Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fall Fashion Trends

It's that time of year again, trees turning the most beautiful, vibrant colors of red, yellow, and orange.  Pumpkin Spice is in the crisp air, and boots are getting pulled out from the back of the closet. Ahhh, my favorite season, FALL or AUTUMN - takes too long to get here and last too short of a time.

After looking over several "Fall Must Have Lists" I decided to compose my own Fall Trends for 2015.  Some from last year and some new, but mostly there are all wearable, as opposed to the runway trends.

The IT colors of the Season - Gray, still a very popular color (even for interiors). Burgundy, Brown, Mustard, Olive Green, and Navy Blue - all of them, in my mind, are staples of Fall Clothing. So pretty together or alone.  Loving the Burgundy this year! (see photos below)

Winter Florals - So pretty and feminine, yet not those same pastels from the Spring.  Try them in warmer, trendy, fall colors, such as burgundy flowers on a navy blue back ground.  Pair one floral item with one solid item, or if you are more daring pair florals with other patterns, such as stripes (see below)

Flare Leg Pants - I love that this style is back in full force again. While I love skinny jeans, and they work much better with tall boots.  Sometimes its so refreshing to mix it up with different style pants.  Flare Leg Pants made a big come back in the spring and it looks like they are here to stay a while longer.

Cool Tights - Whether that is different opaque colors or patterned, cool tights are here to stay another season.  And why not love them!  Wearing colorful or patterned tights with a monochromatic outfit really adds interest.  Or for the more daring, patterned tights with more colors and patterns on top.  You can go wrong spicing up a plain skirt ensemble with cool tights.

Booties - While I don't think tall boots will ever go out, and I hope not, Booties are back again, and I LOVE them! So many great styles to choose from; high heels, low heels, different colors, different textures. Have fun shopping for your new fall booties and wear them into Spring with your favorite feminine flow-y dresses. 

PLAID - my favorite fall pattern, I will take anything plaid, and I love it in flannel too. SO comfy and yet still very stylish. What else is there to say about a timeless Autumn pattern.

Statement Jewelry or Bling - I never really got rid of mine, I love statement pieces, but this season they are back to being feminine and sparkly.  Don't throw out your global inspired pieces just yet, but mix them up with the other bling.

Puffy Coats - Don't get rid of them  just yet, they are around for another year.  While I love the warmth and I never want to get rid of my comfy puffy coat; I don't miss knocking into to everything while making that quick stop at the store.  Everyone walking around in puffy winter coats in a store, could look quite humorous from the birds-eye view.  Lots of colorful marshmallows, if you will.

Chunky Knits - Love them! Such the perfect Fall Sweater.

Turtlenecks - who doesn't love a good turtleneck - comfy, warm, and hides a lot ;)

Pleats - while trendy, wear some of them at your own risk.  Having a good pleated skirt can always be fun, but beware of going too far with other pieces (aka, pleated pants).

Loafer - I own a pair of Penny Loafers and will probably never get rid of the them.  I've had them since before they were "trendy" and still love them.  They are my preppy staple. This season you can wear them with pride.

High Waist Pants - Again, wear at your own risk.  Awesome on the young 20-something with long legs, but there is a fine line of looking too much like a "mom-jean" - Personally, I avoid them, they do not help me being that I am 5'4".  

Skinny Scarves - This is something I debated whether or not to put on this list.  While I do own a couple, I will probably not be adding this to my fall attire.  I LOVE my chucking scarves, and I have quite the collection.  They are still very much in style, and to me, just radiate Autumn!  I LOVE scarves and wear them most of the Spring and even into the Summer.  Big, chunky scarves can keep you warmer than a light jacket, who would want to give that up.  I can't see a skinny scarf being as useful, but having a nice one in you closet for that certain outfit can't hurt.

 Last by not forgotten - Leather and Suede (faux and real), Winter Cream, Shearling, and Lace

Below are some of my favorite outfit ideas for this Cool Season.

Love this picture by Stitch Fix - Fall 2015 Trends
Showing so many great ideas!

Below are some of my favorite Pins for Fall 2015 Trends
Chunky Winter Cream Knit, Olive Bag, Leather Pants, Booties (and HUGE Fall Staple - Camel Colored Jacket)

Love the Burgundy Chunky Knit Scarf and Booties.  Even her lipstick matches nicely.

Burgundy, Burgundy, Burgundy And PLAID! LOVE THESE

Comfy Weekend Outfit

I'm in LOVE with these cowboy boots! And I am still a fan of Long Socks this year.

Happy Fall Outfit Planning

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Toddler Friendly Decorating Ideas

Talk about a designers dilemma! Decorating around children is not something I ever thought I would be that concerned with, and the idea never really crossed my mind before having one. I have never needed to explore family friendly decorating options while working with model homes, people look and rarely touch, perfect for someone as OCD as I used to be - note "used to be" - as in, I have found worrying over the little things, especially as far as home decor goes, are not worth the stress anymore.

While some might decide to wait until their children are older to decorate, I never wanted to sacrifice my interest in design to wait until my children are "old enough" to appreciate it or understand "not to touch"something, and I don't think you should either. Who knows when they would ever be "old enough" (especially with two boys).  And I don't want them to be afraid of a room or space, because they can't go near it. I say that now maybe because we have nothing of great value in our house, minus one, very sturdy and large, piece of furniture that I have which has been pasted down several generations.  Other than that we have not invested in expensive art or accessories, and to me furniture is meant to be used by a family, not just for admiring.

I'm sure there are lots of tips and ideas online to help decorate around the kiddos.  HGTV has some good tips, especially for older children.  I will talk about some of those and some from my personal experience (I only know what I know about a child under 2 - so far).  I'm sure I will have updated blogs as my children grow and throughout different holidays (a Christmas tree will be new found territory, for us, this year...)

Since I have a 21 month old son and a soon-to-be-newborn (November 2015) I am just starting to experience this predicament.  My first taste was when my son was starting to get around and was pulling himself up on things. TIP * Bolt things to the wall! I needed to get rid of my super-cute glass cocktail table in our Family Room.  It was sad day for me (very cute table), but children (especially small ones) do not understand not to lean on glass; plus the finger prints are not worth dealing with.  I have vivid memories of my grandmother repeatedly telling us to not to rest our weight on the glass top kitchen table.  For a while we had nothing in place of the cocktail table, the spaced opened up for his toy area, while I decided what I wanted to replace it with.  We ended up with a solid wood, trestle-based cocktail table, that matches some other furniture in our house.  This however is a piece of furniture that remains empty, or topped with a book/toy of his.  It is where we like to color and eat some snacks. Since it is his height I decided not to decorate this table top with anything I don't want him to touch, included remotes.  It won't be like this forever, but we have to get through the "putting everything in his mouth" stage.  It is a sturdy piece of furniture, because he is now at the stage where he likes to climb on top of the table while I am not looking.

We also have a very inexpensive rug in our Family Room.  You can definitely find stylish rugs for a reasonable price.  Ours is certainly something that I don't mind if there are spills on it, because I know there will be (and have been).  The area in our house needs a rug because we have an open floor plan and it is one of the only things that defines the space, but maybe you decide to opt out of carpet and rugs while they are very young.

TIP* Don't buy something you can't part with when the kiddos do what they do best!

As far as accessorizing, I have come to terms that minimalistic is better these days, but that doesn't mean giving up all fun things.  I have put the accessories that I cherish most (photos frames, books, candles, plants) out of reach. There is nothing too small that could hurt them around anymore (you know the nick-nacks that you collect and love but that have no purpose). Consolidating accessories on a table (my Dining Table - for example) is pleasing to the eye and helps keep things away from the edge, in grabbing distance.  We are not at the point where he is climbing on the dining table via the chairs. So I do have a small tray as a center piece.  It contains, a couple candles, some olive oil (purely because I needed the height and liked the bottles - thank you Homegoods), napkins, salt and pepper, and a water jug, which actually holds hand sanitizer for those times we get him in his high chair and have forgotten to wash his hands, or have a food disaster at the table. The water pitcher is also used as a flower vase when I feel the urge to buy/ pick flowers for the house.

Here is a picture of the tray on my Dining Table, and it can be decorated differently for each holiday. (yes, the Halloween decorations will be making an appearance in our house very soon)

Another way to add in your precious accessories is by grouping them in a glass front china hutch or glass cabinet.  You will be able to see them without having little hands touch.  Doing this adds interest and color to a room while your keep sakes remain safe, and organizing a hutch or glass cabinet can be a lot of fun!

TIP* Don't forget how you actually live in a space.  Something may look great on Pintrest or in a magazine, but if you can't enjoy your daily life in the space its not worth having (in my opinion).

TIP* Don't forget easy ways to add color, though art and pillows. There are great colorful inexpensive pillows out there, keep them simple with no fringe or buttons, around the kiddos).

TIP* I learned a long time ago, before kids, Satin or Eggshell paint is much easier to wipe down than flat paint.  Instead of alway repainting, start out with one that has a little sheen, and most scuffs will easily be wiped away.

Happy Toddler Friendly Decorating!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Trending Colors for Your Home

Say it with me... Navy Blue and White - so classic, so pretty, so Right Now!

Pairing these two colors are everywhere.  They are so pretty together and invoke different feelings in everyone. Sometimes they make me feel nautical and other times I just feel classic and mature.

Within the past 2 weeks I have received 4 catalogs showcasing the hot "new" trend.  While there is nothing actually new about pairing these colors together, they are making a strong comeback in home interiors.  You can even use them as base colors and add "pops" of brighter colors to the mix.  They are shown with Kelly Green, Tangerine, and even the elusive grey.  

I have always loved Navy Blue and White together, alone or with other colors, in an outfit or for a room .  However, my personal house is more turquoise and green, I don't know how this happened, but it's just worked out that way over time.  When I was single it was more pinks and lavenders - I was fully aware at the time that would probably be the last time in my life I could have a "pink and purple house".  And, what do you know, a husband and 2 (almost) boys later and I'll looks like I may never see those pretty together colors again in my home. 

I was entering Homegoods the other day, and the first thing I noticed was a beautiful Navy Blue and White ceramic dinnerware display, right as you walk in the door, on the end of the isle.  Of course, I had to run right over and decide whether I needed to buy a new set of dinnerware, right then and there - I refrained at the time, but it did get me thinking about adding the Navy color to my already turquoise and green house.  It can be done, I have decide that as a cost saving effort in my life, I will subtlety add the Navy color, and over time it will be THE color.  This might not be the right method for you, if you like to go with color trends.  And while that is important for my career to know the trends, I enjoy the color so much, I would rather have it as a base in my house, and change out the inexpensive trendy colored items, i.e. pillows, accessories, inexpensive art, etc. While leaving the more costly items in neutral colors; the wall color, draperies, upholstery furniture, etc.

Below are the catalogs that I recently received. The first picture is the newest cover of the Pier 1 Imports catalog.  Second, we have the newest cover of the Pottery Barn Bed and Bath catalog, adding the Kelly Green to the mix. Third, is the cover of the latest West Elm catalog, adding the grey and lighter wood tones. And last is a spread in the Williams Sonoma Home catalog. 

Enjoy perusing catalogs and online shops, I bet you notice the use of Navy and White a lot more now.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Decorate a Small Corner or Entryway

Every suburban house has one, a small area that you don't know what to do with or how to decorate. The small spaces in most of our homes just collect dust and items that we rarely use - similar to having a "junk drawer" in your kitchen.
However, I will say in most urban areas, they do a great job of utilizing every inch of their space.

But if you do have that unsightly area in your house, or maybe have a small entryway, not quite a Foyer, that you want help decorating, I have found a great idea.

This photo is great for many reasons. One being, is that every item, minus the flowers, is in a neutral color.  It is pretty, feminine, and easy to recreate.  As you can imagine, below the frame would probably be a small table or console, and probably in a white washed wood or something in a similar color to the frame on the wall. 

Ornate frames like the one in the picture as pretty easy to find.  Any thrift shop, flea market, or antique store will have something similar for fairly inexpensive.  Don't let the picture inside the frame, or the wood color of the frame detour you from the beauty of the frame.  If you want to spend a little more money, or have an uncommon sized wall, you might want to buy something new, or get a custom made frame.  If you decide to purchase old, pop out the photo (if there is one) and have fun picking out a spray paint.  Any color will work, but this photo is great, because the frame is similar to the wall color.  The frame itself does not stand out other that the texture.  

The shelf in the frame can be as easy as purchasing a piece of wood in the size that you need to fit inside, and painting it the same color as the frame, then screwing it into the wall.  Or, there are plenty of decorative shelves that look like trim you can purchase and just hang on the wall.  

The books are great because most everyone has some unique cocktail table books that they love to show off.  You can always slip the dust jacket off of a hardcover book, unless you love the cover, and then keep it on.  If you want a neutral look and your books are too colorful, turn them around so the spine is towards the wall, normally pages are white, and you can even color in a white/cream contact paper or standard brown grocery bag (bringing back old school book covering days).  I prefer to arrange my books with the largest on the bottom, and all being close to the same size.

If this were in my entry way, and I didn't have a small child that like to grab at things and eat them, I would put a small "catch-all" dish on the top of the books, for keys, change, mints, etc.  The bowl in the photo is wonderful, again because of the texture, not the color. And it is easy to find sometime like that at thrift stores, keep an eye out if you don't already have something unique in your kitchen cabinets to use.

And finally the flowers.  Obviously, real flowers are always the best; the sight, texture, and of course, the aroma are more pleasing.  But if you don't have a plentiful garden to cut from, and don't want to spend the money on fresh bouquets each week, fake flowers have come a long way.  One source that we use a lot in Model Home Decorating is Natural Decorations, Inc (NDI). Their flowers look amazingly real.  While expensive, they do last looking fresh for years.  Plan on keeping the dust off and even try spraying them with perfume once in a while. The flowers in the photo are very pretty and work well because of the glass vases, nothing to distract from the simplicity of the area. 

One more idea that is not in this photo... I love layering pictures! You can always hang another small picture or even mirror inside the larger frame, above the shelf, with, or in place of the flowers.  Remember, mirrors are a great addition to any room.  They add more light by reflecting from existing windows or lamps, and people love to see themselves, especially before walking out the door.

Also, if your space is too small for a table or console under frame, just bypass the piece of furniture.  The frame and what is inside is the focal point, the table just adds practicality and gets things off of the floor.

Happy Decorating!

photo from Joss & Main email newsletter

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gluten Free Pasta Salad

Let me start by saying that I love Gluten.  I am not one to give it up for a fad diet and I am lucky enough not be allegoric to it.... yet....  Also, let me say that I am not an aspiring chef and don't know how flavors accompany each other without taste testing them myself. 

However, we recently had guests over for a cookout and one is allergic to the ever delicious gluten.  I was trying to make an easy and tasty, gluten free dish that the other guests would eat as well.  I was lucky in finding an easy cold pasta salad recipe but replace the pasta with Barilla Gluten Free pasta.  I lucked out with the end result tasting so yummy!  I am not known for following directions very well, and tend to improvise on recipes based on what I have or what I think will taste better. Sometimes this theory does not work out to my family and friends delight.  

I used 1 box of Barilla Gluten Free Pasta (I used the spiral, because I think its prettier in pasta salad).  Because I don't usually cook with GF pasta, I am mentioning the brand name because I think it does matter. All of the guests, GF-needs and not, commented on the wonderful taste of the pasta.  I cooked it al-dente; boiled for 8 minutes, so it was still a little hard

I used 1/2 a pack of sliced pepperoni, and I sautéed it in a frying pan with olive oil.  I normally would not have done this, but myself and another guest are currently pregnant, and there is some rule on processed meats needed to be heated before eaten.  I drained the excess grease off of the pepperoni before adding it to the pasta. I have to say it might have added some nice flavor since it was cooked. 

I used 2 packs of frozen, seasoned broccoli steamers, I believe they were Green Giant.  I added the broccoli to a pot of water and boiled them slightly, but you can probably steam them in the microwave (as directed on the package) or just throw them in the pasta salad if there is enough time for them to thaw before you serve it.  I got the seasoned broccoli so that I would not have to add extra flavor to the finished salad.

I used 3 small cans of generic, sliced, black olives, and I drained and rinsed them well.  

1 used about 8 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1 entire bottle of Wish Bone Italian Dressing.

Cook the pasta, pepperoni, and broccoli (if you have decided not to let it thaw on its own).  Add all of the ingredients together, mix well, and set in refrigerator for at least an hour. 

Ta Da! A yummy side salad using Gluten Free Pasta!  Easy enough to bring to any cookout!

Good Luck and Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Online Personal Stylist

My latest obsession is purchasing clothing online.  While there is nothing new about this amazing task, there are however, new and exciting ways to go about it.  Since I live in a fairly small town and cannot get to the larger, more cost efficient, fashion forward stores so easily or quickly; I am forced to buy from quaint boutiques (which I do LOVE) or shop online.

Purchasing online is wonderful and a hassle, all in one.  While it easy to buy things with a touch of a button, there is always the question of style and fit.  Most of us are not shaped like the beauties that are modeling the particle clothes we want for ourselves.  I have found, since I am not a patient person, when it comes to purchasing items online, that ordering multiple sizes (especially if I am not familiar with the brand) is the way to go.  Then I can try on my recent arrivals in the comfort of my own home, and send back the ones that don't work.  But... there it is, the dreaded returns.  While some companies have made returning unwanted items quite easy, it still almost always requires a trip to the ever-wonderful post office.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if this whole process could change??? Yes! you say - well I am now going to tell you about my latest obsession.  Magically, I stumbled upon this FABULOUS website known as Stitch Fix It is an online, personal stylist!  You start by filling out your style sheet, and who doesn't love answering questions about themselves?  It asks you standard things like, height, weight, age, and other things such as, "how you like your pants to fit?" You describe your work environment, activities, lifestyle - you get the picture.  And then it asks how often you want to receive new packages, ranging from every 2 weeks to 3 months.  You also decide how much you would like to spend per item, it can be very budget friendly.

After that, you wait - within the few short weeks ( basically I forgot about it for a while) you have a lovely package arrive at your door (sooner that they anticipated, for me) with 5 brand new, hand-picked items, especially for you!  You try them on at your leisure (right away - of course) and decide what you want to keep and what you don't.  After that you repackage anything you don't want in there - pre-paid USPS bag, seal it and send it back.  It is important to note that it is a USPS bag - you don't have to drive to the UPS/FedEX store! You can drop you unwanted items in the mail box! WOW! How easy!

If you stylist is way off base (which is almost impossible if you fill out you style sheet correctly) you can make comments based on the items you received.  You can also request items that you see on there website, if you see something you love in between shipments.

I have fallen in love with this service!  While I do love shopping, and certainly won't give that up. I also don't have a ton of time anymore for that leisure.  Plus, who doesn't love getting packages in the mail!

I am attaching photos of my first even Stitch Fix.  I kept everything but the maternity jeans - being that this is not my first pregnancy, and I don't love jeans, especially in the summer, I have plenty of those unwanted elastic-waist-band-things in my closet for now.  But I made a note, and now my stylist knows :)

Happy shopping - or should I say... Happy sitting-back-and-being-styled-by a professional!
Feel free to use the referral link below

Monday, July 13, 2015

Recover a Standard Desk Chair

I recently moved my home office around and realized that I was in desperate need of a armless, rolling, swivel desk chair.  I was using a large dining chair to sit at my desk, and needed to be able to roll around and swivel with ease to reach items in my office.

I purchased a standard desk chair from Target and used a wonderful tutorial from this quant website that I found, Practically Functional (the link is below).  She does easy step by step instructions on how to recover.  I however, did not replace the foam cushion, since my chair was new.  I purchased some bright Lily fabric, and VOILA! a brand new, unique chair for my home office.

I am so happy with the results!  What an easy weekend project to do, and it changes the whole look of my office.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What I hope this blog will become... up first Make-up Contouring

While I am new to blogging, and not as computer savvy as I like to pretend; I hope this blog will be my ~ fashion/home decor/ beauty (hair, skin and body)/ health/ wellness and entertainment hot spot.  I would like to touch on everything and anything that sparks an interest to me, and hopefully fellow readers will be interested as well. 

I am a mother of one son, and one more on the way.  Besides the dog, I am the only female in my house of crazy!  I am sure as the boys get older, and my life gets filled with less with pale pink and lavender, and filled with more dirt and bugs, I will need all the pretty things that I can handle, and I hope that I can share them.

For my first entry I would like to discuss make-up shadowing.  Using bronzers and highlighters to contour the face (and body).  Make-up is fascinating to me, your face is like an empty canvas, waiting to be explored.  Different make-up applied correctly can completely change ones look.  I am big fan or contouring, especially lately while being pregnant and "puffy" in the Summer. I certainly feel that using these techniques during my normal morning routine (only adding a couple extra seconds) has helped me feel better on these +90 degree days. 
And remember - blend blend blend

Below is a great article with how-to pictures on the wonders of Highlighting and Contouring

Brooks Pro Tip: How to Retouch Photos | Brooks Institute

Happy Contouring!