Thursday, February 28, 2013

A little retail therapy without the guilt

We all spend money on things we probably shouldn’t, and these days sticking to the budget is even more important.  Next time you need a little retail therapy, consider getting your fix by doing shopping that gives back!  Shopping fair trade is one such way, but until recently when I thought “fair trade” images of scarves and pottery and lots of beaded jewelry come to mind.  Luckily, shopping fair trade can be chic!  Check out some goodies I found on

Can’t afford Robshaw?  This duvet set is the cost of just one John Robshaw sham and support an artist!

Colorful bangles are all the rage, but when you buy these you are also helping to fight poverty!

You can also find lots of yummy goods- coffee, chocolate, and wine!

this post brought to you by Traidcraft

Only the real thing? Or reproductions okay? Where do you stand

It's a hotly contested subject in most industries, especially fashion and design.  Is it okay to buy reproductions or "inspired by" pieces?  Or is it a no-no?

There are so many fabulous furniture designers that I love, Jacobsen, Saarinen, Knoll, and Gray.  The problem. Budget.  I'm don't yet have the savings that allow me to invest in an authentic piece.  Does this mean that my home should go without a piece that I love?

It is undeniable that designer furnishings, like a classic Chesterfield can make a HUGE impact on your space, even if it's just one piece.

via From The Right Bank

via Houzz

via HGTV

via One Kings Lane

I actually have one of these rocking chairs in white....
but I bought it a long time ago before I knew that it was an imitation of one of the most famous lounge chairs!  I still have it and still like it, but I know a lot of designers would cringe.

So, what are your thoughts?  

If you love a design that isn't accessible to with your budget, are you fine with having a reproduction?  

Do you buy authentic only or go without?

I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I think that until I decide I will try to find beautiful, well designed pieces in consignment and antique shops.  

this post in partnership with Vita Interiors

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A stunning barn for our wedding! My wedding date and venue revealed!

I am so excited to announce that Chris and I have selected a date and venue for our ceremony and reception!

We were originally shooting for a Fall 2013 wedding, but as everything we were interested in was already booked, we are now having our wedding on May 24, 2014 at the Mathwig Estate Event Barn in Thurmont, MD!

Here is the front of the barn:

via One17 Photography and Brittany Thomas Photography

The back:
via Michelle Zahn Photography

Pictures from past weddings:

via C&1 Photographers: Justin Mein

via One17 Photography and Brittany Thomas Photography

via C&1 Photographers: Justin Mein

The scenery is one of the reasons I fell in love with the barn!
via C&1 Photographers: Justin Mein

via C&1 Photographers: Justin Mein

via C&1 Photographers: Justin Mein

via One17 Photography and Brittany Thomas Photography

So beautiful!
via One17 Photography and Brittany Thomas Photography

Here are photos of the barn undecorated:

I have so many ideas for decorating the space!  I'll be blogging about them as I move through the planning process.  I already have a lot of pinterest boards set up to catalog my ideas.

Here are a couple of photos I took when I view the property in the fall

I am so excited to hear what you guys think - please comment! :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The complete kitchen

What Exactly Is It That Your Kitchen Lacks?  For me, it's ventilation, natural light, and counter space.  Since I rent however, there isn't too much I can to to fix these issues.  When your kitchen has everything it needs, it just works.  Cooking is a more streamlined process, and entertaining is more pleasurable than stressful.

A Table/Island If your kitchen is big enough to fit it in an island/breakfast bar is a great idea. By doing this you immediately turn it into a dining room and gathering place. Even if it is a relatively small surface you can still use the kitchen as a cosy place to have meals. I think it would be especially useful in the mornings when you are sitting the family down to breakfast and going over everyone's plans for the day. If you have enough room for something bigger then full scale parties and dinner parties become a very real possibility.

 via Pinterest via BHG


via BHG

More LightA common problem in many kitchens is a lack of light. This can lead to a horribly dark and old fashioned look, even if the rest of the room is perfectly acceptable. Luckily options abound when it comes to options for extra kitchen lighting, my favorite being pendants and under cabinet lights.
Not only functional, these pendants over the counter are STUNNING.
via Clerkship Scramble


FlowA danger is any kitchen is that it can feel cut off from the rest of the house. If you are still in the process of designing the place then arches, breakfast bars, French doors and conservatories are all clever ways to maintain the contact with other parts of the house. If the house is already finished then it might be more difficult to do this, but keeping the door open and encouraging more use of the kitchen can help it feel more a part of the home.  It sounds small, but I rent and have a galley kitchen, so to "open" it up, I keep the door open, and have a framed picture and open shelves in the kitchen that you can see from living room, thus visually inviting you into the kitchen.

The floor graphic in the kitchen is also in the dining room, creating a visual continuity which helps combine the otherwise separate areas.

Excellent lighting, a runner, and an intriguing graphic keep this kitchen from looking like an after thought and more like a well considered, frequently used space.

2 above via

Smart AppliancesA well equipped kitchen is a joy to work in or to eat in. It can be pricey to start from scratch, but if you already have great bones in the kitchen, a few finishing touches might be all you need. Thankfully, there are plenty of smart, inexpensive appliances and gadgets around from websites such as the popular Lakeland one. If you have all of the basic kitchen appliances already then maybe something exciting like a food processor, a juicer (I've been wanting one for a while!) or one from the modern range of coffee machines could give you the little extra something that you are looking for.

What is your kitchen missing?

This article is written in association with Lakeland home shopping pioneers.

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to live greener in the city or suburbs

I was born and raised a country girl, growing up on a 200-acre farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  I thought that eating veggies from the garden every summer, apples from our trees in the fall, and composting all of our organic matter was how everyone lived.  After living in NYC for a few years though, I realized how difficult it was to feel like one is living a green, sustainable lifestyle. 

City living definitely has aspects that are greener than country living, like being able to walk everywhere.  There are also more and more products coming out everyday to help you live a green city life.  There are bigger things you can do, like adding a beautiful and useful conservatory, where you can grow plants – veggies, herbs, and flowers.  Also keep in mind, many houseplants serve as great air purifiers, which is something you definitely need in the city. 

If your budget allows, a conservatory like the one above is like a little slice of heaven!  Warm and sunny, it a beautiful way to have an indoor garden.

...or you can start out small with a tabletop conservatory or terrarium.
via Gardenista

Terrariums are very popular now and there are tons of DIY instructions and pre-made options available.
via Urban Comfort

via Real Simple

Or, you can container garden, which is what Chris and I do in our condo when it's too cold to keep our plants on the balcony.  They serve as air purifies and decor!

If you have even a few extra square feet, you can keep a small compost container, and drop off your scraps somewhere that accepts them.  Some Whole Foods accept compost, or ask at your local farmers market if any of the farmers would be willing to take it off your hands.  You can also check out to search for composters in your area.

via Apartment Therapy

If you have a little extra space, google indoor worm composting, and you'll find a lot of great resources!

via Hooked on Houses

via Urban Eco Chic

Another big way to green your home is the windows.  My parents switched to energy efficient windows a few years ago and the difference is enormous.  There are certain parts of any house – in the city or in the country – that need to be looked after in order to avoid wasting a lot of energy. If you don’t have double-glazing windows at home then this is definitely one step in the right direction you could take.  This is best done by checking out the website of a big name company such as Anglian Home Improvements. If you take some time to look into it then you will see that there are a number of other jobs you can do about the place in order to make it more environmentally friendly. The good news is that by doing it right and choosing a style that suits the property then it can work equally well in the city or in a country home.  

What do you do to make your carbon footprint a little bit smaller?

The article is written in association with Anglian Home Improvements.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Living room love.

Just a little eye candy today for possible the most lived-in room in the house, the living room! This is where your lifestyle really dictates the arrangement of your space!

Like to have people over?  Multiple seating arrangements invite people to sit and chat.
via Sarah Gilbane

Like to snuggle?  These chairs would be great! Boyfriend would love it if we had recliner chairs, and I have to admit that they've come a long way since my grandfather's brown plaid velour recliner.  These twin seats pushed together look really cute, I think.  These days all major furniture stores, like  West Elm, have many options for putting together any sort of seating arrangement you'd like!

3 above via BHG

Lamps close to the sofa are a must for those who love to curl up with a good book!
via House Beautiful

This cozy and compact living room arrangement is great for movie night!
via Heart Home

What does your living room arrangement say about your lifestyle?

This post in partnership with

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Make it yours - bring your style into your home!

Most of us would probably like to be described as stylish, though not everyone has the same opinion of what is stylish.  All the same, here are some ways to bring out or attain your style in your home.

The Entertainer
 Some people earn the title of a stylish person by throwing unforgettable dinner parties, backyard soirees, etc. We’ve seen in movies or real-life examples how someone hosts guests in their amazingly stylish dining room with such grace, it’s impossible not to admire them.

When we break their skill down into separate elements, we realize their success lies in smart choice of their styling their home, wardrobe, music and conversation. It takes a talent to juggle all that successfully!

via Ariel Yve Design

via viage

It tends to be little details that make an event memorable, like berry and herb infused ice cubes for guests' glasses!

The Bold 

Brave use of bold color is a great way to make your stamp. Vibrant colors can detract from what might otherwise be considered a shabby (and not the good shabby) piece of furniture.  Painting a distressed chair or dresser in a bold shade is a great way to express your fabulous eye for color and your bold style!

via Accent on Design

An otherwise okay console table make stylish with coral paint. via Picklee

Likewise, if you don’t have the means to redecorate your home to look like it fell out of a fancy home decoration magazine, you can paint your walls with bold colors can make them fun, cheerful and attention-grabbing.

The Creative

Sometimes your creativity dictates how stylish you are. Consider yourself worldly, cultured, or a connoisseur of something? Why not decorate your home to reflect that fabulous brain? Your space, after all,  should reflect your personality and your imagination.

via Apartment Therapy

via Zar Studio

Create a gallery wall of your favorite paintings, or paintings you've seen in person.  Can't forget your trip to Morocco?  Bring Moroccan tile and woodwork into your're sure to get compliments!

The Modern Vintage

Since vintage has become fairly popular and trendy as of late, make sure that if it's your aesthetic, that you carefully edit your choices so your home doesn't look haphazard. Since a lot of people are decorating their homes in this way, maybe you want to to stand out as the expert "vintage" eye that you are.
via Glo

via Adore Home

Instead of having whole sets of vintage furniture, you can have one charming vintage detail to draw attention to itself. Check sites like Shop 4 Furniture for elegant furniture collection.

Feel good in your home

Remember that being stylish is not only about the appearances, but about feeling good in your own skin and your own home. There is no point in impressing others if you are not comfortable with what you have. You should decorate your home with what impresses you! There is nothing like returning home from work, to a warm place that is both beautiful and gives us a sense of belonging.

This post is in partnership with