Monday, March 31, 2014

Sofia The First Party Inspiration

I'm back and I'm feeling better (thanks for all the love).  Goodness, I've missed you guys!
Today, I’m sharing a very sweet event scheduled for early May.  Remember Tony and Jasmine’s Guess Hoo baby shower (here)?
Just a pic of the cute shower cake 

Well, their sweet princess, Lea, is turning one on May 4, 2014.  Yes, this doll-sized toddler is turning one:

10 months old and still the same size as Munch's baby doll (wearing 3 month clothing)

 9 months old (on Valentine's Day)

In an effort to keep with the woodland animal theme, Jasmine’s planning the perfect princess party.

Friday, March 28, 2014

One of Those Weeks

Hey, Islanders!
Long time no see... It's been one of those weeks for me - ocular migraines,  sleep-deprivation, stressed at work, studying for Munch's China test, preparation for a busy weekend at church... it's just a lot.
I've had client meetings for all of last week's inspiration and I'm glad they are all excited.  I'm just tired... I need to rest... I'm going to return with updates soon but right now?
I'm going to finish prepping for my guest speaking gig at the youth lock-in tonight, the rustic wedding floral consultation/meeting tomorrow morning and the VERY important meeting I have with mounds of laundry some time in between, lol.
I hope your weekend is productive!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Head Over Heels Bridal Shower

Happy cheerful-yet-totally-RANDOM Thursday, Islanders.


Yes, you detect correctly, I'm in a sorta-kinda mood.

So many people think the life of an event planner is all fun and glitter.  They think it's easy.  You know, like it's not work.  I love what I do... I really really do but...

I've got news for you.
Event Planning is HARD!
Don't get me wrong, the task of planning an event comes natural for me.  The challenge is translating the encrypted messages clients send in emails and conversations. I have to somehow read minds, determine personal styles and find ways to make every event  a direct reflection of my clients and especially memorable for their guests.  I have to be a therapist, a sounding board, a chauffer, a slave, a pit bull, a Michael's employee, a walking... living... breathing... Pinterest.  If they imagine it, I have to be able to make it... for as-close-to-free as possible.  Thanks.

Again, I love what I do. I love the challenges of each event as they keep the job interesting.  It doesn't, however, change that sometimes, in my mind, I want more for an event than some of my clients.  I care more about details than my clients.  I am willing to do more for an event than clients may be willing to invest.  I've spoken to other event planners about this struggle and... well, believe me, it's real.
In the case of our next event in the party inspiration series, the hearts and high heels bridal shower, I was struggling.
I received a text from an acquaintance with a request to assist with planning and execution of a bridal shower scheduled for mid-May.  Here's what I received:
- Theme: Hearts and High Heels
- Colors:  Canary Yellow and Tangerine
- Venue: Private Residence - indoors yet primarily outdoors 
- Number of Guests: 60
In my mind, the colors and venue seemed more garden party than that of a sassy high heels theme.  Despite my initial impression, I took a few days to envision a fabulous event in my mind.  I imagined a crisp white backdrop for the colors and thought of ideas to make it work...
Then, I got the "logo" for the event.
*insert dramatic music*

It totally threw my plans for a loop.

The Logo Description
It has a burnt orange heart in the center.  A pair of "clear" platform heels at the bottom, a burnt orange and soft yellow crown above the heart (and at each of the crown's points, there were tiny hearts). O and we can't forget the Irish crest inspired monogram... Yea, I think that's what those squiggly lines were, letters.  RIGHT?!
Times like these, I need a prayer.  I have a dinner meeting with one of the planners tonight.  Islanders, while I may not know my specific role in this event, I have developed a vision. I'm hoping to pitch a theme that will tie the heels and hearts together.  Check it out.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sweethearts Wedding Theme

Today, I have a teleconference with my next event inspiration, the Sweetheart Wedding client.  The phone call is this evening and it's going to be our introductory conversation for her big day (scheduled for June 2015).

In response to my request for her wedding vision, the sweetheart bride responded with a potential venue, she's not a fan of flowers, she has a love of hearts and her wedding colors (red, black, white and silver).
As a wedding planner, it's my job to hear a vision and find a means to execute a flawless event on the designated budget (which I haven't received at this point).  The following inspiration boards will help drive MY vision for the event (before our discussion where she will provide more deets) and can easily be adjusted to fit any budget and setting.
Stripes & Hearts
Isn't that a modern interpretation of her color scheme?!  My first inspiration photograph was the piano keys with the heart; I just LOVE it!  Candle centerpieces with rose petals will give an elegant look without compromising on class.  Black and white striped details will provide a unique accent and provide the perfect backdrop for bright red hearts.  Other fun items would be the striped straws and napkins at the bar (with 2 signature drinks - one for each the bride and groom), lips and mustaches (at a photo-op area, on the doors for restrooms, etc.).  I'd have a custom monogram designed to tie it all together. We would use this monogram for the invitations, save-the-dates and throughout the space day-of. 
Romantic Red & Damask
Damask, a classic and romantic print, packs a big punch.  The bold print will also provide the perfect backdrop for red hearts.  Damask is also a decorator's secret weapon!  Using damask will minimize the requirement  on the centerpieces and can help save funds in the long run (if your tablecloth makes all the statement you need, you can get thrifty or creative with centerpieces).  The print will also set the tone for a romantic (almost Parisian) event while balancing the cuteness of hearts.
I LOVE the 'Two Hearts Become One' theme.  I would certainly create custom pieces for the décor.  Similar to the images in the inspiration boards, I plan to make unique centerpieces that feel traditional but offer a unique take on flowers (as the bride isn't a fan of flowers).  I might also recommend a sweets buffet as coordinating candy is so EASY to find.
I'll keep you guys posted on her decision and the projects as things develop!  Wish me luck :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

40th Birthday Party Themes

Howdy, Islanders.
I shared bits of my event planner life yesterday... Today, though I'm better, I still feel as if my brain is spinning in several directions!  Sharing these events with you, my beloved islanders, helps me think through my plans and projects... just another means to bring some stability to my life.  Thanks, guys!
Today, we're talking about the 40th birthday.  I received a phone call late last week that a former co-worker would like to hire me to help her host her FIRST birthday party ever.  She's never had an event in her honor and I'm honored that she thought enough of my work to hire me!
Ok, so.  In our conversation, her only requirement was that the event served as a nod to New Orleans, her home town.  She mentioned a fabulous DC restaurant and I came up with three themes for her to choose from.  Check them out:
A Nod to New Orleans Theme
A very classy nod to the elements of her hometown she's come to know and love.
 Highlights for this theme include a muted version of the traditional Mardi Gras color scheme (purple, gold, green), praline (a popular NOLA dessert) favors in gold sparkle boxes with large satin ribbon bows, centerpieces with popular NOLA sayings, signs, and symbols.  The best part?  I've got a ton of ideas to incorporate beads into décor.
A Marvelous Masquerade
A jewel-tone masquerade dinner serves as the perfect blend of fun and classy.
 Highlights of this theme are the bright colors and the tablescape.  For the tables, I'm planning to surround bold centerpieces with lots of rose petals and jewel-toned votive candles.  Each place setting will have a bold linen napkin wrapped with hand-made gold beaded rings and gold glitter masks.  Above, you can see the cake pops designed to fit the theme with shimmer and feather.  O and I LOVE the bold colors of that cake.  Imagine if it were topped with a gold mask!
Forty and Fly
This theme pulls colors from the peacock feather to create a beautiful and unique event.
The colors for this event are apple green, turquoise and royal blue with pops of deep purple.  In addition to using the bright feathers as accents every where (napkin rings, centerpieces, cake, printables, etc.), how cool are the cookies (lower left on the photo above)?  I would use them as favors to bring it all together.
In addition to these boards, I sent a planning document with a general breakdown for each event, options of venues (with price estimates and contacts) to host the dinner, potential invitation and save-the-date options and more.
I love all of the themes above. I believe all of them will provide my client with the wow factor she's looking for.  Don't worry!  I will be sure to share her decision! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Busy Monday

Happy Monday, Islanders!

Today is a snow day here in our neck of the woods.  I wanted this day to catch-up on a few things.  One of which is the inspiration boards and packages for clients.  I've got a lot of events coming up so I'm going to spend the day behind the computer and this week's post will be dedicated to the inspiration boards for my clients.  This week's party inspirations will include:

- The Mine Craft Party

- The 40th Birthday Party

- The Hearts and Heels Bridal Shower

- The Sweet Hearts Wedding

- The Sofia The First Birthday Party

- The Rustic Barn Wedding

It's a blessing to be included in my clients' memorable moments… I'm just trying to stop my head from spinning!

Who knows maybe you guys will gain some inspiration for a future event!

See you tomorrow!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Real Home Inspiration - The Conclusion

So, we've spoken about some amazingly real homes this week.  I've also mentioned that I try to take the best from every home I visit so... SURPRISE!  I'm concluding the series with some short real home inspirations:

~ Mike & Ryan's Place: I love how Ryan keeps fresh flowers around the home.  The small bud vases in various locations make their space feel 'hotel fresh.'

~ Joy's Place: Joy has an adorable apartment that's perfect for entertaining. We've had a number of the girls over and, despite the space constraints, there always seems to be MORE than enough room.  I love her willingness to host (plus, her bomb food)and her smart use of seating (which includes bar stools that 1. don't obstruct walkways when they're not in use and 2. move around the room easily).
~   Eddy & Gaby's Place: Their home is decorated with custom Costa Rican furniture.  OMG! In the front room, there is a HUGE ox cart (historically used to tote coffee beans,  the carts have become a popular outlet/craft for local artists to decorate).  Gaby uses her cart as a cocktail serving cart.  It's yellow and hand-painted with bright colors and... well, it's only one of many conversation pieces found in their home.  I love how she's threaded her culture and heritage into every piece of décor in her home.

~ Tony & Jasmine's Place: Their brand new home was built to their specifications and they've been very picky with the décor choices inside.  My favorite part of the home is Jasmine's Christmas gift to Tony, an in-home gym.  She banned him from the basement for months and, as the holiday neared, she texted him clues of what was going on.  On Christmas morning, he went downstairs and burst into tears when he saw she was able to surprise him with a fully-furnished gym.  His high school awards and pictures hang on the wall next to his Michael Jordan paraphernalia, the gray and red paint technique (where she painted a giant red stripe around the room that ended in a Nike check), the refrigerator she stocked with Gatorade... Man, Jasmine thought of every detail and, even as a new mom, found time to make it special for him.  I LOVE the LOVE she put into the room.

Much like I'm striving to focus on the best in every person I meet, I'm striving to see the best in every home I visit.  I'm hoping this mindset will also help me see the best in my own home... to see the potential in its bland and/or empty rooms... to motivate me not only to start projects but to enjoy the process and to actually finish rooms.

Home, like its inhabitants, is a work in progress.  I hope this series has helped you enjoy the process.

Cheers to a happy and blessed Friday!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Real Home Inspiration - Sherry's Place

The next home has probably taught me some of the most meaningful lessons about home in the shortest span of time.
O and I'm guest posting on her blog today (here).  Please head on over and tell her hey from Fab Island, wouldya?
Sherry's Place

Sherry and I instantly clicked (we are craft twins) and, when my after-school sitter could no longer watch Munch, I made arrangements with Sherry for after-school care - (THANK GOD FOR HER)!  Her home serves as my inspiration in more ways than one.  Here we go...

Home - Where Fun Begins
I've mentioned how Sherry and I met through our little girls' involvement in Pop Warner cheer.  After one of the games a number of kids were heading back to her place for fun and Munch was invited. I totally broke my own rule and let her go.  When I arrived 2-3 hours later to pick her up, I walked in and almost choked on the smell of popcorn.  Sherry set-up a movie night by spreading a bed sheet on the floor and placing large bowls of popcorn in the center.  The kids crammed on that sheet and watched a movie that I'm sure they'd all seen 50 times.  It didn't matter how many times they'd watched it, they were having an official movie night and no one could tell them otherwise.  With indoor fun like movie nights, family dance parties, family cook-offs and more it's easy to see why my kid never wants to leave!
During my initial visit, Sherry informed me her house caters to her children.  She's arranged her family room furniture in such a way that there is always a stage for the kids.  They dance, they sing, they flip, they cheer, they play... and Sherry never misses a moment!  The children have center stage in the family room... the couch and armchair are for guests, their audience.
Organization - A Place For Everything
Sherry has a healthy case of OCD.  She's designed her home so everything has a place.  Her pictures are stored neatly in photo boxes on the book case, kid-friendly snacks are readily available in the kitchen wire organizer, lunch snacks are individually bagged/labeled in the fridge, etc.
Sure, Sherry is a stay-at-home mom and takes her responsibilities to her home seriously.  I get that but it's still mind-blowing for me because, at any given moment, she will have 4 kids (only two are her own) and her home stays so clean.
Home - An Open Door Policy
Sherry told me, for as long as she's been married, she and her hubby have never lived alone.  They've always had a family member living with them.  While I'm sure that has its moments, Sherry's home is a reflection of her (and her hubby's) heart: if they can help, they will help. 
Right now, in her four bedroom town house, there are 6 people living there (4 people in her immediate family and two additional family members). 
Her home is a blessing to those around her.  She always has enough food to share - big pots of spaghetti, steak fajitas, crock pot stews... there is always enough for everyone.  It reminds me of the big pots of soup my parents made when I was younger.  We lived on the food for days or we had enough to share with those who stopped by.  It also convicts me in my own life.  I have become so regimented in my cooking that, many times, I don't have enough to share.  I've gotten away from cooking a little extra (for lunch or pop-up visitors) and, despite the space in my new place, I don't know that I could accommodate permanent house guests.
Home - Scents & Sounds
When I arrive to pick-up Zion, I can smell Sherry's home from the streets - the bleach from family clean days, the crock pot meal of the day, popcorn from movie nights.  It feels like home as soon as I walk in the door.
From the moment you enter you can hear the sounds of home - giggles from the kids upstairs, sounds of sneakers running up and down the stairs, something sizzling on the stove... it's all therapeutic for me.
My parents' home has always been lovingly called the House of Hope, lol.  When I feel sick (and I do have some health issues), I can go there and feel better.  The closest to the House of Hope in my area is Sherry's house.  I've felt awful during one of our recent shopping trips - blood sugar dropped, serious migraine, cold sweats, I was too BAD off to drive home - and I went to her house and sat on her sofa.  The sounds and smells of home drifted me off to sleep and I woke feeling well.
Sherry inspires me to adjust my home so I always have enough - love, fun, food, space - to share because that's what HOME should be about.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Real Home Inspiration - Sheena's Place

I think it's kind of ironic how the homes that inspire me are owned by people who inspire me also.  I've been hard on myself with this series.  Home is a private place... The kind of place you don't want blasted over the internet.  I have high hopes for this series:
1. I hope I'm doing these beautiful homes justice.
2.  I hope you, my beloved Islanders, are benefiting from this series as much as I am. 
The added challenge for me to use ONLY my words to paint the pretty pictures in my head has been fun.  Challenging... but fun.
Our next home in the series is that of my dear friend and hot mama to DatMyHoney, Olivia.
Sheena's Place
Home - A Personal Sanctuary
I can't talk about Sheena's home without appreciating one of the most important lessons she's taught me - Home is a Personal Sanctuary; everyone doesn't deserve an all-access pass. 
It's ok to create boundaries in your space.
She's explained this mentality comes from her city-girl roots.  Back home, if people don't know you, they don't need to know where or how you live.  Sheena is a living testament to the saying from my childhood, "what happens in this house stays in this house."  NOT because there's drama but because home is supposed to be a retreat from the stress of the world... from the rest of the world.  It's quite powerful when I think about it.
An invitation to someone's home is a privilege; they're allowing you access into their most private and personal space.  WOW! Interesting perspective, right?
Surfaces - Clutter-free
Sheena's place is CLEAN.  Her surfaces sparkle! 
During one of my visits, I just had to ask her how she kept her kitchen countertops so clean all the time.  She responded that if she doesn't use it everyday, she doesn't need to see it everyday.  She was more at peace with EMPTY counters than with seeing appliances she doesn't need on a regular basis.
She carries this idea into every room.  Her coffee tables, mantles, dressers, shelves... they're all just-about empty.  Sheena admits she's a minimalist at heart and she uses her minimalist style to keep a clean home.  She reminds me that it's SO much easier to dust an empty surface than it is to remove *something* dust the *something* then dust the surface and put the *something* back in its position.
I've incorporated this into our place (kitchen counters, dressers, bathroom sinks) are all clear of unnecessary clutter.  It brings me such PEACE and feels so much cleaner.
Furniture - Form and Functionality
I've admitted I love tchotchke.  I will buy a book case just so I can turn around and buy things to fill its shelves.  Matter of fact, I was going to add built-ins on either side of our fireplace in the family room... but I didn't.
...because I thought about my conversation with Sheena when she asked me what I would use the built-ins for.  I responded with, "pretty stuff?  A few books?  Girl, IDK."
Sheena supported my idea but stated, "this is just me but... if it doesn't have a purpose, I wouldn't invest in it."
I left our conversation and stared at the pretty Pinterest picture I'd seen... You know those posts where Ikea bookcases turn to fabulous custom built-ins?  Yea, one of those.  She was right.
Sheena and her hubby have owned their home for years... long before they added MyHoney to the family.  What's crazy is that despite the size of their home, Sheena hasn't wasted a square inch of the space.  She's only purchased pieces that have a purpose and, in doing so, she keeps her large rooms open.  I've learned from Sheena that the best feature in any home is the people!  The best means to highlight them is to leave plenty of room for fun.
Traditional Meets Contemporary
In general, Sheena passes on trendy pieces and opts for traditional décor.  I've already mentioned her love of clean surfaces.  This design concept keeps her beautiful furniture as the focus - intricate carvings, rich wood tones, curvy furniture legs - her furniture will pass the test of time and doesn't compromise on quality or style.
Her home is constructed with rich traditional architecture - tall ceilings seem to kiss the clouds, lots of moulding frames beautiful artwork hanging on the walls, huge windows usher sunlight to dance on her beautiful hardwood floors... much like Sheena, her house screams effortless elegance.
Her house doesn't have to TRY to be beautiful.  Sheena recognizes that her home was built beautiful and all she has to do is showcase the best of it.
Just like my friends, the home balances its traditional style with contemporary details.  One way is in the paint choices - a brick red kitchen with sleek black granite, the cool blue-gray in the family room, the pop of deep turquoise in her bedroom, MyHoney's gray and pink nursery... the fresh colors add the perfect dose of don't-take-yourself-too-seriously while the traditional pieces make the rooms feel balanced. 
Home Goals - Set and Achieved
Sheena is a planner.  I expected her to feel overwhelmed or intimidated when she initially tackled the task of decorating and furnishing their home.  When she and her hubby moved from an apartment into a large single-family home, they set aside a budget and a timeline for completion.
Building her nest was her priority for a very specific amount of time.  She had all of her funds set aside before she started and when she was done, she was done.  There may have been a few purchases here-and-there but at her goal's end date, the stress was gone.
Treating her home's design as a goal-oriented project, Sheena was able to focus on how her home functioned for her family. 
I can't wait until I'm at the point where I can just clean... not decorate, remodel and DIY while I'm trying to clean... It's so easy to lose my juice when I'm focused on smaller projects.
The décor may be done but the improvements continue.  She and her hubby complete a home project annually - the deck was built, the screened living space completed, hardwood floors installed, a home gym, new living room furniture and more.
Systematic home improvements keep their space fresh.  This approach also keeps home improvements manageable - bite-sized chunks are always easy to swallow, right?
I could go on and on - about how she keeps me up on the latest and greatest cleaning supplies, how she's helped me with projects around my home, how she's transitioned her home to accommodate MyHoney without any hiccups.  Sheena's home is classy yet modern, traditional yet fun, private yet genuine... It's everything her family exudes and isn't that what home is about?
Are you (am I) building a space to fit your (my) style and needs? What could you do to ensure your projects are started and completed?

See you tomorrow!

Sherry's home is up next!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Real Home Inspiration - Tammy's Place

"Mommy, can I stay the night at Tati's? I wanna take a bath!"

Our next home in the real inspiration series, is one that both my child and I love.

Tammy's (aka Tati) Place

During one of her visits with Tati, Munch enjoyed a bath in the Jacuzzi tub with bubbles and, as she put, "the BEST soap ever... smell me, Mommy.  mmMMmMM Don't my arms smell so good?" 
We've been using "Tati soap" ever since.
For her birthday, the kid made Tati a card (I don't think she ever gave it to her - tacky, I know) that listed out the 31 things she loves most about her.  Among other things (her hair, her hugs, her food, etc.), Munch added her house to the list.  While I'm sure she has her own reasons, we agree Tammy's house (and hair and hugs and food) is great!

Landscape - Curb Appeal

Tammy's home looks great from the inside AND outside.  When you pull-up, there's a clear landscape design... you can see every bush and flower, along with their location, is intentional.  Her husband spends his weekends handling the yard work and it really shows!
The fruit of his labor is in the impeccably manicured front yard but the BEST part is his personal touches to the back yard.  Stone walk ways, a fire pit, a DIY pergola, multiple gardens, pretty little flowers that line their tall privacy fence, the sprinkler system he installed, landscape lighting... It's something out of a BBQ lover's dream :)  Tammy's even added her touch by bringing the comfort of the indoors outside with pillows, candles, lanterns and more.  CAN YOU SMELL THE FRESH CUT GRASS?

It's a great space for entertaining and adds so much value (both resale and visual) to their home.

Paint - Highlight the Best

Tammy's kitchen is the heart of her main level.  One can see it from every room on that floor.  When she gave me the tour of the house, she walked me back to the kitchen and the bright turquoise color painted onto the walls made me SMILE.

It was bold.

Tammy excitedly explained the purpose for the color is to have her home's heart beat in the kitchen.  She wanted the color to be cool and tropic but also pack a big punch.  We talked about how we both loved the color and our conversation trailed off to the other aspects of the kitchen she wanted to change.  She couldn't figure out what the previous owners were thinking when they designed the space - white traditional cabinets, black sleek modern granite, Italian rustic backsplashes... it was an eclectic blend but guess what, Islanders?  I didn't even notice it.

That perfect pop of color on the walls highlighted the best attributes of the kitchen - large windows that frame their beautiful backyard, the oversized island that's perfect for us to sit and sip tea, the view of her gorgeous fireplace in the family room...

Her use of color flattered the space and made her "concerns" a non-factor until she's ready to make changes.

Tchotchke Done Right

Tammy and I share a love of home décor.  Date nights with my boo often include a trip to Pier1.  Décor is FUN for us :)

Tammy's home has a great blend of large statement pieces and smaller functional furniture.
Her house, generally speaking, has larger-scale tchotchke.  There's the accent pieces topped with fabulous statues, or the centerpieces on every table...  the apothecary jars filled with seasonal décor atop her baker's rack... It's these little things that complete the rooms without adding clutter.

His and Hers - Separate but Blended

Tammy and her husband have clearly defined roles in their home's design.  The basement is the man cave complete with the bar-height game table, wet bar, game room (with an awesome foosball table), gym and his office.

Langston built a beautiful entertainment center from pallets and crates, he refinished the basement himself and you can FEEL that it's a labor of love.  It's clearly a manly man cave but it has the warm and inviting functionality all guests can enjoy.

Tammy uses one of the upstairs bedrooms for her office/craft space.  It's bright and cheery and has an awesome corner window to view the backyard.  Tammy is the person who never lets a holiday or birthday pass without making sure her loved ones feel special.  During Christmas her space becomes Santa's workshop for all of her little boos!

I love how each of them have their own space to be who they are without the input or pressure of the other.  It's good to have a personal retreat within your home... especially when you share it with someone else.

Home - A Grown-Up Version

Tammy owned her bi-level condo before purchasing their large single-family home with her husband.  The condo became a girls' retreat for myself and many of our friends.  She had fun in the design - red sofa set in the family room, funky artwork, a swanky white sofa in the living room, a spa bathroom any girl would love.  Her husband moved in and, with him, came large manly furniture, collectibles from his travels in the military, lots of uniforms and... well, tools.  O and tools.  Did I mention tools? 

 I remember giggling as I watched my neat-freak friend about lose her mind because her space wasn't working with his stuff.  Furniture didn't fit.  Tools had no place to go.  Wedding gifts needed to find places and... well, tools.  Did I mention tools? Where could she store them?!  It was impossible to bring the two styles together in the old place.
The new place?  Shoot, it's the perfect harmony of masculine-meets-feminine.  In tune with her girly-girl style but mindful of her manly-man, Tammy hasn't compromised on floral prints (the large entry rug, pictures, centerpieces, bedding, pillows and more).  She has, however, only purchased them in natural colors. 


When the colors are blue, green, brown, tan and white, the guys don't hardly notice (or care) that floral prints are predominant in a room's design.  Tammy's use of subtle floral prints also mix well with the mahogany wood tones of the furniture inherited from hubby (now in the family room).

Subtly Sentimental

Have you seen the Keeping Up with the Kardashians episode when Kourtney spoke about not wanting to have pictures on display in her home? Or the time they made fun of their mom for having a shrine of pictures all over her place?

Yes, I watch the show. Yes, I pay more attention to the home décor and fashion than the drama.  JUDGE ME NOT, Islanders.

In the case of Tammy's home, there's a great mix of model home design and sentimental personalization.

In addition to the artwork with meaningful sayings about family, love and life, Tammy also has a lot of photos (of others) on display... but only in two areas of her home - the family room book case and her armoire in her office.

Nowadays, people take photos and trash 'em as soon as they get 'em (thanks, social media).  I just love Tammy's photo display because it's nostalgic to the days when you didn't care what it looked like, pictures of loved ones were taped onto mirrors, shoved in binder sleeves... just accepted for the purpose they were given - to be viewed and enjoyed (I got 8 wallets for Munch's school pics, if you get one them bad boys, "you is important. You is kind" like from the movie The Help - LOL. It means something to know she'll put my baby's pic in a frame and not in the trash).

I don't want to be like Mama Kardashian with a shrine to myself and I don't want to be like Kourtney Kardashian banning photos from my home that may not "match" ... I want to be like Tammy.  I want to cherish the memories I make with people and have subtle reminders of good times so, when things aren't that good, I have something to look on and smile.

I hope you're as inspired as I am! More to come tomorrow.
Sheena's place is up next!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Real Home Inspiration - My Parents'

Before we get started with the real home inspiration series, let me lay the ground rules:
- No pictures.  I will not post pictures of the homes... not ONLY because I haven't received consent from the home owners (I'm so tacky, I know) but because I'd like to get back to the days when you read and used your imagination to create your own version... it's beneficial in this case because, if you choose to incorporate qualities or ideas of these homes into your life, it will be by no one's visual interpretation but your own :)

- Mini Series. I'm going to keep the series short and only share a few of the homes I love.  I try to take the best from every home I visit so this series could go on for weeks... with me just blabbing about random places I've been... you're right.  That would probably get boring.  We'll keep it to five posts, deal?

I'm so excited to introduce our first home in our series!  I've loved on these four walls for 20+ years.

My Parents' Place

Their home is near and dear to my heart for several reasons.  It's my childhood home (as a military brat, that's huge)... it's the same porch my dad sat  and waited for my first date to arrive... the same front yard I took Homecoming and Prom pics (as my dad cried)... the backyard has the tree we planted when I was 10... the same tree that is huge now and held the piñata at Munchface's first and fifth birthday parties.

Sure, there's sentiment on my part.  There's also, however, a great home behind my memories.  I've truly come to appreciate a lot of things my parents have changed in their home since I moved out 10 years ago.  Here are a few of them:

Home: In-Process

For the past 10 years, it's felt as if my parents' home was a construction zone in one way or another.  They've made some major changes over the years!

My dad doesn't claim to be a handyman but when my mom mentioned that she wanted to remove the wall that divided the kitchen and dining rooms, he got into action... literally.  He decided to save money and handle the demo himself.  He *literally* walked into the kitchen and kicked  through the wall.  We (the kids) cheered him on to DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!  We also got SO excited by the kung fu demolition fun that we wanted to help... despite my mom's mini heart attack during the demo, I believe that change karate chopped her brain into action.

From there, the projects never stopped!  They've installed hardwood floors, a concrete patio, gutted their kitchen for a complete re-design, (to include installing a wine chiller/fridge), purchased all new furniture throughout the house, professionally painted a number of times, installed new tubs/showers, re-landscaped, got some amazing light fixtures and chandeliers, built and replaced the steps to their balcony, paved (and re-paved) their driveway, pulled up unwanted trees, added a fence, replaced their porch, installed French doors and more.

I love the in-progress home.  I also love how, if there is something that will make their home function better for them, they do it.  Word.

Design: A Healthy Mix

I've told you of my mom's professional thrift shopping skillz in several posts. I've even shared their seaside family room (here).  My mom has designed their spaces to incorporate a healthy balance of antique, thrift and who-cares-what-the-price-tag-says-because-I-want-it items.  The unique pieces found throughout their home are a direct reflection of them.

Since we've all moved out, my parents have a lot of space for just the two of them.  Most rooms don't get used in their everyday life.  As a result, my mom designs each room to make a statement... she makes each piece (and resulting room design) matter - she never takes her spaces for granted and has a clearly defined purpose for every room. 

I love how the pieces that have character aren't necessarily found in the common stores.

Storage: An Inventory Room

Mom keeps a room dedicated to storing housewares.  You have to know her to understand why.  See, she changes her mind very often.  She is always moving paintings and pictures... changing her pillows and such.  Rather than get rid of pieces, she's created a space to store her out-of-rotation items.  It's the former guest room and it's got a section for pictures, statues, floral arrangements, pillows and vintage goodies (like the antique typewriter and camera she hasn't displayed yet).

What a great way to freshen up your space and ensure that you enjoy the things you love... even if they don't fit your space right now.

Space: Caters To How They Live

My parents have a family room but that's not where we have family time.  Family time happens around the kitchen table and that's by my parents' design.

My mom bought a ten-foot (maybe) dining room table and she's surrounded it with 6 large custom-designed wingback chairs.  People come in and take a seat.  More times than not, they never have to move from that spot!  Dad is in the kitchen cooking, the t.v. is going, a card game might start-up, Mom's got some baked treat ready to serve and, the best part?  All of this happens around the kitchen table.

It might sound weird but, once you're there, it just feels right.  My mom's designed the spaces in her home to fit how they entertain.  Why force everyone to travel downstairs for family time when Dad (an introverted guy who will focus on food preparation and pull away from social settings in large groups) is most comfortable in his domain, the kitchen?

The comfortable chairs are a bonus.  They're made for chilling more than eating so there's no surprise when people fall into food-induced comas right at the table :)

Candles: Scents & Ambient Lighting

My parents have three dogs (one of which is our old dog, PeePuppy) and their home never smells like... well, dog.  My mom cleans with bleach-based products which has a very distinct scent.  She also, however, burns scented candles.

These candles smell great and can be found burning in just-about every room at all times.

The candles really make the home feel welcome and inviting.  Sometimes, we'll go into the family room with a candle burning and just talk.  It's a great opportunity to relax your mind and your eyes! 


I just love my parents' home.  Their approach to creating a welcoming place true to their taste but with visitors in mind makes their house feel like a home.  My mom is the kind of person who hugs you when she meets you and their home is the same way.

Like their in-progress home, I've come to love the stages of my new place's design.  I might have paint swatches taped up on the wall but it's a sign that my home is alive and growing to be a space we love.

To touch on the idea of mixing thrift and chic, I love the unique finds in our neighborhood thrift/antique shops.  Strategic incorporation of these items into our home has allowed me to put my own spin on the "aged to perfection" trend, lol.

Just like mom, I have an area in my craft room dedicated to party and home décor items. I love having a selection of items to give me an instant change when I need it.

I applied the concept of using space to fit our needs in our second guest room.  After all, who says you should only have one?

Candles?  O, candles. I love candles!  I especially love to light them as one of the last steps in my cleaning process.


We'll continue the series tomorrow with Tammy's house.

See you then!

Goodwill Finds: The Magnolia Wreath

Happy Friday, Islanders. I wanted to share a thrifty find from a while back.  Ugh, I love my local Goodwill Outlet.  Oh, and yes, you saw ...

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