A Quick Update

Last month I had an extra day off of work and decided to use it to get some things done around the house.  I’m pretty sure I was a domestic goddess.  In the midst of my cleaning, cooking, and laundry, I took notice of a bookshelf in our living room that just kept bothering me.  It simply looked a mess.  But, I wasn’t sure what I could do with it.  Books were neatly arranged on it, but every time my eye wandered over to it, everything just felt amiss.

I wish I had a “before” picture to show you.  Unfortunately, I still haven’t caught on to the need to take such photos.  So, I’ll just have to ask you to trust me on this one.  Anyway, while I was cleaning, I found myself standing in front of the bookshelf and wondering what to do.  And then it hit me.  I had already pinned some inspiration a while back.

I’ve actually got a pinterest board dedicated to my obsession for books – but that’s a post for a whole other day.

So, with my inspiration photo in mind, I got to work. I removed all the books from the shelf and grouped them by color.  I started with basic color groups like black, blue, green, red, yellow, white, etc.  I pretty much started with primary colors.

After I had these main groups organized, I pulled out sub-groups if any emerged.  For instance, in the yellow group, I felt like there were enough beiges and golds that were quite different from the yellow.  So, those colors got their own group.

Finally, I re-shelved the books, according to color, starting with the darkest colors on the bottom and worked my way up to the top.  What I have now, is a bookshelf organized by color but much more pleasing to view.  (This would be a really great moment for a “from this to this” photo.  Argh!)  Check it out:

The completed bookshelf.  Much more pleasing to the eye.

The completed bookshelf. Much more pleasing to the eye.

A close-up of the shelf.  Now, I'm looking for a great piece of art, dominated by light colors to hang on the wall just above it.

A close-up of the shelf. Now, I’m looking for a great piece of art, dominated by light colors to hang on the wall just above it.

I think one of my favorite things about this is that during college I used to work at a bookstore.  On more that one occasion, a customer would come into the store and become infuriated with the staff when we couldn’t help them find a book based on its color. The conversation would go something like this:

Customer: “I’m looking for a book.”
Me: “Great!  What’s it called?”
Customer: “I don’t know, but it has a blue cover.”
Me: “Uh.  Okay.  Who is the author.”
Customer: “I don’t know, but it has a blue cover.”
Me: “Uh. Er. Um. Do you know what it’s about?”
Customer: “A girl. It has a blue cover.  Don’t you know the book?”
Me: “We don’t organize the books by color.”
Customer: “Is there a manager?”

If only that customer could see me now!

What do you think?  Any quick updates or quick fIxes you’ve made lately?


I’m a Bargain Bride

It’s true.  And I’ve got the receipts to prove it.

This month marks the nine-months-to-go-until-the-big-day countdown.  Hooray!  With the wedding date approaching, Darrin and I took some time during our Christmas vacation to complete some planning duties.  One such duty (she said doodie…heehee) was purchasing lighting for our reception site.  Enter the bargain bride.

We budgeted $100 for lighting (not counting candles).  So, the day after Christmas I arrived at my neighborhood Target at 7:00 a.m.  Mind you, I am not a serious shopper and I usually avoid major sales/shopping events (as described here).  But, I was motivated by a greater desire to stay on budget.  Once inside the store, I grabbed a basket and made a beeline for the holiday decor section.  But, to my dismay, there were no lights to be found.  Nooooooo!

I texted an update to my mom and sister, two awesome ladies who agreed to fight the crowds and help me search for lights, and headed off to another Target.  In the mean time, my mom also found empty shelves at two different Targets.  I was starting to feel anxious and worried that we wouldn’t find lights anywhere.  Why-oh-why didn’t I buy them before Christmas when I had the chance?

I arrived at another Target and once again grabbed a basket and rushed off to the back corner of the store where the holiday decor was stowed away.  To my delight, the shelves were stocked with lights galore.  Jackpot!  With only a hand basket in tow, I was able to maneuver easily through the throngs of people to view and select the lights I wanted.  It was when I slipped between two people to gain better access to some shelves that I overheard a woman comment to her friend, “She’s a bargain shopper.”

I thought to myself, “Nope.  I’m a bargain bride.”  And I went right back to my intent analysis of lights – comparing lengths, number of bulbs per strand, bulb brightness, etc.  Eventually, my basket was overflowing and it was time to check-out.  The lights were 50% off.  I spent $78.72 but walked away with over $150 worth of lights!  And, did you notice I came in under budget?  Plus, when the wedding’s over, Darrin and I will have lights for our house.

After I made my purchase, I called my mom and sister off the hunt and let them know that I went ahead and spent my budget at one store given the fact that we’d had bad luck at three previous stores.  My mom, being the generous lady she is,  purchased some more lights for us as a gift anyway.  So, we’re definitely set on lights.

With all this talk on lights, you’re probably wondering what the heck we’re going to do with them.  Well, we’re definitely going to use them to light up the perimeter of our reception site, but there are some other ideas floating around as possibilities.  I found these sources of inspiration on (you guessed it) Pinterest.  What do you think?

While these lights are larger, I love the warm feel of this circus tent-style draping. It creates a beautiful focal point in the outdoor setting.

Photo by Jimena Roquero.

This waterfall effect created with tulle and white lights would be a great way to hide or cordon off areas of the reception site.

The mix of white lights and jars would echo my plan for table centerpieces (candles in jars) nicely.

While recreating a scene like this is not likely, I am inspired by the warmth of this setting.

What I find appealing about white lights is how they can add warmth and a festive feeling all at once.  Additionally, I feel like white lights have a magical quality about them, transporting me to a starry place, safe within the confines of the light.

Now we just have to figure out exactly how we’ll hang all the lights I scored (and received – thanks Mom!) during my bargain hunting.

What about you?  Do you have any great bargains you want to brag about?  What about tips for bargain brides?

You Got No Vision

This week, Darrin and I will hit the “1-year to go” mark for our wedding.  With the big day getting closer, it’s time to start narrowing down some of our ideas.  For a while now, I’ve been flipping through magazines and websites and taking note of things I like.  What has resulted is a mis-matched-hodge-podge-convoluted collection of ideas ranging from rustic to refined and from vintage to modern.  In order for us to move forward with planning, we need to settle on some sort of general vision or sense of style.

Last Saturday, we were invited to dinner at my sister’s house (aka the reception site) and at the suggestion of my brother-in-law, we arrived around the time of day that we think the reception will start so we could check out the lighting, shade, etc.  I took out Mighty Max (yes, I do carry him everywhere) to show the family two videos that Darrin and I have narrowed down as a major source of inspiration.  The videographers – Shark Pig – are unreal.  It would be amazing to have them on hand for our big day, but they are way out of our price range.  These videos are sick.  Sometimes, I’m just leveled by the talent out there in the world.   Watch both videos.

So, here’s what Darrin and I love about this wedding.  This is what we shared with my sis and bro at dinner the other night.

  • We love the sense of intimacy, and (this is from an outsiders perspective) that it felt like a festive celebration amongst close family and friends
  • We love that it felt like a party, a celebration!  I mean, c’mon – they whipped out a storm-trooper helmet.  Shouldn’t weddings be about celebrating the love?
  • We like the elements of DIY/personal touches – the colorful poms hanging from the trees, and the little hearts on the straws in the drinks.
  • We like the vintage feel – the clothes, the shiny backdrop and decorations that remind us of a retro prom night, and the music used in the films.

While we don’t plan to duplicate this wedding, the elements listed above are helping to shape our vision or sense of style.  I’m pretty sure my sister and her husband understand the vision.  After watching the videos, the four of us went to the backyard, with little Ricky (my 3-year old nephew) riding around on his toy tractor, and started to plan out where to put the tables, the dance floor, where guests would enter the yard, how we would hang lighting, etc.  My sister’s and brother’s enthusiasm was sweet and thoughtful.

Things are definitely moving along.  Having a better understanding of what we want the day to look and feel like will certainly help with making decisions from here on out.

What about you?  Have you had to stop a project mid-way to go back and adjust or recapture the vision?  Or what’s your vision for a new project or new path?  Do share!

I Got the Blues…and Greens…

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know my post titles need work.  I’m sure improvements will come with time.  Of course that’s assuming that some of my inherent cheesiness will dissipate with time.  We’ll see.

Blue has been my favorite color since I was a very young girl.  I love many shades of blue, too.  I don’t know if I can attribute this love to any one thing – maybe it’s how the color reminds me of my dad’s eyes (as well as my grandpa’s, and now my nephew’s and my fiance’s); or maybe it’s how so many shades of blue are played out in different bodies of water whether it be the ocean, a lake, or a swimming pool – I love them all; or maybe it’s how when I look at something that is blue I instantly feel a state of calm.  Regardless, I love the color.

Darrin’s favorite color is green.  And though he likes blue, he takes issue with certain shades.  For instance, navy blue is out of the question for him.

As you can tell from this kitchen cabinet makeover, we’ve already started merging our two favorite colors.  So, it’s no surprise that we’ve settled on the two colors for inspiration for our wedding pallette.  If you’re keeping tally folks, we’ve actually made another official decision (but still no date).

So, now the matter at hand is settling on the shade of blue and green to go with.  Here are some photos I’ve been storing on my Pinterest page and mulling over as possible inspiration.

Exhibit A:

Vibrant shades of blue and green pop out from unlikely (and likely) sources – but not always together.  A blue door left me drooling at the site, and a green peeking-petticoat (one of my favorite new customs) had me ready to switch sides on the blue/green fence.

Forget the wedding! We've got two front doors and they both need this color. Stat! Stat means now!

That green knocks me for a loop and makes me question my blue allegiance.

Exhibit B:

Deeper tones of blue and green from a real-life wedding and a painting found on Etsy.com definitely feel right for a fall wedding.  Plus how awesome does that grey suit look?  Darrin would murder that suit!

These deeper tones are perfect for a fall wedding.

The blues and greens in this painting go so well together. A foreshadowing of the future to come?

Exhibit C:

For our final look at color inspiration today, we turn to nature.  A bouquet of peacock feathers and a grassy cliff overlooking the ocean prove that blue and green are a match made in heaven.

Blue and green co-exist happily in nature.


Blues and greens near the ocean offer tons of inspiration.

So what do you think?  How did you pick the colors for your wedding?  Or if you’re not married, are there any color combinations you’ve seen that you’re crazy about?

Like what you see?  Click on each photograph to get to its original source (or at least as close to its original source as I could take you).



32 and Counting…

Recently, I celebrated my 32nd birthday.  I love birthdays.  People tell me this will change as I get older.  But so far, I still love birthdays.  Throughout my childhood, my mom always made birthdays special.  The day would start with birthday pancakes, the sticky sweet stack topped off with one solitary candle.  The rest of the day involved the birthday girl (I’m one of three daughters) getting to make all the decisions – like choosing what to eat for lunch and dinner, what movies to rent, what flavor of ice cream cake to buy, etc.  It was a day dedicated to the birthday girl.  And even when it was one of my sister’s birthdays, it was still a fun day.  I quickly learned that celebrating others could be just as enjoyable as celebrating oneself.

In honor of my 32nd year, I decided to get a little more personal on this post and share with you 32 things I’m thankful for, can’t live without, love, adore, and simply think are frickin’ cool.  Please note that the following list is random and the placement of an item on the list does not indicate its value in my life.

32 Things I’m Thankful For/Can’t Live Without/Love/Adore/Simply Think Are Frickin’ Cool

  1. My Wish List at Amazon – This thing allows me to “shop” without going over budget.  I’m able to save things for later and go back and purchase them when I’m ready.  It’s also a handy tool at Christmas time.  I simply share the link, et voila, my family members have full access to a list of things I want.  Even if they choose not to buy something from the list, at least it provides them with some inspiration.
  2. The greatest invention: the shower
  3. My fiance, Darrin, and his ever expanding ability to love me.
  4. The young man in this photo and the clever way in which he twisted hate into humor.
  5. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – Pinterest!  This site is just awesome.  There is so much creativity and beauty out there in the world and people share it on this site.  How can you resist?
  6. These two words uttered together: “Auntie Missy”
  7. Mint ice cream
  8. The way my in-laws-to-be have welcomed me with open arms
  9. These boys (Rocket & Jet):
  10. My Dad’s humor.
  11. My Mom’s hugs.
  12. My job.
  13. My big sisters.  
  14. Easy Street Wheat Beer (Why-oh-why won’t O’Dell distribute in CA? Insert whiny voice here.)
  15. Another great invention: The DVR.   So I can record my shows (brace yourselves people, I watch a lot of t.v.) such as: Modern Family, Raising Hope, Glee, Community, Parks & Recreation, The Office, The Soup, Top Chef, Supernatural, Being Human, Royal Pains, Psych, Fairly Legal, Covert Affairs, Suits…I think that’s enough for now.
  16. My friends!!
  17. Harry Potter.  Thank you, J.K. Rowling for such a beautiful series.  I loved the books and will continue to revisit them for the rest of my life.  My mom took me to see the final movie for my birthday and we loved it.  I even cried.  I couldn’t help it; before I knew it, tears were leaking from eyes.  It was just so emotional – the end of an era with characters that I absolutely adore.
  18. Drunk History.  These are hysterical and this one’s my favorite: 
  19. The Richter Center Ambassadors.  I work with these students on a daily basis and they are AMAZING!  When I am depressed by the news of the day just thinking of these students lifts my spirits.  They are young people who are gifted, bright, creative, and are deeply committed to making their community a better place through volunteerism and service.  One day, these students will be leaders in our communities and that fact alone gives me great hope for our future.
  20. Friday night pizza & t.v. with Darrin.
  21. Music.
  22. The fact that Denver will always feel like a second home (especially as long as my BFF Heather is there).
  23. Rock Band (2, 3, and Beatles)
  24. Our home.  It certainly needs a ton of TLC, but it’s ours, it’s definitely unique, and we love it.

    Our home, just after Darrin got the keys. Check out those pink doors.

  25. The fact that I’m a short car ride (2.5 hours or so) from the ocean.
  26. The interwebs (as Darrin likes to call it).  There is so much creativity and beauty out there.  And I’m just a huge nerd at heart.  Through the internet, I’m able to keep learning day-in and day-out.
  27. Photobooks.  I seriously love how I can now dump my favorite photos into a program, pay a fee, and a week or so later I receive a beautiful, professional looking book.
  28. The genius and gift of this young woman: 
  29. Sandwiches
  30. My iPhone and my game apps
  31. Life (as in the gift of, not the game of)
  32. Netflix (though I’m not in love with the recent price hike)
So that’s it.  I’m sure there are things I’ve left off this list.  But, they’ll just have to wait until next year.
What about you?  What are you especially thankful for/excited about/love right now that you want to share?

Favorite Pitstops

Today, I thought I’d take some time to highlight a few of my favorite “pitstops” on the information superhighway (is anyone calling it that anymore?).  These are places I like to go for information, inspiration, and to gather ideas for our home and our future wedding.  I’m all for giving credit where credit is due and sharing things that I think are great.  Today is a chance to do just that.

Stop #1: Young House Love

I cannot say enough how much I love this site.  Darrin has taken to rolling his eyes when I start a sentence with “Today, on Young House Love…”  or “Sherry, from Young House Love says…”  Seriously though, this site rocks.  I first stumbled onto the page highlighting their DIY wedding.  It was simple, budget-friendly, and beautiful!

A gorgeous backyard DIY reception setting created for themselves by the Petersiks of Young House Love.

After a short time of following the YHL blog, however, I quickly discovered that this was a couple with a great sense of style, working within a realistic budget, and willing to share tons of tips with the public.  What a pair!  The Projects page alone is a great resource.  And I’m constantly inspired by their House Crashes and shopping trips.

Sherry at YHL was turned on by this lantern at Home Goods for only $17. She's helped me to see how I can incorporate pops of color in my own home with decorative and inexpensive items like this.

Stop #2: Grey Likes Weddings

Grey Likes Weddings is a recent addition to my regular stops, having added this one after I got engaged and started actively thinking about planning a wedding.  Grey is actually a stylist named Summer Watkins and Grey Likes Weddings is her beautifully curated blog with an eye for an artful take on love.  One of my favorite sections of her blog highlights Real Weddings.  I am head over heels in love with this “Big Sur Indie Love” wedding.  I don’t even know this couple, but the unique details, intimate setting, and great photography make me feel like I was there.

Love the dress. Love the candles. Love the piano. Love how it all feels right for this couple. Thanks to Grey Likes Weddings for showing how a couple can really let their personal style shine through at their wedding.

Stop #3: Andrew & Jessica Photographers

I’ve been visiting my third stop for quite a few years.  Andrew and Jessica are wedding photographers in Denver, CO.  In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I have a personal bias towards them.  Jessica is the sister of my very best friend, Heather.  However, one look at their amazing photography will prove that the reason why I keep going back to their blog extends far beyond loyalty to a friend.  What I love about Andrew’s and Jessica’s work is that they love what they do and it shows.  They really take the time to get to know their couples and thusly are able to capture intimate (and dare I say magical) moments.  I also love Jessica’s obsession with shoes, which ensures that the rest of us get a regular dose of shoe porn.  Finally, I like to regularly stop by Andrew and Jessica’s blog to be reminded that photographs can be beautiful, that they don’t have to be static, and that weddings are all about the love – as is evident from the pictures they take.

At a recent wedding shot by Andrew and Jessica, the bride and groom sent out invitations on paper made from wildflower seeds. Guests could plant the invitations and wait for the flowers to bloom. What a great idea! I love how Jessica and Andrew pick up on these details and share them with the rest of us.

Stop #4: Catalog Living

The last stop I’ll share today is a quick one and a favorite when I’m in the mood for a laugh.  Of course, I found out about this one on YHL (pause for dramatic eye-roll from Darrin).  Ever look at pictures of staged homes in catalogues and magazines and wonder who could possibly live there?  Molly Erdman, a comedian, writer, and actress, has answered the question for us.  The result is a sarcastic and satirical skewering of some of the more outrageous and over the top home decorating models.

So that’s about it for today.  I’d love to hear about any websites or blogs you visit that you’d like to share.  Are there any that you have to check regularly?  Which ones can you simply not live without?

Photos found at Young House Love, Grey Likes Weddings, and Andrew and Jessica Photographers.

Letters! We Get Letters!

I don’t know if it’s the whole “living with a graphics guy” thing or if I’m reverting back to my Sesame Street days.  But, lately I am in love with letters.  I’m specifically referring to individual letters of the alphabet, as opposed to a letter that one writes and sends through the mail (though I love those, too).  I love seeing the different type/font – whatever you want to call it (I’m sure there’s a technical term that Darrin will school me on later).  And I’m seeing letters all over the place.  As I mentioned in this recent post, I even added letters to our engagement open house invitations.  Here’s a very short tour around the web of some of my favorite letters.

Industrial Stencil Letters from Urban Outfitters. Only $8.

Urban Outfitters has a number of really cool looking letters right now.  Including this one, and this one.  And all for pretty reasonable prices.

This gem found at Little Bits of Lovely.

I love the simplicity of this large letter and the way it offsets the artwork.  The color also really pops off the wall.

Ideas from Better Homes and Gardens.

This is a great example of incorporating different fonts and types into one space in a simple, yet elegant way.  I like how they’re leaning over on one another, too – like they’re just resting or taking a little nap.  It’s a perfect pose for the letters “N” or “Z”.

This creative headboard found at ModHomeEc.

I love the boldness of this installment.  It would be fun to pick letters and numbers that had special meaning – the initials of family members or anniversary dates – and incorporate them into the design.

Using letters in a child's room from Design Sponge.

For all the moms and dads out there, here’s an example of a fun way to use letters in the kid’s room.  You can start teaching the alphabet while bringing some bright colors and cool shapes into the space.  I love that the “O” is a mirror.

Finally, here’s a teaser of the first letters we’re bringing into our home.  We ordered them from Urban Outfitters.  But, alas Darrin’s “H” is on backorder.  Whaddya think?

So, what about you?  Are any of you letter obsessed?  What other trends are you going crazy for at the moment?

Note: pictures found at Little Bits of Lovely, Better Homes and Gardens, ModHomeEc, Design Sponge, and Urban Outfitters.

“Thumbs Up, Everybody!”

Today’s inspiration comes from an unlikely source –  a very young child.  I’m guessing he’s not more than four years old.  I found this video by way of last Friday’s Someecards weekly round-up.

I love this kid.  What enthusiasm!  What a message!  When I’m overwhelmed by the amount of work we have to do on our house, or I come home after a full 8-hour work day and I don’t want to pick-up a paint brush, I need this kid around.

Thumbs-up, everybody!

Jump In the Line

This weekend, the Harry Belafonte song was my mantra, I was singing “Work, work, work Senora, work it all the time.”  You know the one, probably most familiar to my generation from the final scene in Beetlejuice (I heart Tim Burton).  “It sounds like Lydia got an A on the Math test.”  Anyone?

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I took the song out of context, but the beat was right and the words served as solid instruction as my muscles started to ache on day four of my painting escapades.  Later this month, Darrin and I are having an open house to celebrate our engagement (more on that event later), but first we’ve got much to do on the house – starting with a ton of painting projects.  Luckily, we had the help of some star painters in the form of my sister Jenn, and brother-in-law, Kevan.

My big sister Jenn lookin' cute with a roller.

Kevan rocking the ceiling work.

We decided to tackle the largest room first.  The challenge with this room is that there are two different ceiling levels, a big rock fireplace with rough edges, and a few “cut-outs” that require a lot of detail work.  It was also difficult to estimate how much paint we would need.  (Read, we ran out of paint mid project.)

But, we finished the project!  On time, even.  I’ll post more complete after-photos once we move some things back into place.

You’ll note that earlier I said that Msr. Belafonte’s song was helpful after 4 straight days of painting.  That’s because I started with a small project of painting some cross beams in our kitchen.  Here’s an in-progress glimpse of that project.

We went with a Behr's Mountain Ridge in high gloss for our cross beams.

For now, it’s time to concentrate on putting the big room back together and then we’re moving on to painting the remaining rooms on the ground floor prior to the party.  Good thing I’ve got some good dance music to keep me going.  “Jump in the line…..”

What about you?  What songs/music/artists keep you going when you’ve run out of steam?  We also relied on a mix from Pandora, the Walkmen, and some old Ricky Gervais podcasts for a few laughs.

My New Favorite Thing

Have you heard about Pinterest?  Maybe I’m late on this train.  But, I’m glad to say that I’m on board.  I love this site!  I could spend hours and hours (and I do) combing through it.  Everyday, I’m simply amazed by the ingenuity, creativity, beauty, and often hilarity out in the world when scrolling through the many different pins folks have posted to their boards.  Have I piqued your (dare I say it…yes, I think I will) pinterest?

Pinterest is a great website that serves as a type of personal online catalogue for all of the things you want to try to remember.  That dress you love, the rug you think would look nice in the living room, a delicious looking sandwich, a movie you’d like to see – the possibilities are only limited by your own imagination – can all be “pinned” to a board you’ve created on your personal Pinterest page.  Your pins are then arranged quite beautifully, in a perfectly curated installment of whatever tickles your fancy.

Some of my pins on Pinterest.

You can also check out what everyone else is pinning.  I must confess that I often feel guilty that I’m only “repinning” as oppose to contributing fresh content to the collective encyclopedia of creative ideas.  What’s great about each pin, however, is that it is tied to its original post in the interwebs so, in addition to seeing all this beautiful stuff on Pinterest, I’m also discovering all these great “new-to-me” websites and blogs.  After I gather enough of those in my repertoire of daily readings, perhaps I’ll have more original pins to contribute.

Of course I learned about Pinterest from my favorite young couple over at Young House Love.  If you haven’t made it over to their blog, yet, stop reading now and go straight away.  You are missing out!  They inspire me daily.

What about you?  What websites, blogs, are you newly stumbling upon?  Which ones inspire you?