Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Curtain Updates

In a follow-up to my recent post on my West Elm curtain purchase, below are photos of my new curtains, which I am loving!! I need to steam them to remove the lines from being packaged so please excuse the wrinkles!

Our great room: still a work in progress. This TV was my husband's first purchase when we bought our house back in March '09. We recently got this shelf put into the wall to hold the cable box, dvd player, and hide all of our wires. The room feels much more open without a table underneath the TV.
We have this lone window in the corner next to our TV.  
Another view of the shelf. We chose white molding around the box to match our white crown molding:
My pink dressing room with our new West Elm gray curtains. Next to the window is my floor length mirror purchased at HomeGoods. We cannot do floor length curtains in most parts of our house because of our baseboard heating (fire hazard).
I definitely recommend West Elm for curtains! 
These curtains were just $19 each per panel, for 63" length.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Look for Less at Walmart

I can't believe the variety of decorative pillows at Walmart, and how inexpensive they are. The pillows shown below range from $6 to $15 for each pillow. The website also gives customer reviews, and all of these received more than 4 stars.

I love the 2 purple pillows. They look much more expensive than their prices of $13-$15 (each) and could be used alone or in pairs. The cream & light blue pillow reminds me of a beach house ($10) & the multiple striped pillow would add color to any furniture ($6).

Of course, I love the zebra print pillow and the faux snakeskin would look cute on a chair by itself. The white & black one would look chic used as a pair with bedding. The reds would be a fun pop of color to any space, or mix with solid color pillows, such as plum or turquoise. The yellow printed pillow could be used on any solid color fabric for a summery update.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Luscious HomeGoods Finds

I found some luscious finds during a recent shopping trip to HomeGoods. Also, see my favorite purchase below for only $10. Look below to see my current loves:

This luscious aqua caught my eye immediately. Would go perfect with my white dinnerware. I love the color, and the seashell effect in the pattern. Also, great prices at $12.99-$19.99.
Can never have too many serving platters!
A different twist to your classic glassware. Use for water glasses, or for wine.
I love this pineapple tropical lamp. Reminds me of a Williams Sonoma Home find, and would definitely be much more expensive than $24.99!
My FAVORITE purchase! I could not believe I found this luscious Vera Wang Mirrored Frame at HomeGoods for $10!!! This frame is still being sold in stores for $70. I picked 1 up and put in a wedding picture. Lovin' it!!
Fun, summery sheet sets in a variety of colors by Tommy Bahama:
More fun patterns in dinnerware: paisley and a darker turquoise. Instead of buying a full set, buy a few mugs for morning coffee and start your morning off on a sunny note. Or, buy a few bowls to add to your existing collection. Bowls could also be used to store items in your office or bedroom, to hold spare change, etc.
Dessert stand to hold desserts, or fruit, cheese & crackers, etc. Be creative!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Inspiring Kitchens

Southern Living highlighted some of the most inspiring kitchen makeovers, and I chose my favorites to feature here. I like these kitchens because they are classic and can last a lifetime. Nothing crazy or out of the ordinary- classic kitchens that can last through generations. Remember, it is easy to update a kitchen with paint, new hardware, new appliances, but kitchen design is something you only want to do once. Check out some great styles below:

I love how this kitchen works with the space. It opens up to a eat-in kitchen area. I also love the different color cabinets. 
Love this shade of gray on the cabinets, instead of white, which we see so often. The same colored island brightens the space and works well with the hardwood floors. Love the pendant lamps, and of course, the blue appliances.
An open kitchen with an island, providing more storage. Again, I love the lighting:
I don't usually love this color wood in kitchens, but this works great, especially with the mixing of cabinet height. The island cabinets break up the color, and the light tiled floor brightens the space. A classic Tuscan kitchen!
Classic white kitchen. I love how the backsplash and countertops match the white palette. Unique cabinet design.
 I love the exposed brick in this kitchen!
In both kitchens below, I love the stone. It brings such a natural feeling to the space, but this one below brought in darker wood in the floor and chairs to match the beams on the ceiling:
There are so many elements to kitchen design. Don't forget about the floors, backsplash, countertops, lighting, cabinets, hardware. All of these are crucial in designing your kitchen!

HGTV has a great Kitchen feature on their website. It includes everything you need and want to know about designing your space- design tips, creative floor planning, and storage solutions. I definitely recommend it!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Luscious Pink & Aqua

I am loving these photos with the fuschia chairs and turquoise walls. I love the contrast of black & white and how the patterns are mixed (between the striped couch & zebra pillows). The glass coffee table disappears in the room, allowing the other pieces to make a statement. I am so inspired by the luscious pink chairs & aqua walls!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Fruitful Summer!

As you have probably read in my "About Me" section, I LOVE all things summer. That includes fresh fruit and smoothies! I go to our local farmer's market and buy fruit for cheap (blueberries 2 for $2 is so much better than paying $5 for 1 at Whole Foods). I stock up on those, plus strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. It is also so much healthier to snack on this stuff than mindlessly snacking on pretzels that don't even fill me up. See below for my favorite smoothie recipe:

Washing the fruit 1st is a must!
1 Chobani vanilla yogurt (I prefer this greek yogurt over the others with added sugar), 4-5 ice cubes, about 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (added fiber, & "good" fats):
Put all into the blender & make sure you have a blender blades that are strong enough to chop the ice!
Final result! I put in the fridge for about 20 minutes to get cold:
I do a taste test with my smoothies as I'm blending. I don't use exact amounts of fruit. I always use the entire container of yogurt, and as you are blending you can add more fruit if necessary. I can't taste the flaxseed, but I know it's a healthy bonus. I recommend being creative with yours and try new recipes. 

You can even pour these into Popsicle trays (supermarket, target, $1 store) and eat for a healthy dessert.

The joys of living a luscious life! Enjoy :)

Curtain Call, and Pillows, too!

I just ordered curtains from West Elm & can't wait to get them! My husband & I have had gift cards to Williams Sonoma & Pottery Barn from our engagement & wedding and I still haven't used them. I love that you can use a gift card at these stores at West Elm, as well.

The white curtains I plan to put in our great room. I also plan to add sheers underneath. I'm hoping the sheers plus these cotton panels will be enough. We have red velvet panels there now, but the sun can cause the color to fade. Plus, I want something light and fresh for summer. We have brown furniture and a big stone fireplace so with the white curtains, I will now have to decide what color for throw pillows (see below for my new inspiration). These curtains are a great price, ranging from $19-$34. 

I was watching Color Splash: Miami the other night and was inspired by the gray, turquoise, and lime green in the couple's Miami home. They had an open floor plan with the kitchen, dining room, and living room all 1 space. They had oddly placed windows, as well, but huge ceilings. David Bromstead put window panels from the top of the high windows to the floor. They were gorgeous gray panels! They also had a gray sectional and pops of turquoise and lime green pillows. Instead of their gray, we have different shades of brown, but the turquoise & green is very beachy and tropical, which I love!!

I ordered the same cotton panels in Steel for my pink dressing room, shown below:

I initially bought gray curtains from Walmart for $12/pair, but since I was just trying them out I, unfortunately, only bought 1 pair. I will never do that again and advise against it!! When I decided I loved the dark gray panels with the fuschia room they had sold out, and DISCONTINUED the window panels!! I even looked on Ebay, but did not find them.

Now, I have reason to finally use my gift cards. The West Elm curtains are definitely a better fabric and much nicer. I will post more pictures once received and hung. 

Speaking of throw pillows, has anyone ever been to a Steinmart? I love their pillow selection. They have such a variety and in a ton of colors. Check out some photos I took during my visit yesterday (to look for turquoise & lime green pillows). And, find a store near you here

I looked at the blue pillows on top, but they weren't the shade of turquoise I am looking for. The price was great though- 2 pillows for $15!
 Tons of ruffles, florals, patterns, etc!
"Rose" pillows, and lots of 'em! Definitely a statement pillow!
Want some sparkle? Steinmart has it all!
Loving this faux animal print in bronze. Very chic!
All at great prices, too! I didn't see a pillow exceed $30, and those were big floor pillows. And at these amazing prices you can buy some new summer pillows for a quick & easy update in your home. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Outdoor Party Tips

If you love to entertain during the summer look below for some of my party recommendations:

1. Umbrellas: not for rain, but for shade! Nothing like a hot sun, sunburn, and fatigue to put you more in the mood for a nap. Either use on a patio table or stake into the ground where people can sit underneath on the grass. Even better- place some outdoor pillows and cushions for comfort. If a patio umbrella isn't in your budget, be creative & use store a few regular umbrellas in a cute basket in case of a very hot day. A gazebo or canopy would be another option. For a DIY project, try building your own pergola here. Then, drape light fabric on top to provide shade.

2. Lighting: 
  • I recently purchased this votive holder that goes around the umbrella base on your patio table. I admired a friends and found one similar at Bed, Bath, & Beyond for $8 (with the coupon). Instead of traditional votives, use citronnella votives (found at many stores). 
  • Tiki torches (inexpensive ones can be purchased at Lowe's, Target, supermarkets, HomeGoods, Marshalls, etc). 
  • Place lanters around your outdoor space. Hanging paper lanterns are also a fun alternative, and can add color to your space. The colored ones shown below are from Pier 1 at a great price- set of 3, only $12.
  • I love using holiday white lights, or other lights on a string and draped around your outdoor space or around a tree/bush.

3. Coolers: to hold cold drinks (enough said). Also, use a small cooler to hold sunscreens over ice for those parties held during the day so no one gets torched by the sun.

4. Tip: keep food inside to prevent any bacteria infections and to keep the bugs away.

5. Trashcan/Recycling Bin: keep your space clean with a trashcan and/or recycling bin (plastic baskets or bins work well, too) for guests to throw away their empty cups/plates, etc, cans, or bottles. Check the $1 store, $5 and Below, Bed, Bath, & Beyond for inexpensive options.

6. Decor: either use festive decorations if celebrating a holiday, or fill a clear vase with:
  • stones or marbles surrounding a candle or floating candle in water
  • colored candles in clear taller vase
  • fresh flowers
  • stones or marbles with floating flowers (cut off stems)
  • candy (guests can eat them, too!)
  • Hang lei's around your space for a Hawaiian theme (a party store has a variety of decorations)
  • Stones, marbles can be purchased in a variety of colors at AC Moore or Michaels (use a coupon!). These stores also carry the clear "diamonds" for a luxe look. 
  • If using candles, I'd suggest using citronella to keep bugs away. 
7. Seating: whether you place blankets, pillows, cushions on the ground as mentioned above in lighting, or scatter chairs or benches around the area. Borrow extra chairs from family and friends, or rent locally (for a charge). Bean bags would be another fun option. Ensure enough seating for your guests.

8. Music/Games: Do you have an outdoor outlet for your iPod? Make sure you have a party playlist ready. Try Stereo Mood for creating a perfect party playlist depending on the "mood" of the party. Games, such as Table Topics can get the conversations going.

9. Plan & Prepare! You don't want to miss your entire party because you're cooking and preparing the food. Make a to-do list so you don't have to run out last minute (if this happens, you can always call a friend to pick it up on their way). Schedule time in advance to cook, set out the dishes, set up the outdoor space. Give yourself enough time in the day of to do last minute touches before your guests arrive.

10. Lastly, don't stress. Have fun & enjoy the party! You will probably forget at least 1 thing, but no one will notice and you'll remember the next time. Plus, there's nothing more to do than to enjoy all your hard work with your friends! Don't forget to snap some pictures for those summer memories!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hot Paint Colors

HGTV featured 8 trendy paint colors. I love bright colors so I am loving these fun colors! See below for some summer color inspiration!

I am especially loving this fuchsia room since pink is my favorite color. Even more, I love the darker tone of this pink, and a very fun color in a bathroom:
This turquoise reminds me of a tropical island, and love it paired with the purple curtains:
A fun twist to the classic yellow kitchen: vertical stripes!
A very calming blue:
The coral is very "Mediterranean:"
This room is from the HGTV Green Dream home, as featured in another of my posts. The light blue ceiling imitates the sky and has a calming effect:
An unexpected fresh & bright avocado color: