Saturday, December 31, 2016

goodbye 2016

Hi Everyone! Well here it is... the last post of 2016. I miraculously managed to out-do myself this year by writing one more post than I did last last year, so that in itself is a triumph! I just wanted to stop in and tell you that while I am very grateful for the many blessings that this year has brought us, 2016 has me jaded, and I am ready for this year to be over! I know that I'm not alone when I say that a fresh, new start is definitely needed.

But before we close the chapter on 2016, I would like to recap my holiday with you guys. Because we can't just let pretty pictures go to waste, now can we? How about that Christmas tree this year? I just used the slim line tree in the living room and called it a day! No stressing like last year. Sweet and simple.


I kept it inexpensive with old ribbon, paper balls from paper shop ( I just closed them with tiny bulldog clips and stuck them on the tree) and tiny vases of fresh flowers from a Kroger Manager's special bouquet.


But whoa, before I get too carried away, let's back up a bit and tell you about Thanksgiving! This Thanksgiving was the first one where I prepared all of the food myself. Brandon and I decided that we just wanted a low-key holiday with just the two of us, and you know what... it as wonderful! I cooked, we ate, then slept and it was amazing. Preparing Thanksgiving dinner is definitely a labor of love, and this year I definitely gained more respect for my mommy after having to do it all on my own.


Gosh, leftovers much? I'll definitely be cooking a little less next time. :)



As for the decor, I just switched up the mantle from our initial fall refresh, which basically involved changing the banner and adding an extra little something.




This year we tried a Thankful tree, which may have to become a Cook household tradition. It was really special, and I was glad that I could get Brandon involved. I picked up the tree for $3 in Bullseye's Playground at Target, where you can usually find all the great, cheap seasonal stuff!




In December, I made a few tweaks to the mantle with another Target banner, and our stockings.

For Christmas Brandon and I had another nice low-key holiday. This year I can definitely say that it wasn't about the gifts (which truly lets me know that we ARE in fact growing up). It was more about relaxing and spending great quality time with one another. My sister stopped by which was a treat, and I was craving baked spaghetti, so that's what I whipped up for dinner.



Chips also got a little festive with the sweater that her Grandma got her. It was big, but she definitely didn't mind that it covered her like a blanket.




Anyhoo, tonight we're bringing in the new year unlike ever before - with a wedding. Our dear friends are jumping the broom tonight, so I'm excited that I'll get to celebrate with our "framily". This is also the very first year in almost 30 years of life that I have ever had the chance to get dressed up and party for New Year's Eve so... I'm pumped!

I hope that all of you have a safe, warm, and wonderful evening while welcoming in the new year, and let's get this grind together for 2017! See you on the other side!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

fall refresh

Happy Fall, Everyone! It seems as though every design blogger's favorite season is finally here! (Well, my favorite season is actually summer, but I can get down with Fall because it pretty much still feels like summer here in Georgia.) While browsing the Arhaus website, I became particularly inspired to add a few touches of Fall to my decor. Today I am sharing how I prepared my space for Fall, and how surprisingly easy it was do so! If it's not your first rodeo here on chic little me, you know that I am no stranger to color. Honestly my commitment to color is much more indicative of Spring and Summer, but I could never neutralize my home to accommodate seasonal decor! Instead, I came up with 3 easy ways to incorporate Fall decor into my home without sacrificing my personal style. 


How to integrate Fall decor in 3 easy steps...

Step #1 Add Mixed Metals




Silver, copper, and brass not only go with just about any decor, they also add a little luxe to any space. Not only are they totally appropriate for Fall, they'll also translate well into Winter, and blend with any holiday decorations that we add in another month or so.





I've been in love with the idea of a studded pumpkin since last year, and I'm so glad that I finally pulled the trigger. It's so sassy! I paired it with a clipping from the tree outside our of dining room window. I decided not to add water to the vase so that the leaves will eventually start to change to those pretty colors that we all love!




For my dining table I decided to keep it simple and go with an asymmetrical arrangement using mirrors that I already had on hand and a copper candle. Admittedly we hardly ever eat there. Sadly we're eat-in-front-of-the-TV and collect-miscellaneous-mail-and-packages-on-the-dining-table sort of people.




But it is pretty cool to think that we might use it sometime when we don't have guests. Actually, this is the time of year when the dining table will start getting more visitors. Cards Against Humanity, anyone? :)




Step #2 Add Whimsy




I've never been one to purchase seasonal decorations (outside of Christmas) for fear of feeling a little cheesy. But one of the coolest things about owning your own home is being able to decorate it for the changing seasons, and experimenting whenever the mood strikes. This year I decided that I could at least give it a try. I managed to stay on a small budget (about $30) and attempted to add a few touches without it feeling too Halloween-ish. I started with a very cute, inexpensive pennant banner to hang on the fireplace. It also has gold edges, which reinforces the previous 'mixed metals' category. I appreciate that it's subtle, but also adds a little flair to an already very vibrant vignette.




Speaking of vignette, I also added a few new pieces to the mantle. I saw this adorable sparrow skeleton and I just couldn't resist. I paired him with a little cream pumpkin, and now he looks pretty happy in his new place of honor. 




On the TV console I switched out a few of my accessories for fall-inspired ones.




Each side got a small touch of whimsy without too much commitment.




Here I took a simple collection of vases and filled them with a variety of pumpkins. Caesar looks pleased. 




I also couldn't resist this lizard. His long tail just sold me! I also added a cute, little ceramic pumpkin for balance and good measure.




My glass skeleton head is normally somewhere close by year-round, but right now he looks like he has just a little more purpose.





My decanter collection is a constant work in progress. It seems as though the more I accessories I add to it, the busier it gets, so I'm trying to show restraint. In case you were wondering, There are 20 shown here. I've already tried pairing them down. Now I'm afraid that I've hit my limit. I'm currently on the lookout for a better display solution though. But I'll save my ideas for another post. :)




Here I added a touch of orange, more clippings from the yard, and a baby pumpkin.





The claw had to come home with me! It might actually move all over the house next month depending on how mischievous I feel.


Step # 3 Add Warmth




When I think about colder weather I immediately want to cover up! That's why I made sure to have blankets that are easily accessible when I'm lounging and watching TV. I like to keep one on the ottoman, as well as one the arm of the sofa just in case I feel a draft. I don't change my pillow covers too often, but when I do, I always make sure that I coordinate them with the perfect throw.





This time of  year, the sofa becomes your second home, am I right? With all the new Fall TV shows, and the chilly weather, I like to craft a cocoon on the so cozy that my feet never have to hit the floor! 




Sheepskins are also a nice touch. Not only do they add character and personality to a piece of furniture, you can also cuddle up with them. Oh, and Chip's favorite thing in the world is being underneath a blanket or sheepskin. See how she's plotting her next move?




Oh, and there's the matter of adding a little something special to the floor.




We recently added a cowhide to the entry. We pretty much decided on this type of floor covering for three reasons. One, it protects the floor from further scratches. Chips gets really excited when we let her out of her crate, and she accidentally scratches everything in her path on the way to the door. Two, the space opens up in a such a way that a regular square, or rectangular rug just didn't do anything for the space. It's quite amazing though, because the rug fits perfectly within a 1/16" of the base boards, so I guess we picked the right cow! Three, it warms up the space and makes the entry feel a little less naked, which is exactly what you want during the end of the year when you have the most visitors!


So that's it folks, that's how I refreshed our place for fall. Are you adding or subtracting anything from your decor during this time of year? Do you follow a mixed metals + whimsy + warmth strategy in your home, or have you developed your own method?  Let me know! 

Friday, September 16, 2016

light it up

Lately I've been seriously considering the addition of a plug-in sconce to our bedroom lighting ensemble. While we have two nice lamps on either side, it would be wonderful to add additional reading lights over the bed. Actually I've been dreaming about particular sconces since we stayed at the (now deceased) Viceroy hotel in Miami a few years ago. The room had a gorgeous bed flanked with large lamps on either side, but it also had thin, modern LED lights that peeked from behind the bed frame. See if you can spot them in the photo below.




With that inspiration in mind, I started thinking about how I could have the same look, but of course in a more affordable version. Sconces next to the bed have been rather trendy lately, but the cost can be pretty expensive. So while I was on the hunt, I decided to go ahead and pull together a round-up of my favorite plug-in sconces. Why plug-in? Well I like flexibility. What if I get tired of the solution and want to try something else? Or what if we decide to get a new (or larger) bed? Plus, having to get sconces installed permanently is such a drag, possibly cost-prohibitive, and not very renter friendly for those of you who don't currently own your place of residence. Anyhoo, here's what I came up with.





1. beaker / 2. zinc ethan / 3. Inez / 4. globe clear / 5. arstid / 6. brass nook / 7. eyeball / 8. globe cage / 9. ranarp / 10. crosby / 11. tived / 12. glass globe / 13. accordian / 14. logan / 15. alang

And People, don't forget your cord management! It is so important unless you have a sexy fabric- covered cord like #9. To make sure a cord stays on the straight and narrow, I like to use this adhesive paintable cord cover. And just in case you were still wondering, I'm totally digging #11 for our space. Most of these options can hold their own (without the addition of a lamp) but we've decided to keep our lamps because well... they're pretty. And I'm not a huge fan of overhead lighting (unless it's fabulous) but in our case a ceiling fan in the bedroom is a non-negotiable. Also, just for reference, here's a photo of our bedroom situation (it's an old photo, but we've only hung art over the bed since then.)



And a quick sketch of an idea never hurt anyone!




I can't wait to get the lights installed! And don't worry, I'll definitely let you know how it goes! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

staircase collage

Last Sunday I was feeling rather ambitious, so I decided it would be a good day to attempt a wall collage. I have been collecting thrifty art for some time, and I thought that it might be a good idea to finally see what I could do with it. Numbers 1,4, and 5 came from Goodwill. Numbers 5, and 7 came from the Habit for Humanity Restore. The chairs were acquired about two weeks ago, and they are by Maria Mayr. The bottom piece on the right is a Judy Paul print, which is the only one that I did not acquire while thrifting. I LOVE second-hand art. You wouldn't believe how many good, original pieces of art that get donated on a daily basis! 



To get started, I arranged all of the pieces on the floor in my studio to get an idea of what I wanted the composition to look like. Since they were all relatively different sizes, I decided that the common denominator would be the spacing between them (I went for about 1 1/2"), and the continuous horizontal line running between the top and bottom row. 



When I was happy with my layout, I propped the top row of art up in our stairwell where I wanted to hang them. I did my best to get the spacing correct on the ends. I tried not to obsess to much over it though. Like I said earlier, that Sunday I was feeling quite ambitious and figured, "If I make a few extra holes in the wall, it won't be the end of the world". Turns out a did make a few more nail holes than I originally intended. Three to be exact! Of course they are being covered, so it all worked out fine, and more importantly, and no one died! Which is a big step for me! I would've hated for Brandon to have arrange my early funeral on account of a collage wall gone wrong. Below is the first row all hung up! It took me about 15 minutes. 


And here's the whole thing up! 



And if you have an eagle eye, you'll notice that I also added a little baby piece of art on the far left in the top row. It's a 'nanner'! This teeny-tiny piece worked out the spacing issue that I ran into when I hung the first row and realized that there were about two inches left over than what I originally intended. I just embraced it, and worked it out. Besides, who doesn't love 'nanners'? It was painted by Mr. Lovenstein himself!  



Also, this provocative pose is one of the most amazing pieces that I own. That girl is working it! 



Here's the view that greets you from the bottom of the staircase. 



Here's the one from top. 


And the hallway above has this view to offer. I love it. :)


I feel so accomplished, and it adds so much to a home that has so many blank walls. At first I was discouraged by the fact that it had taken me so long to hang art, but now I'm glad that I waited for the right pieces and found a the perfect spot to showcase them together. My friend once told me that owning a home is a marathon, not a sprint, and I try remind myself of this weekly so that I can stay motivated. Just find one piece at a time. Don't rush it. Everything will eventually come together. Anyhoo, not too bad for a lazy Sunday afternoon, huh?

Monday, August 29, 2016

happy entry

The entry space of your home should not only be functional, but also serve to give a small glimpse of your personality - a small preview of what your guests might be able to expect from the rest of your home. I decided to pack ours full of personality and color because hey - that's just who we are. We're fun, happy and chic people! So definitely don't expect to see an entry like this anywhere else. 


Of course I decided to work with our orange Malm occasional table! I'm still in love with it, and it sets the expection for color as soon as you walk in the door. I paired it with a Times Square canvas print that I got from Ross years ago. I like that some of the brush strokes are raised so that it looks a little less mass-produced. I scored the adjustable lamps from Target for $24 a piece, and the Jens Risom-esque stools were about $10 each. Right now, one is holding our old school Apple speaker that is hooked up to the record player, and the other holds our very tiny record collection. Eventually I know that this will have to change, but for right now it works. The small stool holding the crazy stack of books is from an oldie but goodie from IKEA. 


The Crosley record player was an Amazon Christmas gift from Brandon last year. I was so charmed by the choice of color that he made, and when I inquired how chose, he simply replied with, "That's the color that was on your wish list." Oh, Baby. You know me so well...


The "Vinyl" print is from Urban Outfitters several years ago. Hipsters are so funny! I saved the vases off of a clearance end cap at Target, of course! 


I actually had the pleasure of spending three amazing weeks in Las Vegas for a build-up this past spring, so I figured why not put the pictures out? To tell the truth, I'm really not a "photos around the house" kind of person, maybe because I don't find myself particually photogenic, but these were too fun not to have out. I may get some frames for them, but right now they're just really casual, and I like that. Something also tells me that because they are a weird size, the frames might be too large to use here. We'll see. Look at how cute we are though! 


Here's my mommy and sis, along with the double-sided Taboo card that my husband made to propose to me on Christmas Eve almost 8 years ago. The corks are just a few of hundreds that we've collected since we've been married. The cork holder was a Christmas gift one year from my sister. I recently had a friend's son ask me why I was collecting corks, and why I didn't just throw them away. I was shocked by the inquisition, but responded in the most grown-up way I could think of which was, "I just really like the way they look". Which was my sly way of saying I just like to hoard things.


The record bowl was a Goodwill find. But more importantly, notice how you don't see the cord from the lamp on the right extending underneath the line of the console table? Both lamps are actually plugged in.


I just used sticky back cord holders to adhere the cord to the back of the table. I often feel like this is a detail that many designers skip, so I'm cluing you in on this important little step. You don't have to unplug your lamps to take pictures, just take time to do some cord management. I swear it makes all the difference! You can probably tell from the previous photo that the cords all drop down behind our speaker. When I install plug adapter to handle all four pieces, I plan to intall a cord cover for the speaker and record player, and maybe do some cool cord management with cord tacks against the wall for the lamps since the fabric covered cords are so pretty. :)  


Here are the lamps adjusted up just a bit. On the other side, you'll still find a stack of artwork. For this side I would like to incorporate new shoe storage, a few hooks for coats and bags, as well as our cool art, and perhaps a mirror. Clearly I still have a lot of work to do! 


If you remember this post, you know that I was looking into relocating my decanter collection. I did find another place for the decanters, but because there are well over 20 of them (what can I say, when I collect, I go all in) I still haven't quite styled the space out yet, but know that they're doing just fine. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that the saturated decanters live next to our catwalk. 



The others made their way into the living room next to our second staircase. I'm going to try and style it out sometime in the next week or so. I'm thinking it needs some lighting, some books, maybe a plant or two and above some art, a mirror, or some combination of those things. I've seen endless inspiration of bar carts on Pinterest, but you know what? Very few people have decanter collections. I've seen many bar carts (or bar cart equivalent) with simply two to three decanters, a set or two of drink glasses, bar tools, and lots of extra "pretty stuff". I plan to take my time and make sure this display it doesn't look too busy. I mean, the decanters are the stars, and I don't want anything else to steal the show. Ya' know?




Ok folks, I think that's all for now. Thanks so much for visiting. You could surfing billions of other websites right now, but you chose to spend a few minutes of your day with me. You're so sweet. Thanks! :)