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Wednesday
Feb012017

roundup: budget-friendly oversize lantern lighting

It's no secret I love oversize lantern chandeliers; I happen to think the bigger, the better!  Even though I think lighting is one of those decorative items that is definitely worth the splurge, it's twice as nice when you can find an amazing fixture at an equally amazing price point. 

(Obsessed with Loi Thai's dining room - especially the patina on that hanging lantern!)

I've wanted to hang one over the farm table in our kitchen nook ever since we moved in; we have vaulted ceilings and everything seemed so dwarfed by all the space.  Despite my best efforts, it used to be next to impossible to find an oversize hanging lantern that didn't come with a hefty price tag; I even tried to enlist an iron worker to make one and have it wired but that got equally pricey, so I was pleasantly surprised to recently find quite a few new options that are as beautiful as they are big and, best of all, they're very well priced (some unbelievably so!)  Here are a few stunning options I found:

Perryton Pendant / Galloway Pendant / Carmen Geometric Pendant (this is a reproduction of the much pricier Darlana Linear Lantern at a FRACTION of the cost!) / Geometric Cage Lantern / Carmen Foyer Pendant (this one is HUGE - almost 40 inches high.  I bought this for my own house but it was just a tad too big, if you can believe it!  At $255, though, it's a steal if you have the space!)

Lighting Connection is a great source for some gorgeous reproductions of much more expensive favorites at a fraction of the cost and Ballard Designs has some beauties, too (obsessed with this one and this one).  Do you have any oversize favorites?  Please share!

Monday
Jan302017

beating the winter decorating blah's with houseplants

Hello, blogland; so nice to see you again!  I hope you're all off to a great start in 2017!  The last few weeks of the year really kicked my butt; Luca ended up hospitalized with RSV - anyone with an infant that has gotten it can tell you it's an absolutely devastating experience; it's been the hardest thing I've ever had to do to watch my baby struggle so hard to breathe and know there was virtually nothing anyone could really do, but I'm so grateful the amazing staff at our hospital took such great care of us! We ended up missing Lydia's third birthday because Luca was admitted that morning, which only added to my already teetering emotional state; I ended up getting really sick, too, and then my little miss's birthday party was canceled due to a snow storm that we didn't end up getting.

We're all back on the healthy train again (thanks to my mom, who flew out from the west coast and saved my behind and also my dad and brother who tag teamed watching Lydia while I was in the hospital) and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can keep it that way through the rest of the winter!  And speaking of winter...does anyone else have a case of the blah's at home?  The house always seems so empty after the tree and the garlands are down so I always end up giving the house a few little tweaks to make it feel fresh and new again without going overboard (or spending a ton).  This year, though, I'm not gonna lie -  my idea of "freshening up the house" includes tackling the mountains of laundry and organizing the myriad toys that have taken over every corner of my house, but I picked up some new house plants recently and they've done wonders for my home (and my mental state!).  They're one of my favorite ways to add some color and freshness to any space! 

I love fresh flowers as much as the next girl, but for the money, you just can't beat a pop of green from a big, chunky houseplant, am I right?  I posted my favorite plants that are virtually impossible to kill a while ago (you can read it here); it really is one of my favorite, least expensive ways to refresh a space; pop one in a basket and you have instant texture and interest.

(A six foot fiddle leaf fig I found for $50 at Home Depot a few years back, that I managed to keep alive for six whole months!)

(A $5 peace lily in a basket adds just the right amount of color, texture and freshness to my living room)

(An inexpensive palm from Lowe's helps fill in the space between our breakfast nook and living room)

(Lemon cypress topiary smell as amazing as they look!)

(A hearty philodendron for the master bathroom that almost completely prevents you from being able to see your lower half - but is so totally worth it!)

What are some of your favorite ways to beat the winter decorating blah's?

Thursday
Dec222016

a little christmas cheer in lydia's room

We are in full-on Christmas mode over here, baking cookies, listening to holiday tunes, burning our Christmas lights 24/7 and counting the days until Santa's arrival!  The most wonderful time of the year is even more magical when you're experiencing it through the eyes of your almost three year old and I'm loving every single minute as much as she is! We've had the house decorated since, literally, five minutes after Thanksgiving dinner, and this year we added some Christmas cheer to Lydia's room, as well.   Last week, she asked me for a Christmas tree for her room and, after gallivanting all over town and coming up empty-handed, I stuck some fresh cut branches in a glass vase and wrapped some twinkle lights around them.  Improvisation at its best!  I added some more twinkle lights to her gallery wall, and a stack of our favorite Christmas books and a miniature nutcracker to her chest.  My aunt sent her a sweet surprise over the weekend - a porcelain Christmas tree with the most beautiful lights and it's our new favorite heirloom as she won't go to sleep without it! Her room is so cozy to begin with but now even I have a hard time turning the lights out after reading our books at bedtime!  Since the weather's been too crappy to take pics of the Christmas decorations throughout the rest of the house (and to be honest, it's not much different from last year), I snapped a few shots of her room this morning:

Hope you're all enjoying these last few magical days before Santa comes!

Monday
Dec192016

last minute christmas gift ideas

Christmas is less than a week away and, with the exception of a gift for my dad (he's always the hardest person in the world to shop for), I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that I finished all the rest of my shopping over the weekend!  This is the first year in a long time that I'm done with time to spare; I always have the best intentions of starting early but I'm usually the one running around town and hitting up Amazon and getting my money's worth out of my Prime membership!  There's still time to get some pretty fabulous gifts, though, so I rounded up some of my favorite finds that I've blogged about a lot here on the blog that are fabulously priced and would make for a beautiful gift if you're in a pinch!

This tortoise ice bucket was my favorite gift last year.  It looks so chic on a bar setup and I've used it many times as a makeshift vase, too!

A preserved boxwood wreath adds a festive touch all year long and this one from Target is so well priced for such a generous size!

I don't know anyone who wouldn't love a blue and white ginger jar.  This one is a beauty and so budget-friendly!

A gorgeous set of marble cheese knives that are on sale right now for $15 (I got a set for myself and one for pretty much everyone I know who loves to entertain)

A Boat, A Whale and a Walrus is still one of my favorite recipe/entertaining books to gift and it looks so pretty on a bookshelf or coffee table, too!

My oversize clam shell, one of my favorite decorative accessories is on sale right now at ZGallerie.  Or, surprise that special someone and get the even more ginormous one!

A Diptyque candle set is the exception to the price-friendly gifts here but I love it so much for a best friend or sister because it's not typically something they would buy for themself!

This blue and white swirl vase looks gorgeous with big, fluffy hydrangea blooms!

Obsessed with these brass pineapple shot glasses; these are great for the perpetual entertainer and they look beautiful displayed, too!

I've spent a small fortune on myrtle topiary, only to kill them weeks later so I refuse to purchase any more for myself but that doesn't mean I wouldn't take one as a gift, haha!

A brass monogram door knocker for the monogram-obsessed!

This leopard lumbar pillow is bananas in person!

I bought this gold platter for a friend and loved it so much, I wanted to keep it for myself.  Perfect for serving cocktails or a bedside display!

What are some of your favorite gifts to give?

Thursday
Dec152016

guest suite progress: the bathroom

The longest running construction/reno project in history (also known as my upstairs guest suite) is finally nearing completion!  To be fair to our contractor, we knew when we hired him this past summer that it was the height of the season and that it would take a little longer than we had hoped it would (it was supposed to have been done in the end of September and here we are in December), but I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to have worked on our home and I'm SO thrilled with how it turned out!

You might remember a few months ago, I posted our plans for the bathroom up there (you can read about it here).  This was to be a full fledged guest suite for visiting family and friends to free up the other bedroom downstairs for baby boy's nursery and to also give our guests a space of their own, completely on the other side of the house, where they didn't have to tiptoe to the bathroom at night, in fear of waking a sleeping babe.  For the most part, we stuck to the plan and I love how it looks!  We tried to keep the cost down as much as possible so I looked to Home Depot, Lowe's, Amazon and Wayfair for almost everything.  And you know what?  It all looks like I paid a lot more than I did.

The bathroom.  This was our original plan. And this is how it's looking right now.  It's so crisp and clean and just so PRETTY.  The wall color is Etching by ICI paint and the gorgeous slate floors are Montauk Blue Slate from Home Depot. 

The subway tile and cast iron tub are from Lowe's (that tub weighed more than 500 pounds, took four guys to get it upstairs and was less than a cheapo fiberglass insert!!!)  The frameless tilting mirror is from Amazon and the gorgeous pedestal sink and faucet are from Signature Hardware, with whom I am seriously in love...their prices are INSANE good and their customer service just can't be beat. 

I wanted a chrome pedestal sink in here SO FREAKIN' BAD but I couldn't find one for less than $1000, so I went with a small white pedestal and I actually love it more!

At the last minute, I decided to put beadboard up instead of doing my version of board and batten like I had originally planned and I'm so glad I did.  I love the contrast, although it's soft, between the  blue/gray walls and the beadboard, which is painted Sherwin Williams Extra White like the cabinets, trim and built-ins in the rest of the house.  It adds just the right amount of texture and interest, not to mention that it looks so amazing adjacent to the slate floors.

For the rest of the living space, we did not want carpet but we also had to be mindful of our budget.  We found 6 inch wide bamboo flooring at Home Depot in a rich espresso finish that was on sale for just under $2 per square foot (cheaper than anything we could find at Lumber Liquidators) and it looks amazing against the light walls.

We still have to finish shelving in the bedroom/living area and the floors need a good cleaning, so I'll save pics of that for another post.  All in all, this may have taken ten years to finish, but I couldn't be happier with how it turned out!  Now it's time to buy a rug, hang window treatments, move furniture in and decorate...which also means the downstairs guest room will be freed up for me to make a nursery for Luca!  I can't wait to show you all how it looks once I get everything in and set up!