Monday, October 31, 2011

Black and orange decor...

in honor of Halloween, I thought I'd explore how you can use orange and black in your decor without looking too themey.

I hope you all have a spooktacular evening! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday thoughts...

I've been missing Chicago a lot lately but as I was finishing up my lunch today and going back upstairs I noticed something.
The fall is so beautiful here. The colors are just absolutely amazing. 
 So many reds, yellows, golds and greens. 
Happy Friday! I hope you're enjoying the view where you are.

PS: A special acknowledgement goes to my parents, especially my dad for all the time he puts into making the yard so pretty. I have never seen someone mow or leaf-blow as many times in one week as that man, but he must know what he's doing. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest post: Making a house a home....

Today at My Life By Design, we're welcoming a guest blogger from Arcadian Lighting Blog to give you helpful tips on using personal touches to make your house feel like home. Enjoy!

Hi, I'm Susi from the Arcadian Lighting blog, a great resource for lighting ideas and decor trends for your home. I'm lucky to be asked to guest blog at My Life by Design today about adding personal touches to your home. Whether seen in art, paint, light fixtures or an endless array of other personal touches, it's these little things that turn a house into a home. Enjoy!

House to Home

Do you think of paint as a personal touch? Picking paint colors is a very personal choice that can transform a house to a home that looks and feels like you.

House to Home

Create a photo collage with all those instagram images from your phone. A photo collage is great for a small space like the end of a hall or an entry. Choose pics by theme (family, vacation) or color for an interesting, unique art work.

House to Home

Beyond just a photo collage, creating a gallery wall of personal treasures is a wonderful way to turn house into home. Fill the wall with your children's art, sentimental shadowboxes, photographs, floor lamp, and art.

House to Home

Customizing furniture with paint and pattern adds a personal touch even to the plainest of pieces. Everything from vintage to Ikea can get the personal touch. Notice the great contrast between the interesting white lamps and their yummy chocolate shades.

House to Home

Adding monograms to linens for the bed and table are a way to personalize. Embroidered or stenciled with fabric paint, this is a great project for newlyweds.

House to Home

DIY projects are perfect for adding personal touches that reflect your personality. Let your own sense of style shine through in things you make your own.

House to Home

Adding a bit of trim, embroidery, paint or ribbon to accessories like pillows, curtains and lampshades makes them feel custom for you.

House to Home

Mixing vintage and flea market finds with new is always a good way to make a house feel more like a home. Love the vintage look of the pendant light and the industrial wheeled cart turned work island. Chalkboards and chalkboard paint can turn a wall into a rotating gallery or message board.

Images: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

What do you think of these personal touches? Comments are welcome! Don't forget to check out Arcadian Lighting for some light fixtures to create your own personal touch!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Think pink....

Even though October is winding down, you can still help the fight against breast cancer by supporting many worthwhile causes. Breast cancer, unfortunately, will affect all of us in some way in our lifetime. In 2011, it is estimated that there will be 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer. But this year, there are also more than 2.6 million breast cancer SURVIVORS in the US -- thanks to all of the research and attention this terrible disease has received.

My mom is a breast cancer survivor (GO MOM!) and looking better than ever. She received such great treatment and amazing support and we know it is only by the generosity of others that the fight against this disease has come so far.

So with the last 6 remaining days in October, help the fight against breast cancer, while at the same time scoring some amazing products.

Philosophy's Hope in a Jar moisturizer now comes in a limited edition pink jar. $5 of every purchase goes to fight breast cancer. 
Support the cause at

Run out and get your OPI Shatter Pink of Hearts 2011 Limited Edition polish because OPI has made a donation to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the US and Rethink Breast Cancer in Canada.
Support the cause at

Want to look Fergilicious while you join the fight? Show your support for the cause when you wear the Fergie Awareness pump. A portion of the proceeds support Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Show your support at Fergie Shoes

Old Navy has teamed up with Komen for the Cure to create a limited edition pink T. The front says "Together We Can, I Promise We Will" and 5% of each purchase of this shirt will go toward the fight.   

Show your support at

Kiss Breast Cancer goodbye with this cute tote from Avon. For just $5 you will get a Lips for Life Novelty tote and a Breast Health Resource Guide, and the money will help increase Avon's support for research and access to care for all. 
Show your support at
There are so many great ways to support Breast Cancer Research -- and look good while you're doing it. But the #1 way you can help cut down on the instances of breast cancer in this country is to GET A MAMMOGRAM! If you are over 35, schedule your appointment today. Honestly, getting my ears pierced hurt worse than a mammogram. And getting it done gave me peace of mind that I am taking control over cancer. 

Happy shopping and thanks for supporting the cause - I know my family and my amazing survivor mom thank you for it! 

And a special shout out to my dad who was an amazing support for my mom during her treatment. Go DAD!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thought of the day...

This sign just makes me happy. How are you going to make today amazing?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Get a load of my jules....

There a few changes going on at My Life By Design. Since I currently don't have a home to DIY, it doesn't make a lot of sense to continue the blog as solely a home design blog. So I am going to start sharing all things that inspire me in life. Fashion... food... decor... you name it.

What better place to start than this amazing necklace by the fabulous Chicago-based jewelry designer, and my friend, jules. 
I have been coveting her Family Jules Necklace for a while now and once I got married it seemed like the ideal time to finally order it.  Set on a sterling and oxidized sterling chain, the Family Jules Necklace is entirely handmade just like all of her jewelry. 

It features rings that are forged from raw sheet and soldered together. What makes it truly unique is that each ring can be personalized with letters to represent your name or the initials of your family members. 
As a newlywed, I chose to have my first initial, my husband's first initial and the first initial of our last name. It is so beautiful and well-crafted that I wear it with everything. The initials are simple and subtle but still make a statement when you take a good look at the necklace. 
What I love most about it is that because it's crafted from quality metals, it will last for years to come. And since it's personalized, it will be a great family heirloom down the road. 
jules is the brainchild of the uber-stylish Julie Schwanbeck who launched the company in 2007. The hand-fabricated artisan jewelry line is inspired by organic imperfections in nature and features the finest hand-hammered metals, precious gemstones and unusual minerals. She pairs eclectic materials with distinctive metalsmithing techniques to produce amazing one-of-a-kind designs. 

Check out a small sampling of her other pieces: 

There is more gorgeous jewelry where this came from on And exclusively for My Life By Design readers, jules is graciously offering 15% off on any purchase through October 31. Just use the code Jenna15 at checkout.

Happy Shopping!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beadboard love...

There is something so cozy and inviting about a room that has beadboard, especially when it's on the ceiling.
Courtesy of

Courtesy of
We're used to seeing beadboard lining the lower chair rail of a room. But putting it on the ceiling adds immediate interest and warms up an otherwise run-of-the-mill ceiling.

I am a huge fan of the beachy cottage vibe, but I can't commit to designing an entire house or even an entire room in that style. The beadboard on the ceiling helps bring in elements of the cottage look while pairing it with other styles. I love the sleek look of modern lines paired with the weight of vintage furniture underneath a sky full of beadboard. It evokes a lived-in, always-been-this-way feel that seems almost effortless.

And it's not just for kitchens and dining rooms. Check out this bedroom.

Courtesy of
I dream of having a breezy front porch like one of these some day.

Courtesy of
Courtesy of
But it sure does look good in the kitchen. Maybe some day....

Jenna's dream kitchen courtesy of

Monday, October 17, 2011

Working from home

So the past week has been quite a transition. I've moved from Chicago to Cincinnati. Went from a three-bedroom apartment to sharing a house with my parents (and my new husband) for the first time in 17 years.   And instead of heading to a bustling advertising agency on Michigan Avenue every morning...
The actual corner where my office is located.
I walk up the stairs to my parents' office and work from home.

I went from having meetings with my boss around his desk that is an actual boat, and taking in awesome views up Michigan Avenue...
Janet Davies of 190 North (a Chicago lifestyle show) doing a profile on interesting offices that featured my agency.
to working by myself, right here.

Don't get me wrong, I am so lucky A) to continue to work for my agency from home, and B) that my parents are gracious enough to let us pretty much take over their house, even their office. 

That said, the view is a little uninspiring. 

So as we look for houses, I am filing away office inspiration photos as I dream of my own glam home office. I love the crispness of white furniture with bold pops of color. 
Courtesy of FemTalk

Courtesy of FemTalk

I also love the cozy feeling these couches provide, plus the warmth of the brown tones. And having a window view would be amazing. 
Courtesy of Sarah Richardson

Do any of your work from home? Share your home office inspirations with us!