Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Featuring: Life with a Dash of Whimsy.

I always love reading The Everygirl blog, especially their home tours.  They feature everyday homes, which is always refreshing -- the rooms are always beautiful, but attainable and totally livable at the same time.  They featured one recently that really caught my eye.  I studied all of the pictures in great detail because all of the little touches were just perfect.

But what made the whole thing even more special was that the tour featured the home of United States Army Captain Katie del Castillo.  Someone who serves our country and can decorate the heck out of her DC place -- yes, please!  Katie has her own blog, which is great so be sure to check it out.

(all photos via the everygirl)

Pretty fabulous, right?

(As a total aside, as I was typing this post, Justin was playing around on my exercise ball.  I look over and he's attempting to balance himself completely on the ball.  I could see what was about to happen from a mile away . . . and you probably can too . . . of course, he started falling backwards (like slow-mo style) and fell on the floor.  Anyway, you just had to be here to witness the awesomeness of it, but I am still crying from laughing so hard.)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nursery Thoughts - Big Picture.

My thoughts for the nursery have evolved over the last 5+ months.  At first I was certain I wanted to do a dark navy nursery with accents of white, gold, and blush pink.  Something along these lines with dark moody walls . . .

Then one day I decided I really wanted a softer feel for the room.  Even though I still adore the look of a dark nursery, I thought as she grows up, maybe we can do something more dramatic, but she's a baby and maybe I should keep the nursery soft and light.  (And our bedroom, which I haven't shown on the blog, is Hale Navy so I hesitated having two dark navy rooms.)

So now I am thinking more along these lines, but I'm still liking the idea of gold, blush pink, and now light gray instead of navy as the main color (and possibly some navy in smaller doses).  

While the final color scheme is technically still up in the air, we've picked up a few of the bigger items for the nursery:

The glider (it's the West Elm Graham glider in dove gray):

The crib (the classic Jenny Lind crib in white).  This was really a no-brainer because both Justin and I slept in Jenny Lind cribs when we were babies.  Cue the awwwws.

The dresser/changing table (the Hemnes dresser from Ikea) with new hardware and

with anne overlays painted in gold:

Here's a sneak peek of the overlays painted gold (as well as a few other items too).  I think I may have a gold spray painting addiction!  

And Justin painted some test swatches on the wall this weekend.  Spoiler alert, we've picked the color (BM Shoreline), but it's not one of the swatches painted on the wall in this picture!  I'll do a more detailed post with all of the colors we tried since I think it's so helpful to see paint swatches next to each other.

So that's pretty much all of the big picture things.  It's so exciting to pull this room together.  Now on to all the fun details!  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy Birthday, Riley.

This weekend we got a bunch of things accomplished around the house.  We picked a paint color for the nursery, assembled the dresser in the nursery, revamped a vintage chandelier, reorganized my closet, and a bunch of other things (more on all of those things later).  But the most important thing we did was celebrate Riley's 9th birthday.

After our sweet Riley was so very sick last year on his birthday, I knew I wanted to make this year extra special since last year I wasn't so sure he would make it.  So he got tons of extra snuggles today, we went on a walk, and he (and Zoey) got to enjoy homemade doggie cupcakes.

Riley's cupcake eating style is to delicately lick the icing off first, then devour the entire cake portion in one bite.

And because they both were being extra photogenic this weekend, I can't resist sharing two more pictures of the two of them riding in the back of the car and sunning by the backdoor.

I am totally biased, but aren't they just heart-melters?  Hope you guys had a great weekend!  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Home Tour: Front of House.

On to the next part of our home tour.  In case you missed them, you can check out the changes we made in the formal living room and the powder room.  Today I wanted to show you the small changes we made outside to the front of the house.  The changes weren't major, but I'm really glad we made them.

Up first, we replaced the lighting.  The lights that were up in the front of the house weren't overly offensive (like other items in the house), but we didn't love them.  Here's what we were dealing with (since I was a bad blogger and failed to take before pictures of the front, this is actually the same light by our back door -- we didn't replace that one): 

So not horrible, but just not something we liked.  Instead of keep something we didn't love, we contacted Bevolo Lighting in New Orleans because we've always loved the look of their copper lights.  I sent them pictures of the front of our house, and they recommended a few style options for us and the appropriate sizes (at no charge).  I wish all house decisions were that easy!  

Per their recommendation, we got two of the French Quarter lights to go on either side of the front door.     

(As an aside, I really hate the sego palms on either side of the door.  They need to be removed, but we are just waiting to figure out what to put there instead.  Suggestions welcome!)  But back to the pretty lights . . .

Aren't they just gorgeous?  All of the lights are handmade in New Orleans, and Bevolo's attention to detail really shows.  

I also loved that they suggested we mix 2 styles of lights.  For the column on the other side of the garage, which you can barely see from this picture, they suggested the Williamsburg light.

During one of our recent trips to New Orleans, we swung by the Bevolo store in the French Quarter.  You can go to the back and see them actually making the lights.  How cool is that?  The lights in the picture are the raw cooper fixtures before they are oxidized.         

Replacing the lights really did spruce up the front of the house -- even our neighbors noticed them.  But we also decided to paint the door a high gloss black (it was previously a dark stained brown).  After getting a shiny coat of black paint, the door was just calling out for a lion's head knocker (purchased here).

So that's it for the changes to the front of the house.  Nothing major, but just a few key things that jazz up the curb appeal.


Monday, January 13, 2014

FAQs About My Pregnancy.

In case you missed the news, we're expecting a little girl in April.  It seem like I've been getting a lot of the same questions about my pregnancy, so I thought I would answer them here.  But first, here's a recent bump shot from about week ago (24 weeks):

1. How did you tell Justin? 

He was asleep when I took the pregnancy test. I woke him up and told him that I needed his help in reading the test (which I did because the line was super faint and I wanted to make sure I wasn't imagining it). Since I had to wake him up, he didn't really process what was going on and fell back asleep 2 seconds later.

So after about 5 minutes more of squinting and walking around to different lights by myself to see if the second line was really there, I decided to wake him up again -- this time with a different/more direct approach. I woke him up and said "I think I'm pregnant but I need you to confirm!" He got out of bed and looked at the test. He said "I do see a second line, but it's very faint, so I'm not sure." I told him that was all that was needed -- any line, dark or faint, meant I was pregnant. I was in shock.  

I'm not sure he 100% believed me about the line, so while he was letting out the dogs, I remembered I had a digital test. I took it and almost immediately, it popped up "positive." I took it out to him, and said "well I guess this resolves any question we had." I could see it click right away with him and he hugged me and we were both so thrilled. Then, in typical Justin-fashion, he said "why didn't you just start with the digital test!?"

PS: I could never be one of those women who figures out some super cute way to tell their husband.  There is no way in heck I could keep that kind of news to myself for any period of time!  

Also, I really should do a separate post on what an amazing husband he has been (well for the nearly 10 years we've been married), but also throughout my pregnancy.  He has taken such good care of me, always complimenting me on how I look, always talking to the baby, and giving my belly kisses.  Even before we got married, I knew he would be the best father.  And I have no doubt he will be.  My heart melts just thinking about him holding our little girl.

2. How did you tell your parents? 

We had them over for dinner and put the dogs in cute t-shirts from Etsy.

Our dogs are like our children, and we thought it would be cute to have them in on the fun.  My mom knew right away what was going on. It took Justin's parents a minute or two longer to process it all. Once everyone knew, there was lots of crying (happy tears) and squeals of excitement.  Our baby will be the first grandchild on both sides, so she's kind of a big deal with our parents.

3. Are you going back to work?

Thankfully, I get a very generous 18 weeks of paid leave. Assuming there are no surprises, my intent is to return to work once my leave is over. By way of background, I'm a seventh-year attorney at a large law firm. While my job can be demanding, high-stress, and unpredictable at times, I absolutely love it. And I also really enjoy the people I work with. It's always hard to know since I've never been in this position before, but I really think I would miss the work, the clients, being challenged (I know there will be challenges at home, but work challenges are totally different), the adult-interaction, and the suits (ok, not really the suits).

I also (knock on wood) think I will have some flexibility with my schedule and the ability to work from home, which will make the transition back to work easier.  Justin also gets every other Friday off, and I think that time will be so special for the 2 of them to bond (and to come take me to lunch!).  

4. Were you trying or was it an accident? 

For starters, that's an extremely personal question -- and one I would never ask anyone. I'm not sure if people had given up hope on us (see number 5) or thought we would never have kids because of my job (see number 3), but people seem to be very surprised at our news and this seems to be a very popular question. To answer it (without directly answering it), let me just say this -- we have been happily married for nearly 10 years and I am a huge planner. So I will let you draw your own conclusion.

5. You've been married for nearly 10 years, why did you wait so long? 

Frankly, it's a complicated answer. I think mainly because we were being selfish. We knew we could do what we wanted, travel whenever and wherever, have our own schedules, work and not feel guilty, etc. We were (and are) fully aware that all changes once there is a kid in the picture. We are still young-ish (I'm 31 and Justin's 32), so we didn't really feel the need to be in any rush. We love spending time together just the two of us, and weren't quite ready to give that up. We've been together for nearly 15 years, so I think that says a lot about our relationship and how much fun we have with each other and how much we enjoy each other's company. We knew we always wanted a family, and at some point, we realized we were ready to share our love with a child.

I also wanted to get established in my career. I've worked at the same law firm since I graduated. I wanted to come in and prove myself as someone who's smart and hardworking and earn the trust of the people I work with before having a baby. I think (and hope) after 7 years, people know that about me. My boss was amazing to me during my first trimester when I was so exhausted and sick, and I'm not sure it would have been as easy to ask about working from home/a lighter schedule until I felt better, if I was more junior. I'm sure I will be saying the same thing when I need some flexibility and understanding once I return from maternity leave.

This may come across as crass, but I spent too much money and hard work in law school to practice for a year or two and then have a baby. (Now that's not to say you can't be a successful attorney and mom, but it's hard -- and I wasn't willing to do either half-assed; and wasn't confident enough in myself to know I could excel at both). And to be clear, Justin was totally on board with that plan and never once pressured me to deviate from it. That was our plan all along.  I have an amazing husband who is super supportive of me and my career and I am so thankful everyday for him.

So to round this out, we realized there was never going to be a perfect time for us to have a baby -- there would always be some excuse -- but at some point we just knew we both were ready (and thankfully, we were ready at the same time).  So here we are!  

I certainly don't want this blog to become all about my pregnancy (and it won't), but I do have some more thoughts on the above question and on feeling pressure to have a baby, which I may share in a different post if I can find a way to coherently put my thoughts together.

6. And on a less personal note . . . What food have you been craving?

Fruit (especially mangoes), Greek yogurt, Lucky Charms, smoothies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese sticks, and Amy's ice cream.

7. How are you decorating the nursery?  

We haven't quite decided.  We have the dresser, glider, and crib, but it's all of the details that we are still sorting out.  I'm excited to share with you in a separate post what we are thinking.  

Alright, is there anything else you're just busting at the seams to know?  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Big News for the New Year.

Happy 2014!  We have some big news to share . . . 

Justin and I are having a baby!  Our baby girl is due in April!    

We are super excited (and a little scared too).  I'm thrilled to be well into my second trimester now.  I was not sad to leave the utter exhaustion and morning all-day sickness of my first trimester behind.  We've been busy researching all of the baby things we need (or what we think we need).  We've also had fun discussing the plans for the nursery.  I'll be sharing some of our thoughts on the nursery (and the current state of things).

We are really looking forward to our growing family this new year!  

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year.

So 2013 hasn't been the best year for me and blogging, but it has been a great year otherwise.  We are settled in our new home and are so pleased with how things have turned out (check out the powder room and formal living room).  This past year, we battled Riley's health issues for the first several months, but are thrilled he is back to his old sweet, snuggling, silly self.  And last but not least, Justin recently started a new job.  He wasn't looking to leave his old job, but a recruiter contacted him about an offer he couldn't refuse.  Although his new longer commute is no fun, he loves the new place.  I'm so proud of him for being such a baller!         

I hope you have had a wonderful 2013.  I'm looking forward to an even better 2014!  

(photo: lilyandval on etsy)

Happy New Year!  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Winter Beauty Faves.

Living in Texas hardly qualifies me to speak on harsh winters, but it's been cold down here (at least for this Texas girl).  My skin is used to the 100% humidity we normally have, so when it's cold and dry this time of year, I need some extra hydration.  I find myself reaching for these 6 products on the reg during the winter:

1.  Avene moisture mask:  I don't know why, but sometimes I just like the idea of using a mask.  I can get some redness on my face (and the winter certainly makes it worse), and this moisture mask always soothes and calms down my skin.  It has a light smell to it, which is delightful (and I'm sensitive to smells).  It's not greasy at all, and most of the time, I don't even wipe it off.  I highly recommend this.      

2.  Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse dry oil:  I picked a bottle of this up our last trip to Paris and am so glad I did.  It's a light oil you mist on.  I love using it right after I shave my legs.  It absorbs so quickly and has a nice scent.  It also leaves a nice sheen, but doesn't feel greasy at all.  I actually use this during the summer too since it's so light, while still moisturizing.  You can also use it in your hair or as a bath oil.

3.  La Mer moisturizing cream:  I use this every morning under my eyes year round, but find myself applying it all over my face during the winter.  It really is one of the few things that makes my dry flaky skin disappear.  It's expensive, but a small jar lasts forever.    

4.  Jack Black lip balm:  I'm a lip balm addict.  I have tubes of this in all my bags, all around the house, and in my desk at work.  This isn't going to give you any shine, but it's the most hydrating lip balm I've ever tried.  I put it on every night before bed, and when I wake up, I can feel that it's still on and working.  I've made the mistake of applying other lip balms at night and always wake up with dry lips.  Bonus:  it comes in tons of awesome "flavors."  I haven't tried one I didn't love.

5.  Trader Joe's lotion:  The first time I tried this, I used some of my friend's when we were out in California.  (Hi, Lauren!)  This body lotion is rich, but not overly heavy.  I like how it doesn't have a scent to it.  And it contains aloe, which helps soothe any irritated dry patches.  The best part about it is the price -- it's dirt cheap!  I would have to stock up when we were out in Cali since we didn't have a TJ's, but now that we have one, I can buy it whenever I need it!

6.  Sugar lip tint:  I told you I'm a lip balm junkie.  This lip balm is the perfect combination of moisturizing while also providing some color.  It's not at all sticky and just makes your lips feel soft.  This is my go to at work -- it sits on my desk and I apply it throughout the day.  It's great because I don't need a mirror when I put it on, but it provides a little color.  I like the plum tint, but there's a bunch of others (and a clear) that are also awesome.

Anything I should add to my must-try list?  And in case you need an idea, either of the lip balms would make the perfect stocking-stuffer!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Guest Bathrooms - Initial Thoughts.

We've decided to go ahead and bite the bullet and redo our upstairs bathrooms.  One of them is off the guest room, and the other is a jack-and-jill bath between two other bedrooms.  Neither one of them is totally offensive, but they certainly lack any style.  It also really bothers Justin that they used wall tile on the floor.  I likely would have never noticed, but I could see how someone could go slipping and sliding on them, if they weren't careful.

Since they are secondary bathrooms, I really want to keep the look neutral and timeless (and budget-friendly).  Based on the images I've been pinning, it's obvious I have a strong preference -- I am heavily leaning towards mostly white bathrooms bathed (no pun intended) in white subway tile.

I can't decide whether or not I like the look of the tile on the ceiling -- I've been waffling.  I do for sure like the look of the dark grout on the floor.

Bringing in a few hints of black could help break up the white.  I like the simple thin black trim in the shower here.  I'm not a huge fan of the dark fixtures -- seems a touch heavy for me, but some polished nickel would do the trick.

This bathroom still has the subway tile, but I am digging the dark floor and dark gray vanity.  (Maybe we do something like this in the guest bathroom; and something more along the lines of the others in the jack-and-jill?)

This shower a great way to keep an all white tile space interesting -- use different sizes of tile with some well-placed trim pieces.  I am really loving this look (and the fixture is fabulous too).

Speaking of fabulous fixtures, this bathroom is amazing.  White, black and brass -- yes, please!  Of course, our guest showers aren't that luxurious, but maybe we could do something similar.  I absolutely love this look.

We were supposed to go check out various tile options this past weekend, but poor Justin ended up with a stomach virus Friday night (complete with a trip to the ER for IV fluids).  We first thought it was food poisoning, but it was definitely a stomach virus because I caught it Sunday night.  I also ended up with my own trip to the ER.  Thankfully, Justin and I are both on the mend.  
But back to the guest bathrooms . . . Part of me thinks I should branch out from the white subway tiles since it's in our master shower and our kitchen backsplash, but it works so darn well.  I hate to mix up what I already know I like.  What do you think?