Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Put a twist on your dessert!

Not into the traditional wedding cake?  Spice up your wedding cake alternative with one of these ideas!

Dessert Shots!
Any dessert from key lime pie to cheesecake can be turned into a dessert shot!

Assortment of Pies!
This is perfect for any season - possibly an assortment of fruit (think peach or berry) pies in the summers with "heavier" (think Pumpkin, Pecan, all the Thanksgiving favorites) flavors for the winter!

Cupcake Tower!
A Cupcake tower is a great susbtitute for a wedding cake...and makes it easy for your guests to eat! You can even top the cupcake's off with the bride and groom's monogram!

menswear staples

images via

zz top certainly had that right.

i'm becoming more and more interested in menswear because of the mr. - now that we're married, i've taken it upon myself to start buying him fashionable, tailored clothing since he is averse to spending money on himself. 

i still have a lot to learn, but have started with the essentials - dark wash jeans, slim fit button-down, light-weight sweater, dress shoes, nice watch and sunglasses, and a classic tie. like the much-loved white button-down or trench coat for women, these pieces are versatile and serve as building blocks for a great men's wardrobe.

what else would you consider a menswear staple?

menswear staples

Monday, July 30, 2012

healthy habits

i am by no means a health or nutrition expert, but along the way, i've learned what works for me and have tried to instill a few healthy habits.

healthy habits

1. quick cook steel cut oats: this is my go-to breakfast (actually my preferred choice is the trader joe's brand). i have oatmeal almost every weekday and i fix it at work. i use hot water from our office coffee maker, but you can also heat water in the microwave. it's a bit of trial and error to figure out what water-to-oats ratio works for you, but i didn't mind it. i also keep a 1/2 cup measuring spoon to make sure i'm getting the right amount each day.

i love steel cut oats because they're less processed than your standard quaker oats and they don't have any added sugar like those convenient oatmeal packs. it's also a hearty breakfast that will stick with you longer than a doughnut or muffin will. to jazz my oatmeal up, i keep cinnamon and agave nectar in a drawer at work. sometimes i'll throw in blueberries, banana, or raisins. *agave nectar is a low-glycemic sweetener and can be used in anything - margaritas, coffee, oatmeal, and for baking! get it at your local health food store, trader joes, or whole foods.

i've found it's key for me to have healthy food easily accessible, otherwise i'm tempted to grab not-so-healthy options. which means...i have a whole drawer full of healthy food options at the office: trail mix, kashi granola bars, apples, etc. i also bring my lunch to work everyday. it's sometimes a pain to remember to pack it (i usually do it the night before), but i find when i don't, i'm much more likely to indulge when i buy my lunch.

2. jillian michaels: i seriously love jillian michaels and her crazy, screaming ways. i first out about JM by flipping through the exercise videos on video-on-demand. i was so tired of going to the gym for 1 or 1.5 hours and not really seeing much of a difference. i couldn't even do the first 10 minutes of the first JM video i tried. i'm not joking. i thought i was going to die. but i also kind of loved it. if i could get that out of breath in 10 minutes, it had to be effective. then i got JM's "30 day shred" and i was hooked. if you don't know "30 day shred," it's three 20-minute workouts in increasing degrees of difficulty. i couldn't get through the first one without taking a break, but eventually i got to a place where i could finish it, doing the modified (read: easier) versions of the moves. then i got to the advanced versions. before long, i was on to level 2, and the rest is history. the "no more trouble zones" is a beast of a workout that took me several weeks to master, but you will feel like a rockstar when you work up to being able to finish it.

one of the key things i learned from JM's workouts is that you have to be OK with feeling uncomfortable to see real change in your body. unfortunately, i'm not the type of person who can just do that on her own - i need someone yelling at me and guiding me through a workout. i learned that i'm not going to die when i'm out of breath and that when the workout gets REALLY hard, that's when i have to push myself the most. and for me, it's worth it. my stomach is flat after those workouts. my biceps are still contracted when i finish. i started noticing definition in muscles i didn't even know i had. anyway, i'll get off my soap box about JM. i know it's not everyone's style, but give me a 20-min workout that actually keeps me fit and i'm in!

3. water: this one is a no-brainer - we all know how important water is for our health. but all the same, i feel it's important to highlight. i actually feel ill when i'm not drinking enough water, so i have a bottle with me at all times. the mr. recently bought me a kleen kanteen and i love it. it's the first steel bottle i've had that 1) doesn't leak and 2) keeps water cold for HOURS.

4. nike training club: and lest you think i'm obsessed with jillian michaels, i wanted to share my new-found source for workouts. nike training club is a free app (go download it before it goes paid!) with dozens of interval workouts. similar to JM's workouts, NTC has 30 second to 2 minute intervals that are designed to tone and sculpt the body in a short amount of time. the app is incredibly well made, with pictures and videos describing how to do each move. i've been taking my weights to the local park and doing these workouts on the weekend when i need some fresh air.

so, what healthy habits do you have?? i love getting new ideas on how to stay healthy and fit, so please share!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Loving.. this week.

Here are some of my favorite posts from around the blogosphere this week.

Nicole's bedrooom mini makeover at Making it Lovely. I love the soft coral with the charcoal grey plus the botanical print can come live at my house any time.

This Montreal apartment home tour, featured at Mix and Chic by designer Nicola Marc. I fell in love with this home when it was featured in Style at Home magazine.

I love Emily Henderson's style, personality and wit. Her tip videos are no exception. This week's was about mixing patterns. I love that even her outfit in the video is a great mix of pattern!

If you missed her last video on mantel styling, you can check it out here.

I don't read a lot of fashion blogs but Kendi Everyday is a must read for me. Love her style and more than anything, I chuckle at each post. She cracks me up:) Still love colored jeans.. especially when paired with black and white.

How excited are you all for the Olympics!? I know from previous experience that I will have a hard time tearing myself away from the tv. I love it all and get completely wrapped up in it all! 
Love love love it! So pumped!

dusty rose wedding color palette

i shared on monday that one of my bffs got engaged over the weekend and since then, my brain's been abuzz with ideas! they are planning a fall 2013 wedding in either austin or san francisco, which means the weather will be gorgeous!

i don't think she has even begun thinking about a color palette, but it got me thinking...if i were to plan a fall wedding, i think i'd go for lovely shades of dusty rose, orchid, and grey, with just a touch of sparkle.

dusty rose wedding

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

attending a summer soiree

do you have a black tie wedding to attend this summer? or are you going to the opera? how about a charity ball?

by choosing a gown fit for a summer night (rent the runway is a great option!) and punching it up with statement jewelry and accessories, you're sure to be a stunner.

summer soiree

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stain and Vibrations.

It's official! After two afternoons of staining the walls of the deck and realizing I have many more to go... I loathe staining. Although, I'll admit it's looks pretty sharp! As you can tell, we added a few more pieces that need a coat of stain. Excuse the fuzzy iPhone photo, I'll post better ones when it is finished.

In other news, our street is getting a new sidewalk this week and my house is literally vibrating. A mirror seriously just fell off the wall! Just got back from a massage and poor Beaufort didn't hear me come in for all the noise! Sounds like a good day to escape to Charlottetown. 

Back soon!

have a kukee!

when kukees reached out to me about trying their gourmet cookies, i was all ears. i have a major sweet tooth and almost never turn down dessert. i was even more excited to try these treats when i found out that they are made with pure, wholesome ingredients like unbleached flour, white and brown sugars, oats, baking powder, baking soda, kosher sea salt, sweet cream butter, eggs, and pure vanilla extract. and better yet, they don't have any preservatives or hydrogenated oils. that means you should eat your kukees within 5 days or freeze them. but hey, if i have to scarf these down in 5 days, i accept that challenge!

image courtesy of kukees

they have 6 everyday flavors (double chocolate chip is my fave!) and 4 holiday flavors (can't wait to try the gingerbread chocolate!

i also love that kukees is a true girl-power entrepreneurial story. the company was founded in 2009 by kelli kauffman, who was born and raised in michigan and always played in the kitchen growing up. she started to get all kinds of requests from her friends to sponsor parties, birthdays with her cookies and they all urged her to go into business. kelli tries to make life about living in the moment with all things wonderful - enjoying good friends, food, family and she wanted this brand to reflect that. besides business, kelli loves all things "dogs," having 4 of her own and believes in rescue, adoption, and fostering pups.

and how cute is the packaging? the boxes are chocolate brown and pink, with drawers and individual pockets for each delicious kukee. they would make a perfect bridal shower or birthday present don't you think?

Monday, July 23, 2012

yay for weddings!

one of my very best friends got engaged over the weekend and i am SO excited for her and for the wedding planning to begin!! it gives me a whole new reason to pour over pinterest and bridal mags!

one of the things we're both excited to discover is what her bridal style will be.

will it be princess?

...or modern?


or statement?

...or romantic? or...?

 gowns 1 & 3 via j.crew; gowns 2 & 4 via bhldn

Thursday, July 19, 2012

style me pretty feature!

i am SO excited to share our wedding feature on style me pretty! it's such an honor to be featured, which is due in large part to our amazing photographer. now excuse me, while i read and re-read the feature...

images via style me pretty

currently coveting

my current wish list includes lots of girly prettiness!

currently coveting


Ellen's House.

This winter a new client, Ellen, invited me to visit her home to help her freshen it up a bit. A newer build, the home was bright, spacious and immaculate but perhaps lacking a bit of personality. The walls were a warm brown with dark finishes. I made a few suggestions of how she could lighten the palette.

A few months later, Ellen emailed me photos. I was shocked but how much she got done. She had the walls painted a soft grey, changed the hardware on her kitchen cupboards, purchased a new table and chairs, and a sectional.

However, the walls were bare, the windows naked and there were hardly any accessories. A busy mother of two, working full time and living out of town, Ellen felt she had no time to shop. This is where I came in. She asked me if I would be interested in being her personal shopper and style her home. Everything from shower curtains, plants, art, accessories, mirrors, window treatments.

Let me think for a second..

I get to shop?

For home stuff?

Decorate your house?

Let me think.. Yes!

It was a wonderful experience. Ellen put her trust in me and I went to work. Yesterday, I went to her home and got to work putting it all together. After 3 hours, I walked through the house smiling and wishing I could move right in. At the same time, I was holding my breath, hoping she would be happy with everything.

Thankfully, she loved it!

Here's a rather large peek, starting with a couple of before shots!



Eight white frames are hung over the Karlstad sectional bearing black and white family photos. 
Lamps were a Winners find.

 Ikat pillow covers from my favorite ebay seller.

Three Ikea Lack shelves were hung in the empty space next to the TV console (a vintage find that got a coat of white paint). I had great fun shopping for accessories for the shelves. I left her a little space on the bottom to fill with her own finds.. I'm thinking vintage boxes or pretty books? 

Fresh flowers from her garden.

Of course I had to add an owl somewhere. Why not one that can have a flower head? :)

The windows in the kitchen (and powder room) have custom-made roman shades using a sophisticated black and white stripe fabric from Tonic Living. The center one was the wrong size so we are waiting on having it fixed up.

Still to come are some modern white bar stools which will tie in perfectly. Can't wait to see those!

Once again, a fantastic experience for me. I'm passionate about interior design and styling and love when I have opportunities like this. Thanks so much for allowing me to share with me readers Ellen! I hope you enjoy your "new" space!

Linking up to Serenity Now

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

summer essentials

first of all, thank you for all the sweet comments on my DIY abstract painting post yesterday! 

it's only wednesday, but i already have my sights on the weekend because the mr. and i are headed to lake geneva to visit a good friend at her lake house! inspired by our trip, i put together a round-up of everything you need to spend a weekend at the lake in style.

summer essentials

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Power of Teak.

Over the weekend, I used linseed oil to give our patio set a perk up. I am now a firm believer in the power of teak. Stephane bought this set in 1996! That's 16 years ago and it turned out amazing. We have left it outside, even over the winter and neglected it the last few years but a quick coat of linseed and it's good as new.

Here it is before. It's grey and weathered. I actually didn't mind the aged patina but it really needed some tlc.

Here is the set now. If I had know it would turn out so well, I wouldn't have waited so long to get it done! I still need to give the chairs a second coat but they are fine for now!

While we're at it, I thought I'd share more photos of how the deck is coming along. The upper deck is still in progress so I'll share those another day. But for now, here is the lower/main portion.

Of course, Beaufort had to make an appearance. This is his happy place!

I'm very anxious for the plants and shrubs to grow. When I look back at photos from when we planted them, they certainly have but I want it to feel lush... next year or even the year after, I suppose. Patience!

We still want to plant a few trees as well. I'm thinking a dwarf Japanese Maple and some weeping pea shrubs. It will feel a bit more private and add to that lush feeling that I'm after. Again, patience, Jane.

The catwalk is my favorite part. The only thing I requested, when we started planning, were long steps that could be used for seating and laying in the sun. I'm not a fan of narrow steep steps. He came through on that request.. that's a long step! I love it.

We plan to work on the upper deck a little more this week so I'll be back to share it soon. 

Hope the sun is shining where you are!