Den Updates

So, this isn’t new. In fact, I’ve had this shot posted on Instagram and Facebook for a while but have yet to post it here.

We have a new sofa for the den!


Our den space is sort of odd…it’s not the largest space and based on the layout with the fireplace, built-ins, and the fact that it’s an open floor plan with the kitchen, I was left with few options for furniture arrangement. It was important to me to keep this space feeling open and not clutter it with furniture. While we entertain in this space frequently, we are blessed with Florida weather and the party often spills right onto the adjacent pool patio so we are rarely in dire need of seating in here. A sectional fit our needs perfectly allowing some extra space to kick back and lay out. Paired with an accent chair already in the room and some cozy floor cushions…I think it was all we needed.

This past Thanksgiving, we began our search. Of course, we were looking for a budget option. Honestly, this was going to be a high traffic sofa and while you may get more durability from a more expensive piece of furniture I firmly believe it’s all mostly the same crap at the end of the day….whether you pay $6,000 or $1,500. Our decision was to attempt to find a solid piece of furniture, that didn’t drain the bank account, and that I wouldn’t feel guilty replacing in 5-10 years when it inevitably starts to look shabby. They just don’t make furniture like they used to. Given that we don’t live in the most urban area, local furniture shopping pretty much revolves around one establishment. In Gainesville, that is Furniture Country. We purchased our living room furniture here and have been pleased. The best part, they have some GREAT sales so you can get even more of a bargain. Given that we shopped over Thanksgiving, we scored a Black Friday deal and received an additional 20% off of the price.

As we were walking the store, we had our eyes on different sectional sofas. We knew the dimensions we needed and my preference was for leather. We spend most of our down time in the den with the dogs and the cat and we wanted something durable and that would make fur clean up MUCH easier. I’m over the days of pet hair sticking to upholstery. UGH. Given that our dogs are on the small side and we are able to keep their nails trimmed to discourage punctures or scratches in the leather, we decided that this material was perfect for our needs.

The sofa we ended up purchasing was displayed on the showroom floor in a lime green fabric. My big tip is to look beyond the upholstery when purchasing furniture. Often, the retailer will have questionable choices when it comes to the fabric and color of the furniture they display. Look for the lines and proportion and explore options from there. Much to my delight, this sofa could be upholstered in leather and even more delightful, a shade of leather that I thought only existed in my head was available. I was shocked! I knew I wanted a taupe/gray color but most leather furniture you see is either black, brown, or gasp, white! I chose the leather based on this 4 x 8 inch swatch and was a little fearful it would look dated but once it was delivered I knew it was the right choice. We love it. The pillows you see on the sofa came with the purchase. I was asked to pick fabric and believe it or not, this was the least offensive of the choices. It’s a graphic floral print on twill in shades of taupe, burgundy, and navy. I actually sort of like the pillows but they won’t be permanent as it’s not the look or color scheme I’m going for in this room. Either way, free is free. I’ll either recover these in the future or replace them altogether. I suppose I should give you a few details on the sofa! We went with a right arm chaise sectional sofa made by England Furniture. We chose real leather in the color Salvador Mushroom. Final sale purchase price was $2,111.90. I call that a great value for a leather sectional!


This room still has a long way to go but just wanted to share this little update!

How about you? Any good furniture finds lately?


Fab Finds Friday: Ballard Designs Travel Art

My favorite pastime is internet shopping. Dangerous on the credit card to just point and click I suppose but I will say, often I’m just “window shopping” and getting inspiration and ideas. One of my favorite sources of home inspiration is Ballard Designs. A friend turned me on to them a few years ago and I’ve never looked back. I only wish I could afford to design an entire room with their product but that’s just not feasible at this time. In fact, I don’t think I technically own anything from Ballard and the bargain shopper in me enjoys the challenge of finding the look for less, as you know. But I would love to invest in a few pieces that will go the distance decor wise and I’m gravitating to their accessories and art prints. Unlike a big piece of expensive furniture, lighting fixtures, decor, and art, allows you to achieve the Ballard styling without breaking the bank. Now, if only I could make a decision on what absolutely needs to be in our home!

On to the art. I’ve been smitten recently with their travel and map inspired art prints. Primarily because travel has been such a huge part of our lives and we’ve both been very fortunate to have some wonderful experiences abroad. I’ve been scheming how and where to execute some travel art in our home. I have a few DIY ideas up my sleeve that I’m still working out the details but Ballard has some awesome options as well. Here are a few of my favorites:






I’d love to know. How have you incorporated your love for travel (if you have a love for travel) into the design or decor of your home? I’m always looking for ideas!

PS: I was not paid or otherwise provided incentive to feature Ballard Designs in this post. As always, products or companies that I feature and discuss are because I’m just obsessed. 

Moroso Redondo

In English…it’s a sofa.

This one is short and sweet.

It’s amazing the treasures a little random Googling around will get you…

Moroso is an Italian company featuring amazing furniture design…mainly sofas and armchairs. In the spirit of shorter posts…and because who wants to read when we can ogle this curvaceous quilted goodness…here’s the eye candy.

This is the Redondo sofa collection by designer Patricia Urquiola. (PS: In the company description, they indicated you may find your rear end enjoying the likes of this furniture in places such as palaces in Bahrain…I’m guessing that’s why I didn’t see prices listed…)

moroso-1 moroso-2 moroso-3 moroso-4I don’t know about you buy something about all this quilting sings to me. I just imagine it feeling so plush and cozy…like you’re favorite blanket. That’s actually probably a blasphemous statement and the design gods are reeling thinking I likened this furniture to your favorite blanket seeing as it probably costs more than my house…

Look but don’t touch?

Any favorite amazing but out of your reach furniture wish list items?


Fab Finds Friday: Best Home Design Apps Version 1.0

Good Morning sweet friends! Wasn’t feeling too hot yesterday so didn’t have time to prepare my morning post set to publish first thing, but not to worry, I have some more fab finds to share with you today. Yay for Friday!

I’m still LOVING my 3 day weekends…honestly, it has allowed me to be more productive and preserve some of my sanity. In fact, I’m sitting here this morning at my new shiny dining table (I really need to get that blogged, but the dining room isn’t anywhere near finished so I’ve been avoiding it) while sipping on my coffee, and glaring at my cat who keeps laying on and crushing the cushions on the backs of my living room chairs. GRRRRR. Tips please, he’s a defiant little bugger.


Anyway, for Christmas, Andy finally dragged me to the Verizon store and got Momma a new phone. I had been a proud user of the iPhone 3Gs for several years but she was starting to peter out…slow, slow, slow. Plus, certain apps/functions were no longer compatible. I had also switched service to AT&T at the time. Andrew was itching to get me back on the Verizon family plan so we finally bit the bullet and I scored a brand new iPhone 5 in the process. Actually, it sort of worked out nicely because we’re saving a pretty big chunk of change each month with the family plan. So much so, that based on our calculation, within 3 months, this phone would have paid or itself! Score.

So, I’ve been having fun with some apps since getting this little gem just after Christmas and it has really fulfilled my needs for on the go inspiration. Today, I’d like to share a few of my favorites. I’m planning to break this down into a few categories over the next few weeks given that I have quite a few to share and I can more or less classify them into different categories. The best part…they’re all FREE! The more I blog, the more I realize how cheap I am, but who doesn’t like free! Honestly, I’m sure there are some great paid apps out there and I’d love to hear about them BUT unless it’s something I absolutely can’t live without, or would be useful almost daily, or has such unique functionality…I’m happy playing with free stuff for the time being. Today, we’ll discuss a more nebulous, general category…home design apps. I’ll feature some apps below that I use for inspiration and ogling pretty things. Here’s what I’m loving.

Best Free Home Design Inspiration Apps

1. Houzz Interior Design Ideas I’ve been using the Houzz website for a while for inspiration. In fact, CNN calls Houzz “the Wikipedia of interior design”. I’m actually sort of in shock this app is offered for free. You can browse their expansive library of over one million high resolution photos. The app has great features as well that allow you to “clip” and save the photos to in app idea books. Be sure to look past the photos though! If you explore your other menu choices, you’ll note there are forums for any design question under the sun as well so the ability to search for local professionals and review portfolios if you realize you need to bring in the big guns. Finally, the app has some easy to use share features if you’re a social media junkie.




2. Dwell  You may have seen Dwell magazine on newsstands. It’s a great publication that covers modern architecture and design…and their app doesn’t disappoint. I mean really doesn’t disappoint. They have high quality images for inspiration along with articles detailing each feature. Your menu options are extensive as well and you can link to slide shows and videos, an idea book for quick inspiration, get information about exhibitors that attend their design events as well as view calendar of their upcoming events, share your inspiration easily on social media, and even do a little shopping from their products tabs.



3. Decor Pad – Interior Design I have also been visiting the Decor Pad website for quite some time for inspiration. Their free app provides inspiration and ideas on the go as well. Beautiful photos are available through this app and you can easily search by space and bookmark favorites. I’m especially enamored with their Look 4 Less tab. This is a feature on their website and it’s very handy through the app…definitely get’s my penny pinching motor humming.




4. Benjamin Moore Digital Editions This is actually a pretty neat little app and allows you to explore digital editions of their color cards and magazines. If you explore the app a bit you’ll find you can link to some videos featuring before and afters and design tips. While the app is clearly intended to push and enhance the Benjamin Moore product, if you’re a fan like me, it’s a great resource.




By no means is this list exhaustive but these are the apps I’ve been returning to time and again for inspiration, planning, and tips. What are you’re favorites? I’d love to hear about them!

Also, as per usual, I have not been compensated to feature any products or apps discussed in this post. The opinions are entirely my own and based on products and apps I use myself and believe in. I hope you find these apps as useful and enjoyable as I have…and again, I’d love to hear your recommendation for free apps I may have not yet discovered!

Have a great day!

Painted Interior Doors

A while back, we finally finished painting the trim in the living room/dining room. I used Decorators White by Benjamin Moore and I think it came out really great. It’s a nice complementary white paired next to our paint color, Moonshine. When the trim work was all said and done, the crown molding, baseboards, and trim surround all doors and windows was a crisp shade of Decorators White. I’d initially intended to take the doors down and freshen them up with a coat of this white as well…but now I’m considering going in an entirely different direction. I’m looking for s0me drama, a statement, a little fun pop of color. Not sure if I want it to be crisp, bright, or moody…but painted doors are looking more and more enticing. Let’s adore a few that particularly spark my desire to dip into some paint again.

I’m leaning towards black or a much darker shade that was complimentary to Moonshine in the Ben Moore color decks. I’m thinking of going high gloss as well. The wheels are turning and we may be breaking out the rollers sooner than later!

Schoolhouse Rock

I’m putting “Break It or Take It” to bed. See original post here if you’re new around here and you care at all about what that means. It seemed clever at the time but now…well, it sounds stupid. So, goodbye. It’s ok though because the thing I like most about this whole blogging thing is that it unfolds organically. There’s room to grow, find your voice, feel awfully clever, and then realize you may sound like a complete moron. It’s a place to try quirky titles, talk too much, or not enough…like, when you’re typing away only to look down at the bottom of your page and realize the word count is quickly approaching 500+ and then ask yourself who in the H would want to read all this crap and hit publish anyway. Speaking of I better move on to my point…

I still want to share mid to high end finds with it’s bargain basement match made in heaven but we’ll do so without painful titles. Unless “schoolhouse rock” is a painful title…but anything has to be better than the nonsense that was “break it or take it”…buh-bye. It may come back but for now, we’ll retire it.

I recently discovered Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. through a project that was completed on the Bravo show Million Dollar Decorator. Guilty, guilty pleasure that network. Anyhow, Jeffery Alan Marks completed a project in Nantucket where the requirement was to furnish virtually all of the home through “catalog” resources. I was enamored with the lighting fixtures used throughout the house and quickly learned through some participation in the live tweets of that episode that many of the fixtures came from Schoolhouse Electric.


Ok, so let’s all get over the collective groan that I’m late to the party on this one. They aren’t new, they’ve been blogged to death, but they’re new to me…and fueling my lamp fetish fast. Seriously though, there are some amazing fixtures available and pictures of their showroom have justified a trip to Portland, Oregon. Seriously, I asked Andrew if we could go to Portland…to see a lamp store. My poor husband.

Anyway, remember the lamp I featured in this shopping post?…yes, the one the evil wallet gremlins at Target made me purchase? Well, I found it’s long lost relative on Schoolhouse Electric. Observe.


Schoolhouse Electric Lafayette Lamp…gorgeous at $339.00

14244326_121110063000Target Buff Beige Table Lamp Base…tolerable at $54.99

My wanna-be at home:


The navy ikat print shade is also from Target and was $22.99.

14246323_121025003000In closing, I wanted to share a blurb on why Schoolhouse Electric is so awesome…this is from their LinkedIn company overview.

Schoolhouse Electric Co. is a homegrown company started in Portland, Oregon in 2003.
The showroom and factory are located here with a showroom also in New York City.

American made vintage lighting fixtures and shades. Our shades are hand blown from original molds found in an old warehouse in upstate New York.

Too bad most of their selection doesn’t quite fit into the budget. While I can’t afford larger pieces such as table and floor lamps at the moment, I plan on giving them my business through smaller fixtures and finishes on offer.

So, how about you…any “look for less” finds this week?

PS: official word count is 545…new years resolution…shorter posts.

Christmas In Review: 2012

I mentioned the other day that I was going to continue to spread the Christmas cheer a little longer, especially since I intended to share a few details from our holiday but never got around to it. Rather than let some of the photos and efforts go to waste, I thought it might be nice to share regardless. I also shared some details here, here, and here. Be forewarned, some of the decor ideas I’m featuring below aren’t really groundbreaking, or especially creative…at all. I’m mostly sharing because I know my Mom would want to see. Given that they live a thousand miles away, she never gets to see our house done up for the holidays. And Mom, given that your obsession with Christmas and decorating is no secret, I knew you’d want to check it out. So this one’s for you.

Our Christmas Tree

So this is probably considered terrible photography but we are trying to learn our camera better and have been playing around with the manual settings on the DSLR. I sort of like how these turned out so in the spirit of creativity and experimentation I present to you blurry Christmas tree…

christmas-tree-2012-2-resized…and twinkly Christmas tree…
christmas-tree-2012-1-resized …and regular Christmas tree…

Sorry she forgot to put her pants on…but I never got around to making that DIY Ruffle Tree Skirt. Best laid plans. It’s definitely on the agenda for next year given that I already purchased the materials. Heck, I may even whip it up in July. For the record, yes, this is a fake Christmas tree. It belonged to Andrew’s Grandmother and in the words of my father-in-law, “it’s 1965 vintage”. A few years ago, I HATED this tree. I grew up with a fresh tree and it’s just what I’m used to. Who moved my tree, ‘er cheese, sort of thing. But this tree has grown on me (no pun intended) and now I adore it. In fact, next year, the tentative plan is to do a fresh tree in our den space, and keep this one here in the living room and deck it out with more of a theme and keep the family ornaments on the den tree. But I have approximately 345 days to figure that out so moving One of my favorite glass

I was all about the “shop your house” concept this Christmas. For starters, I was being cheap and didn’t want to spend money unnecessarily. Second, there is only so much space to store decorations and if you ask Andrew, I have nearly met my quota…he’s going to start charging me for space in the attic soon, I’m sure of it. It’s actually quite fun poking through your items, or even other decor you use throughout the year and try to come up with ways to repurpose and restyle.

Pottery Barn jars with pinecones and small glass ornaments. I found a bag of decorative pinecones at Target earlier in the season for $5 and the ornaments were a clearance buy from Pier 1 a few seasons ago.

christmas-apothecary-jars-2012-3 Below are some apothecary jars from Michael’s that were used during my wedding. The ornaments were from an inexpensive ornaments set from Michael’s a few season ago that I no longer use on the christmas-apothecary-jars-2012-1

Also, I know some family and friends check in here so I’m sharing a few great family shots we took on Christmas Eve. This year, we got dolled up, had a delicious dinner at a local Portuguese restaurant with an even more amazing wine selection, and attended a lovely midnight Mass.

Andrew and me

family-christmas-nj-2012-1 with Momfamily-christmas-nj-2012 with Dadfamily-christmas-nj-2012-2

Look who finally completed one of the Pinterest projects I’d intended to make! I love my monogram berry wreath. See this post for more details. berry-monogram-wreath

And finally…one of my favorites. This picture was taken at my parents house (where I grew up). A few years ago they began putting lights on this little tree out back, set away from the house. It always looks so friendly and magical, especially when it has snowed, and the neighbors love it as it’s visible from other backyards. outdoor-christmas-tree-2012

We are beyond blessed and had a wonderful holiday season celebrating with family and friends. For those family and friends who we were not able to visit with, you were missed and we thought of you every second. As this season draws to a close, we hope you and yours found equal blessings and are entering this new year refreshed. Check back tomorrow as I’ll be posting our favorite holiday cookie recipe as a sweet finish to the holiday recaps. Have a wonderful Monday!

Fab Finds Friday: Tar-jay

I love to shop. I’m also sure it’s no secret at this point that my intimate relationship with the aisles of Target are borderline obsessive. I frickin’ love that place. It’s pretty much the running pop-culture joke that you can’t pass the shiny red balls and emerge once more without being at least $100 poorer, so, in that spirit, I’m kicking off a new feature called Fab Finds Friday with non-other than a trip to Target, Tar-jay, Tar-whydoyoumakemespendsomuchmoney-get.

So anyway, not only do I love to shop, but I LOVE a good bargain. I really do love to mix high end items with more affordable, heck, even used (read vintage, goodwill, consignment, hand-me-down) pieces. This is true not only of home design but also fashion (or my lack-there-of). In the coming weeks and months, I’ll plan a little virtual shopping spree…we’ll pop into shops big and small and ooh-and-ahh over some of my favorite home decor items, accessories, and fashion. As I said, I pride myself on finding bargains so I’ll be sure to clue you into some deals as well.

Without further ado, entrez-vous…(oh, and in case you were wondering, I’m not in cahoots with the big red bullseye {target} for this post…I just like to spend my money there…much to my husbands dismay).

Before we ogle the goods, let me share with you that this was my first time blatantly taking pictures in a store. I felt like a crazy person. I was getting sort of nervous and sweaty and was awkwardly holding my phone up in front of me with the camera app open while pushing a cart. I kept spastically looking around me as I quickly snapped photos…more nervous that some employee would walk up to me and demand to know what I was doing. I used to work at Anthropologie, and on more than one occasion I remember having to tell a customer to please stop snapping pictures of the merchandise. For the life of me, I don’t know who came up with that rule. Honestly, people would probably spend more money if they were able to take some snaps of items that speak to them…I know this is so helpful to me when I’m considering a purchase but need to be reminded of the visual once home and debating/designing my space. Anyway, in case you were worried, I was not tackled to the ground by anyone in a red shirt and my phone was not wrestled from my sweaty palms as I imagined it may be. But there are probably a few more Gainesville-ians who think I’m a little bit weird. Also, Andy-cakes deserves a big shout out for being willing to walk around the store with his nut-job of a wife taking photos of things we aren’t really buying. Especially when I kept hissing his name to block me while I took pictures…oh, you want to see some stuff…let’s get to that shall we.

fab-finds-friday-target-1-1-4 I ABSOLUTLELY, POSITIVELY, FLIPPING LOVE THESE MUGS. Sorry for the shout-y caps but they are the bomb dot com. They really stood out to me because of all of our travels, obviously, but I just love the retro vibe. Honestly, I should have picked some up come to think of it…I may go back this weekend and see if there are any in stock.

fab-finds-friday-target-30-1-4 More fun kitchen finds. I loved these olive oil and vinegar bottles (1) and was also smitten with the jars (3). They came in several sizes and had a chalkboard label on the front. This display also had some coordinating serve-ware and kitchen towels, etc. These would make a fabulous shower or wedding gift for those upcoming spring/summer nuptials. Finally, there were some monogram mugs on the display (2) below the destination mugs…these would also make a great gift.

fab-finds-friday-target-31-1-4I’ve really grown to love the seasonal collections of home decor Target has been doing. I was especially smitten with this round and actually snapped up a few pieces for myself. I need to post a mood board soon to give you an idea of the direction I’m taking our kitchen/den space in but needless to say, some of these pieces worked so I snatched them. I immediately fell in love with the ceramic lamp base and blue ikat print shade (1 & 2). It works perfectly in the den and the print and pop of color on the shade is just what I was looking for. Let’s be honest though, I have a major lamp fetish and am beginning to realize I’m accumulating quite the collection. For now, I’m sticking to more bargain finds as I often like to swap things seasonally or change the look altogether…the money I save can be applied towards the POD I’ll need in my backyard to store all my room styling items…sigh. Anyway, they had another great wooden lamp base (3) and ikat shades in beige and yellow (4). I almost splurged on the wooden lamp base but I don’t have anywhere to put it. It did, however, inspire a potential DIY project….
fab-finds-friday-target-32-1-4 Some great decorative items…wooden starburst mirror (swoon) and mirrored wooden trays (double swoon) (1). I purchase a large and medium hurricane (2) for my fireplace mantel and got two golden beeswax candles to put inside, they look great! I really love these finials (3) they make quite the statement on a shelf, mantel, or console as does this darling cloche (4).

fab-finds-friday-target-33-1-4 If you need to add to your menagerie, there were some adorable bookends (1) and yarn wrapped animal figurines (2). These items would look really great as accessories in a baby or child’s bedroom or playroom.


These little lamps (1 & 2) were just darling and I’ve nicknamed the first one lemon-drop. I honestly just wanted to sit back with a glass of lemonade in the patio section and stare at one of these. Andy managed to convince me that we didn’t need either of them but I won’t lie, I really wish I was planning a nursery right now because either of these would have been in the cart and ready for display on a dresser or night stand at home. So, if you’re having a baby, please buy one of these. Honestly, this may just be a go buy it anyway and have it on hand sort of thing…hmmm.


More bright, fun decor for some easy swaps and updates. Funky pillows (1) and throws (2 & 6). In fact, we purchased the throw in number 2 as they are machine washable and I felt the fabric would stand up to our pet hair sitch. I LOVED the saturated color of the throw rug (4). The frames (5) were these neat, wooden frames wrapped in this fabric style cord and the metal hurricanes (3) would be great on a covered patio or sun-room.
fab-finds-friday-target-36-1-4 The fretwork patten of this throw rug (1) was super cool and would look great in a bathroom or as an area rug in a kitchen. Some cute toss pillows (2) great for a teen room. Rustic storage side-table (3)…it didn’t seem sturdy enough to use as an ottoman but it would work perfectly as a little side-table with a tray on top for beverages and storage inside. I LOVE this outdoor pouf (4). Found this bad boy in the patio section and it was made with an outdoor fabric that was durable. Already dreaming of pool parties.

fab-finds-friday-target-37-1-4And finally, because I’m a big sucker for gift wrap I found some bright, graphic bags that I’m sure anyone would love to receive a gift in. I’m especially enamored with the little french bulldog on the bag in the picture top right.

So what about you? Any favorites, gotta-have-em items at Target right now?

New Years Eve Black and White Party

In the spirit of a holiday recap week…let’s saunter down (recent) memory lane in reverse chronological order, shall we?


To begin, I’d like to share some details from our New Years Eve bash we hosted earlier this week with some close friends and neighbors. Andrew and I have really embraced the idea of hosting New Years Eve as a tradition and in that spirit, I wanted to host a fun night with our closest pals that was a bit special. We wanted to host a party that had a fun, cohesive element and allowed the gang to get dressed up with some purpose. Ultimately, I decided to keep it simple and went with a festive black and white theme. With a few tweaks to my holiday decor, and some fabulous internet finds, I was able to easily transform our entertaining space. Actually, I’m going to take a moment and brag…more for the fact that I still can’t believe I pulled off this party in literally 10 hours (oh, a big shout out to Andrew who did ALL the cleaning…go team.) The day before new years we returned from our trip to NJ but we were exhausted and I was battling a little cold so I didn’t even lift a finger to prep or decorate prior to 9am on the 31st. From 9am to 7pm I managed to take down 90% of my Christmas decor, procure supplies from Michael’s, craft and assemble the party decorations, and bake champagne cupcakes from scratch in addition to assembling a few other appetizers for our potluck appetizer bar. I felt like it was a design show elimination challenge! You be the judge…


The mantel update was easy to accomplish. I began by removing most of my Christmas mantel decor, seen here. I left the mercury glass pillars and hurricane and one garland with silver berries in place as the look was appropriate to the theme of this mantel. The Michael’s floral department was 50% off so for about $15 I was able to add some white and black blooms. I found the banner from The TomKat Studio. I used my home printer to print it on cardstock and then punched two holes at the top of each flag with a small circular punch to thread the ribbon through. The silver ribbon was leftover from my wedding in 2011…apparently I purchased a lifetime supply.

I have a stash of unused frames lying around and luckily, this black frame was the perfect size for this festive sentiment, also from the printable collection from The TomKat Studio. Again, I just printed on cardstock and placed in the frame. The glass hurricane above was a clearance find at Lowe’s a few days ago for about $5. I placed 4 strands of battery operated star lights I’ve had lying around for several seasons inside. They were from IKEA about 3 years ago.

I purchased some silver tissue paper from Michael’s but otherwise I had the black and white tissue paper stashed in my wrapping supplies to make these tissue paper poufs. I hung them from the ceiling over the bar in our kitchen where the food was arranged.


Some more blooms, a vase I transformed with some metallic spray paint, and some party horns for merry-making.

Some of our goodies…the food flags were also part of the printable collection linked above. new-years-eve-2013-food-1


champagne-cupcakesFinally, we enjoyed some champagne cupcakes for dessert. Stay tuned for the recipe…they were delicious!

Overall, it was a really fun evening complete with sparklers and some real deal fireworks. Yes, that happened, in my backyard. And it was AWESOME. We have a basketball court in the backyard that has now been officially dubbed “the launch pad”…everyone walked away with their fingers so we’ll call it a success.

new years 2013 1 new years 2013 2 new years 2013 3 new years 2013

(photo credit for these four snaps goes to our good friend John M. Thanks again for capturing some fun moments from the evening!)

How were your new years celebrations!? Did you spend a quiet night in or paint the town? If you hosted, did you opt for a theme or special decor or just some jammies, popcorn, and party horns? I’d love to hear about it!

Happy New Year

Hello friends and family (and new friends too!) Happy new year to you and yours! If you’re stopping by the blog for the first time, welcome! With the hub-bub of the holiday’s, I decided to take a little hiatus from blogging but I’m excited to be back online today with some updates, recaps, and reflection.

new years 2013 1


(thanks to our good friend John M. for this photo and the one at the end of the post…great shots buddy!)

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind…work was busy as we closed up shop for the winter break, and then we hit the ground running with social gatherings and holiday travel to see family and friends (New Jersey in the HOUSE). I had big plans for some posts throughout the holidays recapping my cookie exchange party, our “friends Christmas” first annual gingerbread house competition, as well as some decor ideas, projects, and updates…but alas, so many plans, so little time.

So here’s the plan. Show of hands…how many people feel a little sad to see the holiday’s come and go so quickly? Who always feels a little bummed to put away the Christmas decorations? That’s what I thought…me too. So, rather than let some of the photos and ideas I had surrounding the holidays go to waste, we’re going to do a little post-holiday recap this week and make Christmas last just a little bit longer. To top it off, I have some fab details to share from the New Years Eve black and white party we hosted the other night. So consider what is to come ideas for next year…savor the last few moments of the holidays and file away the inspiration for next season.



(Sneak peak from our New Years Eve black and white party…print in frame from The TomKat Studio)


On that note, as I type, there is a message at the top of my screen indicating that my subscription to is about to expire at the end of January which means I have been blogging for almost an entire year! That’s crazy. This little nugget started on a whim and I’m reflecting on how much I have enjoyed it. Yes, I’ve had a little hiatus or two, and I experimented with starting another blog about health and fitness (another big part of my life). I can safely say that this whole blogging thing has really started to become a passion and I’ve learned so much (well, just scratching the surface) in the past few months about photography, site design, writing…I’ve discovered some awesome blogs along the way as well and have already begun to develop some neat connections through this community. So, for the new year, I have officially decided to focus solely on Get Carey’d Away and will let the other blog go.

I have big plans for this blog this year and plan on switching it over to a self-hosted format for more flexibility including a site re-design which will include a new look as well as some new topics including travel and style in addition to things I already enjoy discussing such as home design, decorating, and DIY. I really look forward to presenting more of our lifestyle…for example, travel is a huge passion of ours and our journey’s definitely influence how we design our home and some of the plans we have for future updates. I always gravitate towards home elements or jewelry and accessories as souvenirs from our travels…it’s all related so we’ll discuss it here!

Overall, 2012 was a year of growth, experimentation, and marked our first full year of marriage. It was wonderful, challenging, and inspiring. I’m finally settled in a job I enjoy very much, I have a super fulfilling hobby (this blog), and the best husband, family, and friends a person could ask for…you all know who you are…you are so amazing, some days I don’t even think I deserve you. I’m looking forward to 2013 with an open heart and wide open arms. Some experiences in life recently have made me realize that I need to relinquish some control…not EVERYTHING is up to me. I’m a pretty faithful person privately, but I’m compelled to share a statement my husband makes (I bow down to you again oh wise one…)… He says:

“Work like it’s all up to you…Pray like it’s all up to God”

Truer words have not been spoken. I’m making that my motto in addition to the following mindset which is: plan for life you have and not the life you want. Hubs and I have big plans for our little family and we are realizing timing is not always up to us. We realized we were slowly accumulating a growing list of plans, adventures, projects, etc., but were constantly left with giant “what ifs” hanging over our head. That’s no way to live. So, in the spirit of live in the moment, we’re going to do just that…you can always adjust your course and travel a different heading. Now, someone just please remind me of this post and these words when I get frantic! I’m really bad at taking my own advice.

Love to you all and happy new year!

new years 2013