Life + Style

March 31, 2011

Texas home reveal

When Maggie, one of my readers contacted me last week regarding her living room before & after in a 1950's ranch I just knew I had to share with y'all.  
I'm a big fan of showcasing how smart design can be achieved on a budget.

Let's have a look at this precious family and their Texas home.

Hello Julia!! Thank you so much again for sharing our before and afters! Ever since I found your blog, I have been hooked. Your house is absolutely stunning!! My husband and I recently purchased a 1951 ranch in Texas that needed a lot of work. We knew it would require a lot of commitment, but we both love do-it-yourself projects and knew that we could tackle it on our own. The room that needed the most help was our living room, which looked more like an Italian restaurant than the cozy country cottage we were going for. 

Our goal was for the space to feel organic, like it had been collected over time. We have found that by purchasing only the things that we love, the space, in turn, feels more cozy than if we were to go to one store and buy a lot of coordinating items.

Here are some more tidbits about the makeover:
  • The wall color is Olympic “Toasted Almond” in flat and the color on the trim, built-ins, and fireplace is Olympic “Ultra White” in semi-gloss.

  • The decorations are from a variety of discounted home stores including TJ Max, HomeGoods, Tuesday Morning, Target, and even Walmart. We also found a lot of great things at resale and antique shops.
  • The curtains are actually painter’s drop-clothes from Lowe’s. We knew we wanted something light and airy, but also knew we didn’t want to spend a fortune since we needed 8 curtain panels. They fit perfect in the room, and the $9.99 price tag wasn’t too shabby either.
I also wanted to share my dated dining room makeover as a bonus:

It feels so fresh and inviting thanks to more affordable items and ideas.
– Maggie 

Please go visit Maggie's blog here to see much more of her home tour and read all about life with her husband and precious little boy.

Also, did I tell y'all I'm working with a client on my first e-design?

March 30, 2011

The life of a two year old

"What responsibilities?  
All he has to do is wake up and crap his pants"

So I'm starting a new thing where I post the highly inappropriate things that my friends or family members say.
They're entirely too entertaining, and true, to not disclose.
For the protection of everyone involved, and the chance those kiddos might be googled by Ivy League admissions counselors one day, I'll resist from calling any one out by name.
And now on to much more pressing matters
Dear friends,
I sincerely apologize for my run on sentences, over use of the ",", and under use of spell check.
I will probably continue to scrutinize you for poor spelling and grammar on facebook or where ever I see fit and then make those same mistakes myself here.
That, is, all.

March 29, 2011

China cabinet makeover

I promised I'd start revealing more of my house, even if it's not exactly the way I want it.
I thought I'd give you a little tease of my dining room and breakfast room in today's post
This china cabinet/hutch was the first piece of furniture Matthew and I purchased together.
Before we had a baby
Before we had a house
Before I had a ring
It was black and shiny and needed a facelift.
Back when deciding which new shoes to wear to the office was the biggest drain on my free time I somehow neglected to start this project.
And then I had a wedding to plan, house to renovate, and baby to feed (in subsequent order, of course) and it sat like a big ugly black hole in the corner of our dining room sending me dirty looks every time I walked past.

So a few weeks ago while I was knee deep in laundry and packing for our trip to Nashville all the while keeping BabyGirl entertained, I decided it was time.
Why do I always start projects at the most inappropriate times?

{After-first try}

 {Glamour shot}

I LOVE how it looks like a rustic piece straight from an old farmhouse.
I used to house all of my fine china in a similar arrangement, but after the transformation my everyday pattern, berry & thread by Juliska, seemed a more suitable fit.
I HATE how it still cut my dining room in half and ate up too much wall space.
I wasn't a fan of the store display look it was taking on.
I didn't love how the pale gray color was lost on the white wainscoting and clashed with the tidewater blue walls.
Add in the dark floors and it was just too much going on.
One too many blocks of color for my liking
So I moved it to the breakfast room
And fell in love.  
I'm loving the grey on grey action and the subtle pops of pink.
I like how my salad plates pop now too.
I plan to do something fun with the upside down u shape in the doors.  
Paint them or wallpaper perhaps? 
*I was too lazy to sand so I painted straight over top the black.  
I decided some nicks and scratches down the road will give it more character
*I already moved it out of the dining room and into the kitchen*
*I've changed the display three times in between the two after shots so there's no telling what it looks like by the time you read this post*


March 28, 2011

Theit Camera Bag

I really really really want this bag
I really want to win this bag for free here.


Graham 2 year old photoshoot & Nashville recap

 Fear not, BabyGirl definitely did not steal all the charm and good looks in the family.
In fact, I'm pretty sure her cousin Graham could teach her a thing or two.
I hate that I was too busy being lazy and drinking wine with whole foods take-out for most of my trip to take a lot of pictures of my sister Elizabeth and her sweet family.
I promise I will do better next time.
So let's chat about Nashville.
They have a HomeGoods and a WholeFoods and that had me at hello.
I wore cowboy boots and drank Budweiser out of the red bottles at Whiskey Kitchen.
I watched Love&OtherDrugs on my sisters
Anne Hathaway, if you ever try to act eccentric and sexy again I will call Miranda and demand you become her starbucks fashion slave once more.
I listened to local live music in some honky tonks.
I chopped all my hair off and devoured an entire stack of Glamour and Cosmo for the first time in years while my sister got her highlights touched up.
I'm thrilled with my short hair.  It doesn't look a thing like a mom-don't and now I can't believe I waited so long to liberate my hair from the perma-ponytail.
I painted the bottom half of my sister's sitting room tidewater blue and made no-sew curtains using the same fabric as my slipper chairs.  
Hello, half the internet said it was a great combo, so why mess with a good thing.
I rolled my eyeballs at the youth-challenged ladies at calico corner who acted snootier than a *theta during Rush when I casually mentioned that I'd be making the window treatments myself.
I'm a blogger biotch...'course I'm making my own curtains  
*I was a theta in college so I feel like if I make fun of myself and own kind then I won't hurt any of y'alls feelings.  
Bless your hearts.
More pictures of that nonsense to come.


March 25, 2011

Travel Essentials for Baby by Baby Shopaholic

So I thought we'd wrap up the week with one more guest post so I can concentrate on smooshing on my sweet child.  
This will involve lots of holding and cheek squeezing.
I'd post a picture of our little patient but truth be told, she's a hot mess.
{And she can't get wet for 72 more hours}
You'd think they'd have a clean up crew post-op to work on the patient not just the floor.
When I say the child is attached to my hip, I mean it.
I thought our little vacay would do BabyGirl some good but it seems to have backfired and she's even more of a momma's girl than she was before.  
I am trying to soak it all up and relish this time because I know the day will come that she will push me away.
But any advice on how to make BabyGirl a bit more Miss Independent would be helpful.
Although I decided to leave my sweet baby at home on this trip, I know many of these items are a must.  They're essentials that I stock my diaper bag with for even the quickest trip to walmart.
Thanks Trina for posting such a great list for us!

Hi, I'm Trina from the Baby Shopaholic and
I am so happy to be doing this guest post for Julia on this Fab
blog! I pray that her little one has a speedy

I write about shopping for my baby so I thought I would let you in on
our travel essentials.  I know my baby loves to look fabulous
rolling in the airport!

Diaper Clutch -  This little this is so handy and stylish! 
You can store up to 4 diapers, a small pack of wipes and disposable
changing pad in this clutch.  You can pull this out of the
diaper bag and run to the bath room or stick it in your purse, no
need to lug the whole diaper bag.  Loves it!

Formula Dispenser -  This little thing is off the hook!  You
can store up to 8 oz worth of formula in each compartment.  Just
add how much your baby drinks in each slot and when your ready just
turn the cap to the slot and dump in the bottle!

Old Makeup bag - Take one of your small makeup bags and store the
babies personal items in it.  I put meds, lotion, baby wash,
sanitizer, and a couple of bows in it : )

Blanket - It can get really cold on the plan so make sure you have one
for your little darling!

Pacifier Clip -  They say give your baby something to suck on
during the flight to help with ear popping.  So after my baby
spit hers out and it fell underneath the seat during a flight I had to
get one of these.

Cute Outfit - Dress your child in a cute but comfy outfit for the
trip.   You need something that doesn't have a lot of parts
and easy to change a diaper in.  Throw in a cute jacket and hair
bow and they are ready!

Fabulous Diaper Bag - Now stuff everything in a Fly bag and your baby
is ready to go!

Babies want to travel in style too!  I hope you enjoyed the Baby Shopaholic's
Travel Essentials!  Thanks again Julia for having me!

March 24, 2011

Not-so-quick Update

Hey friends!
I feel like I've been gone forever and we have so much to catch up on.
Sorry to keep you waiting on my fabulous trip to Nashville and fill you in on a tiny update {read this old post for a hint} but I'm busy taking care of the world's sweetest patient today.

Wow, yesterday was exhausting.
I'm ready for a drink. 
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all of your sweet words about our incredible BabyGirl.  Her surgery went well and we have the medical teams and staff at MUSC to thank for handling our baby with such care.  For those of y'all who are new followers, our BabyGirl was diagnosed with Craniosynostosis at birth and needed corrective surgery to allow her brain room to grow properly. 
You can read more about that here, here, and here.
I think it was tremendously harder emotionally this go around.  Which I wasn't expecting.
Last time I was so worried about her being put under anesthesia at her age and size, only 7 weeks and still under 10lbs.
But to be honest, I was an exhausted new mom and my concern for her came in the immediate.
What will make her stop crying? When did she last eat?  What time should she go down for a nap?  Is her diaper wet?  How much has she pooped today?  Is it time to feed her again?  How do I pee with a baby in my arms?  Will I ever sleep again?  Will I ever figure out what it is that she wants?
Worrying about her skull being cracked open seemed like the perfect time to make her well-being someone else's concern.  Even if just for a short time.  I know that sounds crazy, but I think some of y'all might know what I mean.
So this time, when they took us back to pre-op and she cried and cried and cried and looked at me like "wtf" I knew she wasn't just being a fussy newborn I knew she wanted her breakfast.  I finally know what my child needs, pretty much every time, and it broke my heart to withhold it from her.  Her surgery was pushed back an hour because another baby, in the NICU, needed our surgeon to save their child's life.  It felt wrong to begrudge another mother her child's life because it meant my child missed their breakfast, and now their nap as well.  How trite.  And yet, I couldn't explain that to my child.  She looked at me and did her spirit fingers over and over and over willing me to understand what she needed.  I felt so connected to her and it was so hard not to fix the situation for her.  It was her first lesson in knowing that her mother can't fix everything or give her everything she needs.  And it made me cry.
They had a hard time getting one of the springs out so her surgery took a little bit longer than expected.
This made the waiting room feel shakier than a turbulent flight.
I know now that things don't always work out well just because you will them to.
I know that just because someone is in God's hands, it doesn't mean that he leaves them here with us.
I know that only God decides who's he ready to call home.
My thoughts were full of these truths as we waited.
And that was new for me, I'm a positive person and don't let the uncertain fill my head.
But I did yesterday.
When they brought us back to the PACU I heard my baby wailing even before I could see her.  I stepped ahead of the nurse and followed that horrible sound behind the curtain to find my sweet BabyGirl jump from a nurses arms into mine and nestle her head in my shoulder.  She thrashed and wailed and moaned, at that point crying was an understatement, in my arms for quite a while as her nurse fumbled to push morphine into her IV.
Yet it was the best she's ever felt in my arms.
Even as her puffy sweaty self rolled medicinal ointment all over my shoulder and chest, and as she threw up all over herself and me, and cried sad little tears into my neck meeting my own tears that wouldn't stop coming down my face, it was the best I've ever been.
The saddest, yet the happiest.
She slept in her own crib last night.
In fact, she woke up happy and Matthew and I played by her side all morning until she was ready for her morning nap.
Which is why this post is late, but I'm sure y'all understand.
PS-I have about a billion emails to catch up on, so don't worry that's on my agenda for this weekend!

March 23, 2011

Traveling Essentials by Brown Eyed Belle

I'm so excited to have Julie from Brown Eyed Belle here with us today to share her packing essentials.
She just returned from an ultra-fabulous trip to NOLA for Mardi Gras and I'm certain she was the best dressed traveler on her flight.
She is just as sweet on the inside as she is on the outside.
She always provides beautiful images daily on her blog and I'm so excited to have her share some of her pretties with us here!

PS-BabyGirl has her FINAL surgery this morning at MUSC!
Please keep her in your prayers during her surgery and her recovery.
We'll be sure to give you an update on her condition as we know it!

(Photos via Pinterest)
When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.
-Susan Heller
Hello, everyone!
I'm Julie, author of Brown Eyed Belle, guest posting today for our darling Julia while she's away. When she emailed me about doing a travel post I was delighted! I just returned from a trip down to New Orleans a couple weeks ago so sorting, packing, and repacking was fresh on my mind!
I love taking a peek inside other people's bags, don't you?!
The luggage:
(I found this amazing DVF suitcase at TJ Maxx for $60. Pretty good find, huh?! It's the perfect size and has little compartments for separating all your travel necessities- a definite must-have!)
(Did I mention it's lined in hot pink and came with a great vinyl bag for toiletries?! I found the black cross body bag at TJ Maxx, as well and added a Coach scarf to jazz it up. I also never travel without a book and umbrella-that one just happens to be Lilly Pulitzer for LeSportSac and was gifted by my friend Trish.)
The necessities:
(I used to get nervous traveling and having to down-size, but I've managed to find some of my favorite products in little packages! Bath & Body Works' new scent 'Carried Away' is the perfect scent, in my opinion- paired with a spritz of Michael Kors perfume you're set. My makeup and hair routine stays about the same with a few extra bobby-pins thrown in!)
(A few more must-haves for traveling- slim wallet, Betsey Johnson sunnies, and a little Dior clutch given to me by my mom for toting around my compact mirror and lip color options.)
The clothes (inspired by my recent Nola trip):
(I wore this colorful maxi dress during our day lunching and browsing in the French Quarter. It was comfy, but pulled together. That day I had it paired with a belt and black cardigan, but I thought this pink cardi from Gap worked well too. I kept the jewelry pretty simple and added a pop of color with the red ring.)
(I think this is the perfect 'night out' frock-a little black dress and 'swingy' cardigan. You will usually always find me traveling with nude pumps- you can pair them with pretty much anything else in your suitcase for instant glam. And, of course, a simple black clutch is always a good idea to throw in!)
(All photos taken by me for this post)

(Images via Pinterest)

Thank you so much, Julia, for inviting me over today to visit with your readers and share this fun travel post!
I hope you'll visit me over at Brown Eyed Belle, sweeties! I'd love to have you!

March 22, 2011

Traveling Essentials by DesignerBags&DirtyDiapers

I'm so happy to have the ultra-stylish Natalie here today!
If the name of her blog, Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers doesn't lure you in then surely her fashionable picks will.
I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie for coffee and lunch a few times lately and I assure you this hot mama manages to look effortlessly chic even with a one year old.  
{I'm pretty sure my hair was already in tangles and half of my ill-attempt at morning make-up had already smeared off.  And let's not even talk about the spit-up stains that perpetually find my clothes within 10 minutes of wearing them}

Hello Blogger friends! I'm Natalie from Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers.

I am so flattered to be guest posting for Julia today. Her blog is one of my favorite daily reads. She always keeps me inspired and laughing! I have had the pleasure of hanging out with her in person a few times. She is just as gorgeous, funny and witty as she is on her blog. I only wish we lived in the same city, although 1.5 hours away is not bad. Enjoy your trip Julia and thanks for having me!
Today I am sharing my Travel Necessities.
Most importantly is a comfortable outfit, wheter you are driving or flying. I frequently like to travel in dresses because they are comfortable and look cute. You never know who you might run into on your travels! I prefer a cotton or jersey dress because it won't wrinkle as much while you are sitting down.

I would wear this Patterson J Kincaid Dress

or this ALC Dress

with these Loeffler Randall Sandals

They both are stylish yet comfortable. I also think they both could be dressed up with heels and fancy jewelry for an evening out, if you are limited on the amount of clothes you can pack.
A Few of My Other Traveling Necessities:
Louis Vuitton Speedy Duffel Bag
I take this bag whenever I go out of town. It is the perfect size for a weekend getaway.

My own Shampoo and Conditioner
I like to have all my own toiletries when traveling, especially my own Shampoo and Conditioner. Right now I am obsessed with the Moroccan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. They smell amazing and are in compact bottles, perfect for traveling.

I always pack these flipflops when I travel. You know hotel floors are gross, so when I want to take my shoes off, I slip these babies on. They are super comfortable for walking around too.

My Own Pillow
If I am not flying and driving to my location, I always pack my own pillow. This assures a better nights sleep.

Matt and I always pack our own wine when we travel. This saves so much money and allows us to enjoy a drink in our hotel room before we head out. My current favorite is Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay.

and most importantly, these Two Guys. I don't like to travel without my boys!

So, there you have it, my traveling essentials! 
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