Friday, December 23, 2011

hey girl, I just found my new obsession...

My love for Ryan Gosling is well documented. So how have I not stumbled across this brilliant website until now? F@#k Yeah! Ryan Gosling combines all the things I love: pictures of Ryan Gosling with witty commentary. Behold...

Hey girl, do yourself a favor and check it out. It will be time well wasted. 

PS: Oh and hey girl, 

You're welcome. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

The best gift to give...

to me, giving gifts is more than just buying something expensive for the people I love. I want the gift to mean something. Right before my wedding this year, while searching for a meaningful gift for my parents, I discovered Kind Notes. 

Kind Notes are jars filled with 31 decorative mini-envelopes that include personalized messages. You can either choose from pre-written messages or receive blank papers and create your own messages. Then the recipient opens one note each day for 31 days. 

I always choose to write the notes myself for a more personal touch. There are so many approaches you can take to the jars – inspirational messages, love notes, memories, notes of thanks. I like to do a combination so the message is a surprise each day. You can also choose from a wide variety of jar and envelope designs that best suit your loved one. 

Kind Notes are a great gift for everyone:
1. Teachers: Kids and parents can fill it with things they like/appreciate about their teacher. Or all of the classroom parents can get together and have each child in the class write one note to their teacher. 
2. Spouses: It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life that you forget to tell your spouse how much you appreciate them. With Kind Notes, they can open one each day and be reminded how much they mean to you. 
3. Kids: Especially for teens or kids who are away at college, it's a great way to tell your kids how much you love them. 
4. Grandparents: Grandma and grandpa love sentimental gifts and this is a great way for all of the grandkids to fill out a few envelopes with memories or notes of thanks. They will have personalized messages from their beloved little ones for an entire month. 

Kind Notes are also perfect for: 
Relatives who live far away
Military members stationed overseas
Notes of encouragement for parents-to-be

And it's the gift that keeps on giving. You can re-order note cards and envelopes to continue to show your appreciation to the ones you love. Best of all, they are only around $40 with shipping and handling. 

There is still time to order your Kind Notes before Christmas. Hurry – it's a gift everyone will love! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Home sweet home...

It's official, we are homeowners! We got the word yesterday and our closing is in a few weeks. We are so excited – it is a beautiful house. We still can't believe that it's ours!
The wheels in my head are just spinning with decorating possibilities. Stay tuned...

Friday, December 2, 2011

The soundtrack of my life...

music is big in our house. My husband may have more CDs (remember those round things you used to buy before downloading took over the world?) than any human I have ever met. Before I met him, I fancied myself quite the music aficionado, but I humbly take a backseat to his musical knowledge and collection.  That said, there isn't a day that goes by that there isn't some music playing in our house.

Music is part of my every day life and since this blog is about "My Life" I thought I'd start a new feature "The Soundtrack of My Life" about the music that is currently inspiring me.

First up is a CD that is playing at this very moment on my computer, Mat Kearney's Young Love.
You may have become familiar with Mat when his amazing breakout hit, Nothing Left to Lose, hit the charts in 2007. It was followed up with the achingly beautiful single, All I Need, that still gives me chills every time I listen to it, as well as the equally moving, Breathe In Breathe Out. He followed up his major label debut album with City of Black and White, which features one of my all-time favorite songs, Closer to Love. Do yourself a favor and listen to this song. It's hopeful, inspirational and will just make you feel good.
His new CD, Young Love, is Mat Kearney doing what he does best, mixing haunting ballads with upbeat tunes that provide for a seamless album. Many have compared his sounds (and looks) to Chris Martin from Coldplay, and I can hear (and see) it. But every song is sung with such honesty and emotion it feels more pure than any Coldplay record of late (yes, Fix You was amazing). That said, I'm still coming to terms with his "spoken word/rap" style on some songs. It's growing on me.

As a writer, I find it hard to listen to music while I write, but I've already listened to this CD three times today. It's a great album by a fabulous singer and songwriter.

My favorites on the album: Hey Mama (the album's first single), Sooner or Later, Down and She Got the Honey. I defy you not to hum "She's got the honey, and I got some money to buy her a big bouquet" by the end of it the first listen.

Added bonus: He even sounds good at 30,000 feet.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

House hunting...

As you know, we have been living with my parents while we save and get things in order to buy our first home. To say I have been waiting for this moment is an understatement. Ever since I discovered HGTV years ago I have been fantasizing about this moment. I dreamed about walking through all different types of homes, tossing out words like "curb appeal" and discussing how we could "make it our own." I was sure I would be the tough negotiator, because I was essentially a real estate genius by proxy, logging thousands of hours watching House Hunters, My First Place and Property Virgins.
Speaking of Property Virgins, can we talk about Sandra Rinamato for a moment? Is she not the coolest? No nonsense, totally knows her stuff and always get the deal. I am not ashamed to admit that I actually looked on to see if they were filming Property Virgins in Cincinnati anytime soon – I would have died to be on that show.

Back to the house hunt. So the moment was upon us. Our first day of house hunting. 3 houses. 2 duds. 1 contender. Gorgeous "curb appeal," open floor plan and opportunities for upgrades.
But we didn't want to settle for the first thing we liked so we planned for another outing for Friday after Thanksgiving. Our realtor called on Wednesday, "Eat your Wheaties, we have 14 houses to see."

14 houses? I couldn't even imagine how it that was possible. But we carbed up on Thanksgiving and were ready to go bright and early on Friday. Our first outing helped us solidify our list of wants: open floor plane, newer house with room for upgrades but no major construction, open kitchen and yard space.

First house was a winner, good space, backed right up to one of the leading high schools in the area, lots of trees.
The rest of the day was a whirlwind of homes that ran the gamut. From spacious ranches that were meticulously decorated to foreclosures with great space but so much damage we couldn't see past it. I was on fire too. "That's an easy fix" "I can see it" "Good school district" " Excellent resale value" were just rolling off my tongue. I was like an HGTV poster child.

It was so interesting to see all the different floor plans, to learn what to look for in a home, to learn what you should never compromise on and to learn about yourself and what you really need to feel at home.

But the most encouraging thing was how many great homes there were out there in our price range. Beautiful, spacious and places we could definitely see ourselves living.

It was such a fun day and one I will never forget. This is just the beginning of a fun-filled journey and we hope to have some exciting news to share with you sooner rather than later.

What was your favorite part of house hunting? Were there any doozies that you saw? What was the coolest home you toured?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your Turkey Day be filled with great food and abundant blessings...
and may your jeans fit on Friday. Gobble! Gobble!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

get your own original art...

if you've been reading my blog for while, you'll remember this post featuring the fabulous painting of the Chicago skyline that my cousin did especially for us.

It is beautiful and substantial. The perfect focal point in any living room. 

Now you too can have an amazing painting like this because my beautiful and talented cousin, Molly Reckman, has opened her very own etsy shop.
Molly and me at the wonderful bridal shower she threw for me.
The paintings are gorgeous and large. They would make a perfect Christmas gift or just a treat for yourself that you can treasure for years to come.

How about this beautiful 24" x 36" Monarch?

Dandelion Wind, 12" x 30"

Or my personal favorite, 24" x 30" Bright Idea. 

Do yourself a favor and check out her Etsy shop and get yourself a Molly Reckman original today. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Today is a good day...

I always think it's interesting how some people are inherently positive people and some are less so. I think naturally I lean a little more towards the latter. Why? I'm not sure. I've had a truly blessed life, positivity should come easily. It does for my dad. Whenever you ask him how his day was, his answer is always, "Great!" He is excited about everything and always ready to have fun. Even when in the last couple of years there have been some circumstances when he could have taken the negative road, he still stayed positive. I can't even count how many times I've heard him say, "I have a great life."

I want to be that positive and have that positivity rub off on those around me. I am going to make a conscious effort to choose the positive over the negative and remind myself to make the most out of life. So I found some inspirational prints on Etsy that I can put around our home to remind us of all the good in our life.





Are your a naturally positive person? Or do you lean a little more the other way? What do you do to inspire yourself?

Monday, November 14, 2011

New vs. gently used...

So the hubby and I have begun our house hunt. My husband is really in love with the idea of new construction so we don't have to worry about lots of fix-it projects right off the bat. While I on the other hand, would like an existing house that isn't totally "finished" that we can make our own over time.

Yesterday after church, we checked out two new construction developments in my hometown. (I just have to say that I NEVER thought I would be house hunting in Milford, Ohio, but that is for another, much longer, post.)

Back to the house hunt. All of the models have been purchased, so if we moved into that neighborhood we would have to build, and I have to admit, the idea of that is definitely appealing. We could pick out all of the finishes and make it exactly how we want it from the beginning.

But on the flip side, I have always dreamed about buying my first home and making it my own, room-by-room, slowly figuring out our personality and how it can be portrayed in our home. I mean, I created a home DIY blog before I even had a home, so to say it's something I'm passionate about is an understatement. How satisfying would it be to see your work before and after?

In this area, "gently used" homes around here generally have more yard space than any new construction. I grew up with a beautiful yard and lots of privacy while still living in a neighborhood as you saw here, and I would really love to have something similar at my own home or have the space to create a yard like this:

Credit: my dad and mom
Another "want" for the hubby and I are neighbors who are close to our age that we can hang out with. The new construction neighborhood had lots of young neighbors outside tailgating for the Bengals game yesterday – so it was definitely a "pro" on our list. :)

So now that we've checked out the new construction in the area, the next step is to see what existing homes are on the market. I'll keep you posted on what we find and how it measures up to the new construction.

I'm curious to know your feelings on new vs. gently used homes? Where do you live? What would you recommend for first time home buyers?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day...

Thank you to all the men and women who have served or are currently serving our country to ensure our freedom. Without you we would have nothing, especially a silly blog where I an write about home design and clothes. Not all countries can say they have that freedom. For that and for everything else we have because of your sacrifice, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And to the families of our servicemen and women, thank you as well. Your families are in my heart.

Happy Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm a fan...

over the last few months these vintage beauties have been popping up as design accents and I must say...

I am a fan. 

har. har. I know, I'm hilarious.

But seriously, how cool are they? They've got a film noir feel to them. Like they should be on the desk of private eye.

How perfect would one of these look on a coffee table or bedside table? I'm going to have to start scouring the flea markets and craigslist ads around town for some of these hidden gems.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Current crushes...

When I worked downtown in Chicago I could just walk out of my building and within minutes be at virtually any store I could imagine. Most of the time I wouldn't buy a thing but I knew they were there. So now that I have to drive to the mall and don't have a car, I think I am having shopping withdrawal and wanting everything I see online! Here are some of the looks I am currently crushing on...


They put the finishing touch on any outfit. Roll up the sleeves and pair it with a fun tank and it's a great look for day or night.


My fab hubby bought me a gold watch I've been lusting after for my wedding gift and now I'm obsessed with pairing it with tons of gold bracelets. Its a chic but effortless look.  and P.S. I want that sweater!

POPS (of purple)
Emily Cho foldover clutch
From pants to shoes to handbags, purple adds the right amount of fun to any outfit.

I love the texture a faux fur brings to the outfit. How cute is the 3/4 length sleeve?

What are you crushing on right now?