Month: January 2017

Is it Already Time for Another Holiday?

I’m not gonna lie.  This was the week from hell!  All 4 of us got the stomach bug at the beginning of the week.  It took us a few days to recover.  The only good thing that came of it was that none of us could eat so I didn’t feel guilty about not cooking at all for a few days.  Literally, all we we could do was lay around, watch T.V. and nap – would have been heaven if we didn’t feel so crappy.  We are all finally back to normal though it’s still tough for me to eat much.  As if the bug wasn’t enough, I got hit with a cold yesterday!   I cannot wait for this week to be over!

With all that said, I have been getting in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and seeing some really cool ideas out there!  I was trying to think of something fun and special to do for my family for dinner/dessert and one of my favorite bloggers, Driven by Decor, just posted the cutest idea – fondue!  We bought a fondue maker a long long time ago and the kids loved to use it.  It’s one of those things I forget to pull out every so often so when I read her post I knew it would be perfect!  I also love the heart-shaped bowls that Kris found at Homegoods.  Such a cute detail.  I see strawberries, pound cake, and marshmallows in my future:)

Image Source:  Driven by Decor

On one of my many many Target sprees I found these cute place mats for $3 each!:

And these cute straws:

I had to give our cocoa bar a little update too:)

We are lucky enough that our local farm Smyth’s Trinity Farm in Enfield, CT makes delicious strawberry milk so I will have some of that on hand.  I saw these milk ice cubes from A Subtle Revery and just about died!  These are made with regular milk, a little bit of food coloring, and a heart ice cube tray (I have seen trays everywhere!).  As they melt they make the regular milk turn pink.  So simple and so cute!

Image Source:  A Subtle Revelry

I LOVE this idea for special sugar cookies from Kelsey’s Kitchen and found cookie stamps on Amazon.  This will be a fun thing to have when the kids come home from school.  I also wanted to mention, if you are concerned about dyes in your kids’ food, I am loving these natural dyes I found on amazon.

I saw this cute idea for the days leading up to Valentine’s Day from Skip to my Lou.  She calls it a Valentine Heart Attack which is so clever!  You can start this anytime, but the idea is to start February 1st to the 14th and add a new heart to your child’s bedroom door (or wherever you choose to do it!).  Simple and sweet.  I think the kids will really love this.

Image Source:  Skip to my Lou

For all the incredible cupids out there, I have to mention how in love I am with Farmgirl Flowers.  Skip the grocery store bouquets and opt for the natural, freshly picked from-the-farm look of Farmgirl Flowers!  They have even created a “hint” card to leave out for your sweetie with a 15% pre order discount through 1/28.  How cute is that???

Image Source:  Farmgirl Flowers

Image Source:  @farmgirlflowers on Facebook

I hope you all stay healthy this season and this stomach bug avoids your families.  It is a doozie.  We were spared last year so maybe this was payback?  Have a wonderful weekend!




Favorite Dark Paint Colors

One of the big trends this year is a focus on dark, moody paint colors.  This is one of my favorite design choices!  I love me a deep dark wall or room!    Deciding what color to use can be a challenge and my biggest piece of advice is always get a small sample of paint (a quart is sometimes what you will have to buy) and paint a few areas to see if you like it.  A bold paint color is a bit more risky in that it is harder to paint over someday if you change your mind – not impossible but just a little more work.

When you are deciding on a color, take into account the room itself.  How do you want to feel in the room OR what feeling are you trying to invoke from others?  One rule to follow when painting with a dark color is it almost always makes a space feel smaller or more cozy.  It also makes a space feel dramatic.  Some examples of great spaces to use a dark color are:  a powder room, an office, a more formal space or even just an accent wall in a bedroom.  Choosing to put a bold color on some cabinets is also a win in my book! These are just some examples of tried and true options, but a moody color can really be used anywhere.  I like using bold colors in smaller spaces or on an accent wall because I have an itty bitty problem of constantly changing my mind and this way it’s only a small space to paint over.  I also suggest picking 1-2 areas in your home to go bold in.  It can be overwhelming if every room has a bold dark color.  Contrast is our friend in good design.  Mixing light rooms with a 1-2 darker ones is the design jackpot!

Here are some of my favorite colors to go bold with!  I happen to love Benjamin Moore paint due to it’s quality, price and accessibility but almost every line of paint has something similar to these.

In general, I love blue paint.  It’s classic and rich.  It makes me think of New England, the ocean and the preppy look which is just so crisp.  I love dark navy, grey navy, pretty much any navy.  The blue paint below happens to be Brittania Blue and it has some gray and slight green undertones.  It’s definitely not a true navy.  For a truer Navy,  I also love Hale Navy and have used that in my son’s nursery 10 years ago!

Brittania Blue:

Hale Navy:

side note:  a Pottery Barn Kids nursery was my go-to back then!  I still love that preppy look with dark blue walls and stripes!

These cabinets!  Oh these cabinets!  What a dreamy kitchen.  I love this neutral space with the pop of Hale Navy island cabs and can I mention the brass fixtures???  Stunning!

Image Source:  House of Jade Interiors

The white built-ins in this office perfectly off set the darker Hale Navy surrounding walls.  This combo is perfection!

Image Source:  Studio McGee

Image Source:  Studio McGee

This year I am really excited about all the green I’m seeing in interiors!  I love placing green plants in a home because it really brings the design to a whole other level.  It brings nature in and makes the spaces kind of interchangeable.  So bringing a emerald-like green to the walls has me really excited!  It’s a nice change from all the blue!

I love how The Faux Martha paired the green wall with modern leather chairs and a colorful antique rug!  The perfect combination!

Source:  The Faux Martha

Studio McGee just nails these colors EVERY TIME!  I love this mixture of blue, green, gold and natural elements!

Source:  Studio McGee

What a pretty tile for a kitchen back splash or a shower stall.

Source:  Fireclay Tile

This hexagon tile is gorgeous with the raw wood floating shelf, neutral cabs and countertop!

Source:  Kate Arends Wit & Delight

I hope this post inspires you to go bold in your own designs at home!  Have a wonderful weekend!



Exterior Inspiration – My Top 5 Tips for Curb Appeal

New England weather is so fascinating.  Last week our temps were hovering around 10 degrees, we had a snowstorm and now the last few days have been in the 50’s!  All the snow has melted so I took the opportunity to put away the outdoor Christmas decor.  I couldn’t help but notice just how many home imperfections stand out this time of year!  Maybe it’s because there is no greenery or color to distract the eye?  Or maybe with all the brown drab colors out there, it makes any paint color really stand out?

Whether you begin to plan some spring changes to your home or you are getting it ready for the real estate market, it’s a good idea to spruce up your exterior.  I said this last week, but I love this time of year for planning.  Since not much can actually be done at this time, now is the time for the leg work.  Get those paint quotes!  Get any outdoor construction quotes.  Plan your landscape or entry ideas and price them out if possible.

To help with some exterior inspiration, here are my top 5 tips for creating standout curb appeal!

By Minneapolis General Contractors Sicora Design/Build via The Creativity Exchange

#1.  Paint:  I can’t stress enough how much impact a simple thing such as paint can make.  Exterior painting is a bit more challenging than indoor so it’s best to consult your local paint store or consider hiring a painter.  The existing paint needs to be really clean and any spots that are peeling need to be scraped, sanded and primed.  Also, the air temperature and weather play a role as well.  Even sprucing up trim alone can make a huge difference!  Don’t forget to paint the front door and garage door while you are at it.  This is the most important thing you can do for your home’s curb appeal!

by Anne Thornton Interiors

#2.  Entryway:  The front door is SO important.  This should have a fresh coat of paint.  If it’s in really bad shape look into replacing it with something really charming.  Check your front steps and be sure they are safe.  Assess if they could use a sprucing.  Sometimes all it takes is a fresh coat of sealant or concrete to make them look new again.  You can also get fancier and “cap” concrete with stone.  Another simple, inexpensive addition is a welcome mat to warm up all the hard edges out there.  Here is one that I love from Target.  It’s large and costs only $22 right now!  Flanking the steps or front door with planters is also a great idea and makes the entryway so inviting.

Project from Pioneer Construction

#3.  Landscaping:  This is another favorite of mine as far as big impact.  Swapping out overgrown shrubs for more appropriate-sized plantings is always a win.  Or simply planting shrubs where there were none creates impact.  Take into consideration how much sun is available, the different seasons, colors and blooms as well as height and size.  Local nurseries are wonderful at helping out with this.  Some charge a small fee for a design plan and usually waive the fee if you buy the plants from them.

Photo by Paper White Homes

#4.  Lighting:   This can be a pricey fix or totally budget-friendly.  It really depends on your style.  However, I will say there are so many sites out there that have great lighting – it’s worth it to do some leg-work here.  You can find similar lighting on sites like Wayfair and Joss & Main for a fraction of what lighting stores charge.  However, one caveat is sometimes these lights may not hold up quite as long.  Depending on the climate and location, it can be best to spend more to purchase better materials that will hold up to extreme temperature, salt water, snow/ice etc or prepare to replace inexpensive lighting every few years.

by Etsy Shop WoodDesigners

#5.  Exterior accessories:  Take the time to spruce up or replace things like flags, mailboxes, house numbers and even basketball hoops/nets.  Some of these items may just need a bit of spray paint.  Items such as house numbers can be replaced inexpensively.  You can even consider a pretty handmade plaque like this from Etsy.  It’s a simple way to add some charm to the exterior.

There you have it!  If you are planning on listing your home for sale this spring, these tips are a MUST to get buyers in the front door!  Otherwise, take this opportunity to plan out some changes you may want to make when the weather breaks.

Have a great weekend!

xo Sarah



Is It Time for a 2017 Refresh?

As I’m packing away my holiday decor, I can’t help but love the feeling of a blank space.  It’s this time of year (maybe from my corporate retail days), that I think spring.  I know, it’s crazy!  But with a new year, I think of new beginnings, new goals, and new hope.  And that leads me to spring.  You will start to see retailers hold their clearance events and begin to set their floors with spring merchandise.  At this time of year, I like to keep decor to a minimum.  Keep it simple.  Sometimes, you need to let your eyes rest a bit especially after all of the sensory overload of Christmas and holiday decor.

I love the simplicity of this fireplace and mantel display from Love of Homes.  And the crisp white is perfect for January!

I also love this simple shelf styling from Magnolia Market/HGTV Fixer Upper.  You can swap out the books for more personal treasures, but keeping the palette simple feels so fresh.

January is a great planning month.  This is a good time to assess what home projects might be tackled this year, plan your garden, flower beds, or outdoor needs so that when the weather breaks, you are ready to go.  As for the interior, January is a great month to purge your home (and the dreaded closets!).  As the hosting and entertaining winds down, it’s also the perfect time to splurge for a deep clean of your home including shampooing carpets, upholstery etc.  Or if you have the time, perform it yourself to save money.     Take some time to assess how you are utilizing your spaces.  Could there be a better way to use them?  Could a space need a piece of furniture to help your goals or is it time to sell or donate something?

Here is a great idea from Always Chasing Life for a hall closet that just isn’t working as well as it could be.  Convert it!  Here is a blog with some instructions if you have a single closet.

If you are planning a garden or some landscaping – it’s a great idea to look for inspiration now and save the ideas to bring to your local farm/plant nursery when the weather breaks.

I have big dreams for creating a little fairy garden in the spring somewhere for my sweet, fairy-loving gal.  She is really into them and I just know she will be all grown up in the blink of an eye so this spring is a great time to tackle that fun project.  Check out this post from HGTV.  It is just the sweetest!

Winter could go on a few months longer and surely we will get a few snowstorms, but there’s no reason we can’t plan for spring and there’s no reason it can’t feel like a clean new space inside 🙂



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