neutral furniture.
Photo by William Waldron

Utilize different shades and pair with metallics for an upscale feel. 

 

Nothing says classy and fun like a pink tulle skirt.Photo by Sabina Ciesielska

Feminine items stand out in this hip hue.

Haven’t had enough Pink yet? Check out these finds!
Please note that some of the below include affiliate links. Meaning I may receive a small payment if you should purchase one of the products. To know more read my full disclaimer HERE.
1|Blush Spinwash Dinner Plates Set Of 4-Cost Plus World Market 2|Oliver Gal Unframed Wall “What Your Heart Says” Canvas Art-Oliver Gal 3|Light Pink Pillow Cover-FLAXandSYMBOL 4|Linen Bedding Set-SeaMeLinen 5|Bridgehampton Natural Fiber Rug-Safavieh 6|KitchenAid KSM150PSPK Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield-Amazon.com 7|Black And Pink Stripe Scarf-Cost Plus World Market 8|Clay Art Stackable Mug 15oz Porcelain-Target.com

 

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Top Ideas from Bachman’s Spring Ideas House-“Urban Farmhouse”

One of my favorite ways to herald in the changing of each season is by attending the Bachman’s Ideas House. Bachman’s, a local Minneapolis company, has been a staple for gardening and landscaping supplies since 1885. Four times a year the original Bachman family home in South Minneapolis transforms to showcase the latest interior design trends and inspiring ideas. The Spring 2017 rendition was very on trend with its Urban Farmhouse theme. This season’s design had a few key elements. Whimsical patterns and finishes were set against simple gray and white backdrops. Details and accents were a mixture of metal and wood, as well as modern and vintage. And of course, there were lots of flower and plants incorporated. Below I have highlighted some of my favorite images and ideas from this seasons’ house. Room to room, there was a surprise around every corner.

(Click on the images for a larger look :))

Porch

Immediately through the front door, you enter the porch area.Set up as an entertaining zone this season, the whole space was fun and fanciful. Cow and pig pillows on the settee were the first signs of the Urban Farmhouse theme. The light overhead is a DIY combination of string lights, a lampshade, and some faux greenery.

The table itself had a plethora of small details and surprises for guests. The settings were painstakingly beautiful.

Pulling focus to the exterior of the room the window sills were home to live flowers. The curtains were a mixture of sheers and dishtowels adorned with decorative birdhouses.

Living Room

The living room is where I felt the Urban Farmhouse theme the most. Large reclaimed garage doors outfitted with reclaimed pipes and hanging funnels set quite the backdrop. The focus wall also included metal barn animal themed plates that eluded to a barnyard.

In addition, garden statues of a cow in the fireplace and ducks on the table also gave a very barnyard feel. The colorful flower arrangements throughout furthered the feeling of being in a pasture.

The end tables were a clever mixture of flowers and vintage themed items. The composition recreated the essence of simpler times.

Another nod to simpler times was the desk setup complete with a typewriter and wing-backed task chair. While not the most practical technology in today’s world, the design itself was excellent. A desk facing the front windows, surrounded by plants was a great idea for creating a peaceful work area within the main living space.

Bonus idea: Recognize the wall shelf? A historical reclaimed eave detail makes an excellent unique wall hanging that doubles a shelf.

 Kitchen

The small kitchen with large white ceramic sink was a picture perfect addition to the “farmhouse.” Over the sink metal plates and dishtowels acted as curtains. The lighting overhead was in the form of a wooden lantern.
The stove featured a work area with repurposed garden tools for hanging hooks. The chalkboard paint walls were a nice backdrop for notes. And the sconces made from garden hooks and lighting kits were a beautiful touch.

Hall

Moving from the first to the second and back provided as much interest as anywhere else in the house. A reclaimed wooden ladder, vintage frames, metal garden words and moss details provided a lot of interest in an otherwise boring space.

A stone garden bunny rests on some moss as yet another member of our stone farm collection.

Did you catch Wilbur and Charlotte in the laundry chute? Another nod to the Farmhouse theme.

 Master Bedroom

The master bedroom was very much a peaceful retreat for the urban “farmer.” Soft and subtle lighting and simple gray walls set the tone. Lots of mixed elements created a nice harmony in the room.Wood in the form of reclaimed doors adorned each side of the bed. Paired with a sheer curtain the doors acted as a headboard. Metal in the form of an old sewing machine base decorated with a limestone top formed a unique side table.

Additionally, pussy willows added some nature into the space without adding too much color. The bedding added some interest with a fun pattern, again in nice gray tones to keep from being too arousing.

Guest Bedroom

The guest bedroom was a bit more colorful than the master bed. Yellows and teals created a colorful but soft setting.

The yellow in the bedding transferred to the wall art. Simple pages from a botanical book hung using binder clips did a lovely job bring some color to the gray walls. The nightstands, made from repurposed ladders, were my favorite part.

Nursery

The nursery is always one of my favorite rooms of the house and this season was no different. A repurposed dresser with the addition of a box frame and pad to make a changing area was sheer genius. Above it was a gallery wall with great composition and content that personalized the room.

Across the room simple shelves allowed children’s books to double as an art installation. A chair placed nearby with a large houseplant next to it created a quaint sitting area. I would come here and read a book, child or not!

 Bathroom

The bathrooms are never overlooked in this house. Flowers were the main theme this season. The valance, a repurposed table runner brought in a lovely floral pattern. The valance acted as a frame for the window décor of garden umbrellas.

To the left of the windows hanging lanterns filled with moss and candles added further whimsy. Floral vases attached to a wood board and hung under the vanity created a place for live stems. This bathroom was truly a garden fantasy. Backyard

Finally, the backyard was not exempt from the design.The simple white “chicken coop” was completely decked out for the season. On the back wall, a decorative bicycle hangs adorned with colorful flowers, fruits, and veggies.

On the side wall chargers, saucers and pots layered to create whimsical “flowers.” Repurposed fence boards furthered the cottage decor by acting as shutters.

Across the yard, a decorated arbor pulled you closer to the house. Birdfeeders doubling as candle holders hung from the arbor by chain wrapped in faux greens.

No corner of this house gets overlooked when it is redecorated and designed each season. The designers’ creativity and cleverness never cease to amaze and inspire me and I hope it has inspired you! The Urban Farmhouse trend is hotter than ever right now, and I hope you have gotten some ideas on how to bring it into your home.

 

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6 Tips for the Best Outdoor Living Spaces in 2017

Summer is right around the corner for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. As we approach those warmer months we start to think about the extended hours we will be able to spend outdoors. Patios, decks, balconies or even a grassy lawn area are great places to spend these hours if they are comfortable and functional. The first thing to do is to determine what you want to use your space for. Will it be an entertaining zone? Quiet, private oasis? Family dining area? Once you know how you want to use your outdoor living space you can focus on obtaining items that will support that use. Outdoor furniture, fixtures, and finishes now come in an endless of array of designs. Making it easier than ever to bring the comfort of the indoors outside. Here are a few simple steps to help you get started creating the outdoor living space of your dreams.

*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Meaning for purchases that you make, I may make a small commission.  You can read my full disclaimer here

1.Provide Protection from the Elements

Being outside means that you need to consider both privacy and weather conditions. Providing overhead and vertical barriers allow you to lower your exposure to the elements and other people.  Adding umbrellas or even a pergola is an easy way to provide shade and protection from rain and debris. Curtains, either as part of the pergola or hung with a rod provide vertical interest and barriers. Netting or screens can also be incorporated in a number of ways to protect from the sun and insects.

2.Select Basic Furniture

When selecting the larger main pieces for your outdoor living space it is often best to stick to basic colors and classic designs. Selecting neutral base pieces will help your design stay in style longer. Focus on quality. Read reviews and pay attention to construction details and materials. Since these items will likely be among your most expensive purchases you want them to last. Don’t be afraid of a little plainness. You can add character and personality through accessories and smaller items.

Tip: If you are going to buy online but are unsure about what you will find comfortable visit a store with a lot of floor samples. Take your time testing different styles. Write down notes about the characteristics and sizes that you like. Knowing characteristics that you like will help you sift through the endless options online.

3.Incorporate Greenery

Plants are a main element of the outdoors, make sure to add them to your design. Potted plants are an especially great option. If you have a balcony this a great way to incorporate nature and provide some privacy. Potted plants can help to create barriers and define space in large areas as well.

4.Layer in Comfort

Fabrics and yarns have come a long way in recent years. The manufacturing industry is now able to produce a lot of items that were once limited to indoor use. Pillows, rugs and throws all now come in outdoor versions able withstand the elements. Adding these items allow you to personalize and add comfort to your space.

Fire pits and heaters have always been popular additions to outdoor areas. Advances in technology and materials mean that style has increased and prices have decreased in recent years. It is easier than ever to incorporate heat and ambiance to your outdoor living area.

5.Include Ample Lighting

Lighting is another element that has options it never did before.  No more are floor lamps and chandeliers confined to the indoors. String lights are now available in an endless variety of sizes, shapes and lighting type. Combine these items together to create an outdoor living space that has many uses once the sun has gone down. Layering different options allows you to easily create different atmospheres with the flip of a switch. Bright and colorful string lights add energy to a party scene. Softer more glowing light hanging pendants have a romantic, calming essence. A nice floor lamp means that you can layout reading under the stars till your heart’s content. Mix and match as you see fit.

Fire pits and heaters have always been popular additions to outdoor areas. Advances in technology and materials mean that style has increased and prices have decreased in recent years. It is easier than ever to incorporate heat and ambiance to your outdoor living area.

6.Don’t Forget the Accessories

Once you have a strong base nothing adds “hominess” and character more than accessories. Personalize your space with hanging art, table trays, candle holders and sculpture. Outdoor accessories come in all shapes and sizes these days, explore the options. Use a variety of different pieces to add real visual interest. Choose either a single aesthetic theme or an eclectic collection to create a unique look.

Use these tips as guidelines to get started on your outdoor space today. Be creative, make it your own and you will have a space that is a destination for years to come.

 

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Understanding and Embracing Pantone’s “Greenery”

 

As I sit here writing not only my first post of 2017 but my first post ever, it feels that the optimism of a New Year has already begun wane. In a frightening world, where the Doomsday Clock is resting at two and a half minutes to midnight, we must remind ourselves that every day is a new start. Every day is a new chance to get back to what is important and meaningful to our lives. We must embrace the effort to create a world that promotes positivity and healthy growth. It may seem trivial to tie color and design into a discussion on the global environment, but The Pantone Institute of Color did just that when they chose the color of the year. The Institute chooses one color every year as an interpretation of our modern world. This year’s choice could not have been more insightful this year.
 
The chosen color, 15-0343 “Greenery,”is a bright, clean and lively yellow-green hue. Leatrice Eisman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, described it as a color that “bursts forth into 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another, and a larger purpose.” Green is the most common color found in the natural world. It is only logical that it reminds us of our most basic need, to connect to the world around us.

The Scientific Effects of Green

Nature is of supreme importance to our health, but we must also consider the impact the indoors has on our lives. Americans now spend an average of 90% of their time indoors (1.). In an era controlled by technology, we are beginning to crave nature more than ever. Brain scans have proven that interacting with nature improves mood. It also lowers stress hormones in our bodies. The same study also connected living in urban environments to greater risk of mental illness. (2.) Interaction with nature along with smart interior design decisions can help us improve our mental and physical well-being.
 
Many psychological studies have shown that the color of a room can influence body functions and mental activity. Shorter-wavelength colors, like blue and green are less mentally stimulating. They provide stronger feelings of tranquility and help the body to relax. Green can even improve focus and increase reading speed and retention. Longer wavelength colors like Red and Orange are more stimulating and distracting. (3.) Green has also been shown to stimulate the pituitary gland. Stimulation of the pituitary aids the dilation of blood vessels and make muscles more relaxed. It can also decrease the effects of histamines (allergens) in the body. (4.) Bottom line-Green is a very powerful color, with powerful effects.

Green in American Society

In our modern American society, the single color green also has many positive and negative symbolic associations. Green is the color of a stoplight, signaling you to go forward towards your destination. It is the answer button on an iPhone. The color of “Mr. Yuck” who warns consumers of dangerous or poisonous goods. We tell people they look a little green when they are sick. We associate the color with feelings of envy. Our dollar bills are green and we reference an account with a positive balance “in the green.” Companies and initiatives focused on ecological efforts declare themselves “green.” So many different facets of our modern world are symbolized in the expression of one color. Color may not be something that everyone sits and contemplates but it is a very powerful part of our world. It is too often overlooked as a purely aesthetic element.

How to Incorporate Green in Your Everyday Life

Good design is all about making educated and mindful choices that allow our environments to work for us. You don’t need to be a trained designer to make “planful” choices that will affect your life. Here are a few ideas for incorporating “Green” into your life this year.

Hang some nature inspired art.

The green hues and natural themes will bring calm and the peace of the outdoors into your home or office space.

Paint a room.

Paint a library or home office a nice shade of green to increase your retention of information in that room. It can also provide a balance to stressful work that may take place in that area.

Add some accessories.

You can add accessories anywhere. A great place to start is a bathroom. There is a reason you see the color so often in spas. Imagine taking a relaxing bubble bath in a room that is also working with your body to reduce stress. Some candles and vases are a nice quick and easy option.

Get Outside.

I know this one seems crazy, but make a conscious effort to leave your house or office for a while each day. Enjoying your backyard or a nearby park can reduce blood flow to the subgenual prefrontal cortex. It is an area of the brain associated with brooding and focusing on the negative. By reducing the blood flow to this area you will improve your mood and outlook on life. (2.)
 
Thinking of color may not seem like a priority in these uncertain times. And it isn’t. But embracing the effects and ideals of being “green” can make a difference in all our lives. No matter how cold the winter is spring comes and the leaves sprout and life return. Remember that every day is a new start. A new chance to reconnect with people, nature and the important parts of life returns.
 
  1. https://cfpub.epa.gov/roe/chapter/air/indoorair.cfm
  2. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/22/how-nature-changes-the-brain/?_r=0
  3. http://www.livescience.com/36735-does-the-color-green-boost-exercise-s-effects.html
  4. http://www.sensationalcolor.com/color-meaning/color-meaning-symbolism-psychology/all-about-the-color-green-4309
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