You Are My Sunshine

Today, in honor of all things love and Valentine’s Day week, I’m featuring the anniversary gift I purchased for Andrew this past October.

On October 22, 2012 we celebrated our one year anniversary. HOW did that happen so fast?! It’s been an amazing year and we celebrated by visiting Grand Cayman for a few days and exchanging the traditional one year anniversary gift of paper. Paper was actually a pretty versatile medium and it was easy to get creative. Andrew constructed an album through Shutterfly featuring some of our favorite photos taken in all corners of the world. It was super special and I love looking at it. Most of our photos are simply uploaded to our hard drive or posted to Facebook so it’s nice to have an album to curl up with and look through.

I decided that a small hallway that connects our bedroom to the master bath needed a little love and I figured what better way to remind Andrew how much he lights up my life but with a little artwork we can appreciate frequently as it’s a “high traffic” area.

So, you know that children’s lullaby, “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are gray”…that’s sorta our song. Whenever I’m having a bad day, Andrew will just randomly belt that out and sing me out of my funk. It’s just one of those things that melts your heart and gives you the warm fuzzies…I live for hearing that song. Ok, you can stop rolling your eyes now. Mushy bit over.

I found this shop on Etsy, Heartsees, and absolutely fell in love with this print. What better gift of art than a Glicee print featuring this statement that is so meaningful to us.

il_570xN.375524793_tp8pYou Are My Sunshine Print

Here it is hanging in our Master wing hallway.

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The seller was a pleasure to work with. Shipping was prompt and since the print was sold fully framed, I was extremely pleased with out carefully it was packaged for protection during shipment. I was so pleased with this purchase and Andrew loves it. We get a lot of joy walking by it every day.

I am not compensated for featuring this seller. This post expresses my own independent purchase and opinions.

Valentine’s Day Gifts

Love is in the air. Speaking of love…I j’adore online window shopping. I especially j’adore putting together compilations of some of my favorite things. While the husband and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day or give one another gifts (well, we exchange cards, go out for dinner, and give each other a little extra squeeze) I still think there are some great festive gift ideas and I love constructing little visual wish lists. Here are a few of my favorite things that looked especially presh in all shades, pink, red, and lovey.

For the Love of Fashion

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Pintucked Ponte Dress(Anthropologie), Cashmere Cardigan in Windowpane Check(J.Crew), Darby Leather Loafers(J.Crew), Fanned Seashell Bralet(Anthropologie), Heart Intarsia Sweater(Anthropologie)

For the Love of Home

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Aviary Coverlet(Anthropologie), Live Love Pillow(Anthropologie), Ceramic Melon Knobs(Anthropologie), You Are My Sunshine Pillow(Anthropologie)

For the Love of Travel

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Leather Colorblock Passport Case(J.Crew), BAGGU for J.Crew Printed Bag(J.Crew), Printed Case for iPhone 5(J.Crew), Spiral Notebook(J.Crew), Printed Backup Battery for iPhone(J.Crew)

For the Love of Beauty

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Happy Heart Fragrance(Clinique), FACE Stockholm Nail Polish(J.Crew), Fresh Bloom All Over Colour(Clinique)

For the Love of Baubles

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Beaded Rose Necklace(J.Crew), Blooming Fondant Bib Necklace(Anthropologie), Dipped Rope Necklace(Anthropologie), Pink Stone Teardrop Earrings(LOFT), Beaded Rose Bracelet(J.Crew), Polished Planes Earrings(Anthropologie), Lily Mineral Necklace(Anthropologie), True Love Ring(Anthropologie), Daisy Chain Necklace(Anthropologie)

I have not partnered with, nor was I compensated by, any of the brands featured in this post. You should understand my general obsession with all things Anthropologie and J.Crew by now (wink).

What are you getting your special someone for Valentine’s Day? Do you have any super special gifts planned? Any special traditions?

Much love, xoxo

The Homies 2013

Exciting news to share!

homiesI have been nominated for the Apartment Therapy The Homies 2013! Specifically in the category for the Best Home Design & Inspiration Blog.

I was nominated last year and while I had no notions of winning then, or now for that matter, it’s super cool to be nominated and stand in line with so many other amazing, inspirational blogs out there. Many that are on the list are ones that I already visit frequently and the others are just new gems to be discovered!

On that note, please head over to Apartment Therapy and cast your vote for my own and other blogs that you admire (that handy link right there gets you to where you need to be to cast your vote). I am eternally grateful for all the support I’ve had from family and friends over the past year as I’ve pursued this hobby. I hope to grow it in so much more and could never accomplish that without you. You guys rock.

Much Love,

Catie

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!

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Schoolhouse Electric Lafayette Lamp…gorgeous at $339.00

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

My wanna-be at home:

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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.

Russian Tea Cookies

Good Morning everyone! It’s been fun recapping the holidays but I’m not going to lie, I’m sort of happy to move on. I always enjoy the season and I try to make it a reflective time and savor each moment with our loved ones but it can be just down right exhausting. While I don’t necessarily believe in new years resolutions in the traditional sense, I often look forward to the fresh start the new year promises and try to take at least some time to consider goals I have for the coming year, ways I’d like to be more mindful, and relationships I’d like to focus on (all of them). On that note, I promised a sweet finish to the holiday review so get your recipe cards out and file this one away for next year.

Russian tea cookies have been a Christmas staple since my childhood. They are delicious morsels of goodness covered in confectioners sugar. They go by other names such as Mexican wedding cakes, but “Russian teas” have always been the moniker we’ve given them. The following recipe has been passed down through several generations and is definitely one of our family favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Russian Tea Cookies

1 cup butter at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners sugar plus more for coating

t teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix together butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla using either a stand mixer or hand mixer.

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Sift together flour and salt. Stir in walnuts.

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Incorporate the flour mixture with the butter mixture.

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Form into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart (I love using silicone baking mats).

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Bake for 14-17 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Roll in confectioners sugar and serve or store in airtight cookie tins.

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Do you make a similar recipe? I’d love to hear about any techniques or variations you may use!