July 3, 2015

Fourth of July Drinks + Eats + Sales

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!!!!  I hope all of you have a safe and happy weekend celebrating our Country!  We're headed out to my Aunt and Uncle's Farm today.  I'm ready to eat and relax and watch my kids play with my cousins.  The forecast was calling for rain but so far it's nice and sunny.  I hope that continues all weekend!

Enjoy your weekend and be safe!

 FURBISH Extra 15% off all weekend with code: HAPPY4
That include the Teil Duncan art print in my dining room and these awesome pom pom baskets!

Nordstrom has added new items to their sale *and don't forget the anniversary sale starts next week*

Baublebar 30% off site wide with code: RSJULY

Banana Republic Extra 50% off Sale with code: BRGOBIG

J.Crew Extra 40-60% off Sale with code: LONGWEEKEND
LOFT 60% off Festive Styles + Sale (no code needed)


*affiliate links used

July 2, 2015

July || My favorites

I can't believe it's already July.  I feel like the days are literally speeding by me and I want them to slow down.  I'm not one of those moms that craves a lot of time away from my kids.  Summer doesn't stress me out.  While I'm probably a lot less productive, I'm actually more at peace not rushing them off to camps or sports or school.  Morning snuggles on the couch, long days at the pool, lazy evenings and late bedtimes; this is the motherhood I longed for when there was so much crying and pooping and feeding.  This is what I've been waiting for.  I wasn't the best version of myself when I had two babies. I felt isolated and unprepared.  I didn't feel needed, I felt drained.  This stage is my favorite.  I feel powerful knowing that almost anything can be fixed with a hug and a Popsicle.

Three and a half and almost five.  Their little minds are full of wonder and excitement for the world.  They can't tell time, which works majorly in my favor, but they understand waiting just a little bit longer.  They fight over who gets to be carried downstairs first in the morning or who gets to sit next to me at lunch.  They have become the best of friends and are inseparable.  Fights are quickly over and new games are invented.  They make big messes but they're easy to clean up.  I'm going to ride high through this stage as long as I can!

I've got some more fun dresses and adorable shorts for you this morning!  I'm also starting to scope out my picks for the big Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale coming up!  I've been making my lists for fall as well. 

V-Neck Jersey Maxi Dress (love the solid colors as well) || Navy Lace Skater Dress || Pink Skater Dress (only $27) || Off the Shoulder Tassel Dress (equally love the navy and that it's a bit out of my comfort zone)

 Mint Skater Dress also pretty in black || Striped dress $30 with code: GOFOURTH || gingham dress $35 with code: GOFOURTH || Three Quarter Sleeve Knit Jersey Dress

LOFT is offering 50% off everything with code: GOFOURTH which makes these shorts all $25-30!!!


*affiliate links used

June 29, 2015

Playroom Design | Selecting a Rug

As the kids are getting just a bit older and their toys are changing, so does the playroom.  I'm not complaining.  I love it.  In fact, it helps feed my design ADD and I see no reason to leave things exactly the same for very long.

  We recently moved our antique armoire out to the playroom because it didn't really fit in any of the other rooms and we can always use more storage in the kids space.  I really want to get a new, larger rug for this room.  Something bigger than 8x12.  I want something that's thick enough to not wiggle around on the floor, even with a rug pads something too light won't stay put.  It also needs to be fairly soft because we'll all be sitting on it a lot.  It doesn't need to feel like a cloud, just squishy enough on my knees and ankles.

I've bought almost all of my rugs from RugsUSA when they have their big sales.  Right now almost everything is 75% off so it's the perfect time to pull the trigger.  I've narrowed it down to the two choices above. 

I also fancied things up a bit with art from Minted, furniture from Serena & Lily and Pottery Barn Kids (who are offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders) and pillows from Furbish.  But the details will most likely evolve and I'd like to incorporate more of the kids artwork into this room.

So tell me, which do you like better?  Help me choose!  I love them both and am having a really hard time deciding which I'll be happier with long term.

June 25, 2015

Fourth of July Style | Patriotic Dresses

The last few years we've been celebrating the Fourth of July in the country.  Either at my Aunt and Uncle's farm in Eastern Virginia or my in-laws mountain house in Southwest Virginia.  One year we did both.  We a one year old and a two year old.  Om, that was a disaster.  Either way is a bit of a stretch from all the years I spent at the beach.  I can't say I don't miss being on the water because I do.  In fact my absolute favorite Fourth of July was the one I spent in Nantucket.  Dang that was awesome.  But regardless of where you spend it, it's really nice to get away for that simple all-american apple pie feel. 

I've rounded up some of my favorite patriotic dresses for you today!  I'm on the search for a pretty Fourth of July Sangria recipe too.  Using Strawberries, blueberries, and and watermelon cut into star shapes.  I'm going to practice this weekend so be on the lookout for the recipe.  I find a lot of the recipes I try are too sweet for my taste so I want something a bit tart to go with all that fruit.  Do you have one you like?

red maxi dress || blue maxi dress || Lace Inset Maxi || Lush Knit Maxi ($39) *don't put this one in the dryer) || bow back skater dress || Rowan V-Neck Skater Dress $48 (obsessed with this dress and all the pretty colors || Red Lace Skater Dress || Navy Lace Skater Dress (really pretty in white too)


*affiliate links used

June 24, 2015

Blueberry Peach Cobbler (Vegan, Dairy-free, Egg-free)

I know there are so many of you who are also trying hard to find new recipes to accommodate food allergies for yourself or your loved ones.  Last night I altered my Mom's cobbler recipe to be safe for my son who is allergic to dairy, egg, and peanut.  Despite my lack of skill or interest in cooking and baking, homemade is really the safest way for me to feed him without anxiety.  So I'm trying.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler
-1 cup of melted butter (I use Earth's Best Vegan Buttery Sticks but they also have a soy-free vegan alternative)
-1 cup of flour (I've started using Simple Truth Organic flour but you can also use a gluten-free alternative here if you need this to be a gluten-free dish)
-1 cup of sugar (I've also switched to organic in an attempt to feel better about all the sugar I've been eating lately)
-1 teaspoon of baking powder
-3/4 cup of milk (I alternate between soy milk and almond milk in all my recipes depending on what's in the fridge and they all seem to work find.  Just find one that accommodates your allergy and use that)
-3/4 package of fresh blueberries
-3-4 fresh peaches, pealed.

-Preheat the oven to 375, and add butter to your baking dish and place in the oven until melted.
-While the butter is melting, add your dry ingredients together with a sift into a separate bowl.  Add the milk-alternative and stir to make a batter.
-Take the dish out of the oven once the butter is all melted and add the fruit and then pour the batter on top.  I did it the opposite way in the picture above, placing the fruit on top, but I like it with the fruit on the bottom best I think.
-Bake for 30-45 minutes on 375.


Summer Sales

LOFT is offering 40% off shorts and tees. I really love this gingham pair for $25 and these scalloped riviera shorts for $22.  I also love this entire gingham collection. I always order down in this store, I feel like it runs on the bigger side.

J.Crew is offering 50% sale items with code: DAYTHREE.   The perfect time to stock up on shorts and tees.

J.Crew FACTORY is also doing an extra 40% off sale prices with code: EXTRA40

Serena and Lily is offering 20% off BED + BATH with code: SUNNYDAYS.  I've been eying this striped shower curtain and these gingham sheets.

June 22, 2015

A Few Summer Staples

We just got back from several days at the mountains last night.  It was such a nice break from reality from I'm happy to be back.  I'm a homebody at heart.

I've rounded up a few of my favorite summer staples for you this morning.  Many of them are on big sales.  Summer sales are in full swing, that's for sure!  I feel like summer outfits should be simple.  Something you can throw on without much effort.  I'm so glad that summer is officially here although it feels like ours started ages ago.

What are your favorite summer staples?


*affiliate links used

June 17, 2015

Playroom Design | Bright + Modern Preppy

I love playrooms!  I love corralling all of my kids bright colored plastic million-pieces toys into one spot for them to let loose and have fun.  I'm always trying to balance their need for setting up little train towns and princess villages with my need for a clean floor.  We are really lucky to have a bonafide play room to house their toys and creativity.  They each get a zone on the floor where they're allowed to leave their layouts set-up indefinitely.  Once the toys cross over into an explosion in the whole room it's time to clean it all up again.  This system seems to work really well and you can't see the disaster, I mean creative, zone from the rest of the house.  What do you to help keep it at bay?

We spend a lot of time in here so of course I like to dream up new ways to make it pretty! 


*affiliate links used

June 16, 2015

Summer Dresses

There is absolutely nothing better than a dress when it's hot.  I am so thankful that I am finally out of the toddler on the floor stage and can get back to my simple summer staple.  Not that I don't still love a good pair of colored shorts and a tee-shirt, but when the temperatures dip down I just want a piece of cloth draped over me and nothing else.

stripe dress || bow back dress ($50 and that back is gorgeous!  Also comes in several other pretty colors) || cotton eyelet dress || striped t-shirt dress (also in many colors and looks so comfy)

striped lace fit and flare || Woven Shift Dress || Blouson Chiffon Skater Dress || striped cross-back fit and flare (the back on this one is amazing too!)

Strappy v-neck Maxi || Nomadic Maxi || v-neck jersey dress (love that you can wear a normal bra and comes in lots of colors!) || floral knit maxi dress


* affiliate links used

June 15, 2015

The Deck Project Begins!

One thing I've learned about myself is that it takes me a while to really figure out how I want a space to function and how I want it to feel.  If I get too easily caught up in how it looks I don't always like the results for very long.  The way a room makes me feel is so much more important to me.  I want a space that breathes and makes me feel calm.  Our new deck project is no exception.

When we bought our house two years ago there was a deck built across the entire back of the house.  The only problem was that it was in need of repair in several places.  A lot of the wood was in bad shape and it wasn't structurally sound.  We priced out re-building it exactly as it was but quickly realized that for the same cost we could do something different if we wanted.  Our lot is sloped so we could keep the elevated deck off the family room and re-route the stairs to the side and create a ground level patio that opens up into the backyard.  Ultimately we decided that two different elevations would look better and function well.  Now we just have to get started!

My husband and my father-in-law did phase one over Easter, repairing and rebuilding the deck off the family room.  It created the perfect spot for our new table from Trex Outdoor Furniture.  I'm so excited to be working with them!  The table is made from a POLYWOOD®  brand recycled plastic lumber that does not absorb moisture so it will not rot, splinter, or crack.  These products require no water proofing, painting or staining and will last forever.  AMAZING!

We're still trying to decide how to proceed with the patio below; cement pavers or crushed rock.  But for now I'm focusing on prettying up the eating space we've now been enjoying for several weeks.  I'm imagining several more planters overflowing with greens and some new cushions on the chairs so help it feel softer.  

Right now it's a lot of grey, I know.  The plan is to stain/paint the deck to help seal it as well as add some contrast with the furniture.  At first I was thinking it would be pretty to go white on the rails and a dark grey or black on the floor. But part of me loves the tree house feel with all the gray.  And maybe once I add in lots of potted plants and flowers I'll appreciate the wood fading into the background.

I know I want it to look super comfortable and well-styled with lots of layers and pretty textiles.  There are so many pretty inspiration pictures floating around right now.  I am in love with all the pretty rugs and pillows and layers of towels and bar carts!  But I also know that we live in Virginia and not Southern California and this is an open-air deck and not a covered or screened-in porch.  Our back yard is really shaded (which is awesome for actually using it in the summer) but it retains a lot of moisture (not so awesome).  It's a hotbed for mold and pollen which isn't exactly easy on textiles.  And it takes forever for the snow to melt back here in the winter so it stays frozen a good bit.  I need to be realistic about that.

Of course if I do add in color, it will be soft blues and tans and greens like this image below.  Wish I could add in the pool and palm tree somehow!

I also found and loved the deck pictured above that totally embraces the natural and weathered look but still feels pretty.  I need to keep this in mind as I work on our deck.  I want to spend my time hanging out on the deck and not cleaning or decorating it.  Maybe one day we'll have a screened in porch and then I can make more of the pretty things work!

Also, do any of y'all have white or cream cushions on your outdoor furniture?  Or just lots of outdoor cushions and pillows in genera?  Do you store them when not in use?  Like put them away daily?  I'm so very drawn to that look and haven't figured out how to make it work and stay clean outside.

June 12, 2015

Father's Day Gift Guide 2015

It's FRIDAY!!!  I've actually started calling it FriYay like I've seen all over instagram.  Despite the fact that my days really all run together at this point, it's nice to still get excited for the weekend!  We've got a family pool party tomorrow but otherwise no plans.  I can't wait to fire up the grill and hang out on the deck!  What about you?

Father's Day is in one week and if you're anything like me you've waited until the last possible minute to get something together.  I've rounded up a few of tried and true favorites to hopefully make it easier on you!  What's your go-to gift for guys?


June 9, 2015

Navy Built-ins | Some actual progress in the Den!

Thank you so much for your encouragement about the den last week.  All of your ideas were really helpful! Planning a party and knocking out a to-do list go hand in hand in our house and a deadline always helps light a fire under us.  But sometimes just a few people cheering you on is enough!  All of the suggestions were really good and ultimately it led me to getting up off the couch on Thursday morning and knocking out another two coats of paint.  Dang that felt good.

Ultimately I'm trying to make this space really be for and about my husband.  Not overly styling the shelves and selecting what goes on the walls, in particular.  It's hard for me to pull back but I'm happy to make him happy!

The to-do list is still long but it's feeling so much more do-able!

-Final coat of paint on the cabinets and trim
-hang the cabinet doors
-find pulls for the doors and drawers (I'm thinking some brass and modern)
-install toe rail
-French doors on the hallway side of the opening?
-Find fabric for possible pelmet boxes on the windows
-Paint Ceiling light blue

Also, I loved your suggestions about chairs in this room.  I'm going to keep my eye out on craisglist and watch the furniture sales over the summer.  But in the meantime, someone suggested that I move the chairs from our bedroom down to the den to see how I liked the look since I thought I wanted something similar.  I convinced Matthew to try it out for me over the weekend.  I LOVE LOVE these chairs and how they look in our bedroom and while I LOVE them and love the way having nice matching chairs looks in here, I don't think I'm ready to let them go down here permanently.  The practical side of me says they'll probably get used a ton more in this room than they do in our bedroom but I'm not sold just yet.

As always, thanks so much for being my sounding board and offering out your ideas!  I'm in no way a professional and it really helps to get other people's perspective on things!

June 8, 2015

Designer Files | Brooke Wagner Design

I found a new interior designer, Brooke Wagner Design, on instagram last week that made me stop in my tracks.  I wanted to like every single picture stalker style.  I decided the smart thing to do was to check out her website so I could find even more good eye candy.  I know you'll love her easy and laid back style as well!

 I love the varying shades of blue and grey giving depth and interest to an otherwise fairly neutral space.  I also love the clean lines and understated design.  This looks like a house you could just walk into and sit down with a cup of coffee and be right at home.  Peaceful, relaxing, and polished.  Lots of classic pieces and a coastal vibe.  I want to move right in!

 Check our her portfolio here and her pretty instagram here.

June 5, 2015

Backyard Ice Cream Party Planning

Wells is turning FIVE at the end of next month and we've already started talking about what kind of party she wants to have.  I love keeping her in the loop and letting it be about her and what she likes but I did have to veto her first choice: a Monster High Vampire party.  My husband and I are on the fence with whether she's even allowed to watch that show yet.  I feel like it's a bit too old and several of her friends are too young to watch it.   We'll probably save that for grade school if she's still into vampires :)

She's also begged for a blow-up water-slide/bounce-house.  There was time I would have rolled my eyes at that monstrosity in my backyard but there are just so easy and such a hit.  I worry about the safety of them but all of my lawyer friends get them so I guess they can't be that bad, right?!

I plan to let that be the main attraction.  I'm expanding on that to include a bit of an ice-cream party with Palm Beach flair.  Ideally we'd get to keep the water-slide contraption all day and we could double up on the friends party and the family party.  Her little friends come from 10-12 and then an early evening cookout with our big extended family. 

Wells and I have been wanting Matthew to build a lemonade stand for a while now and I think this will be the perfect excuse.  Wells and her little friends build little markets and stands all the time in our front yards.  I'm imagining a thousand ways we could use it for parties and play in the future.  We'll have some treats set out on it for the party but it could be a concession stand or even an outdoor bar for grown-up functions.  I absolutely love the striped look, especially the pink and white but I may go with a more neutral color.

We'll keep the food simple, ice-cream and fruit.  Maybe some popcorn for good measure.  I love the idea of making cupcakes in ice-cream cones.  I haven't done that before but there a million pins so I'm guessing it can't be that hard.   Have you tried that?  I'll probably do a cheese tray for the grown-ups because that's always a hit.

I'll fill you more in on the specifics as the planning continues!

June 4, 2015

House Update | Combined Living Room and Dining Room

We've been in our house two years this month.  That comes with a whole lot of feelings that I'll save for another post (I've never lived anywhere more than two years since I was 17).  I know many of you have asked me to share a our home in it's current state.  That's hard to do because so many treat anything that's not a clear before as a solid after.  Our home is so personal and it's an evolution (which I love!) but I feel like every room comes with a long list of what I wish we could do and what we need to do.  And that list changes.

Yesterday I shared our den (the old dining room) and today I've got our formal living and dining room for you.  Sometimes I love our all white linen curtains and sometimes I think they need trim.  Sometimes I want to wait until we have something properly sized to go above our sofa and sometimes I feel like I just want to hang a print that I love and not really analyze if it's perfect. 

In the image below you can get a feel for the flow of the house.  The opening to the left is original to the home and leads immediately to the front hall (front door on the right), and past that the navy room, our old dining room that we have started transforming into a den/library, and past that the kitchen.  The opening on the left side of the navy sofa is the new pass through my husband around New Years this year and connects to our family room.  That wall is where the old built-ins were located that have since been re-built in the navy room.  The sofa you see below faces the fireplace.

If you are standing in the family room you can now look directly into the back of our living room which we have set up as our formal dining room.  I split the room in to two spaces.  The living room sitting area in front of the fireplace and the dining room behind that in the back.  It's working perfectly for us right now.

You can see the connection to the family room better in the last photo below.  This has helped immensely with the openness and flow of our home.  It's incredible when we entertain and it's really awesome when it's just me and the kids at home.  The playroom is on the other side of the fireplace wall/buffet wall so it's created a direct line for the kids.  I love that.  I would love to knock out those double windows and replace them with french doors leading to the backyard.  We'll see.

Anyway, this is our formal living room/dining room as it looks today!  I'll be posting more pictures of our work in progress home over the next few weeks.  It is fun to see how it's changed as we've lived here longer.

Walls are painted Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore