Monday, January 30, 2012

mama's got a brand new mantel...

if you've read my blog from the beginning, you know that I had a long running battle with my wimpy mantel in Chicago.

It makes me anxious just to look at that mess of a mantel. Well, now we're in our new home and our mantel is HUGE.

There are so many things we can do with it but for now I am repurposing items we had in our condo.
soon after unpacking our mantel looked like this.

I kind of took everything as I had it paired at our old place and used it "as is." It was fine, but wasn't really cohesive. The top of the mantel was too disjointed for my liking.

The height relationship among the vases was too small for the space. While the colors of the vases and the accents inside of them were just a little off. SIDE NOTE: The two pictures on the right are staying there for now until they move to their permanent home in other rooms. But we love them so much we are keeping them on the mantel for now. 

The bottom area of the fireplace was kind of a collection of things that didn't have a home. The vase filled with decorative green straw globes is my favorite piece, so I just put it out there until I could find a place for it. The decorative cream colored swirly disc was a flea market find that I just can't figure out what to do with. But for now, it houses my workout equipment. The basket of blankets had to stay. I am one of those people who has to have a blanket on while watching TV, even if I'm not cold.

So after playing around with the different pieces, here is the new fireplace/mantel arrangement.

I took the globe-filled cylinder and put it atop the mantel to fill the space better and make the most of the height of the fireplace. I then removed the spiral sticks from the green vase, put them in the white vase and switched places with the silver candle holder. By simply rolling all of the blankets and arranging them in the basket, it helped to create even more interest at the base of the fireplace even though there are fewer accents.

The new look plays in nicer with the overall look of the room (excuse the bad TV capture). It is simplified and doesn't distract from the rest of the room. You may be wondering what happened to the pieces I removed. Well, never fear! Those pieces have been repurposed and will be featured in an upcoming post.

The mantel is still a work in progress, but as it stands, I am happy with the look. for now...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

stick with me...

I have a love/hate relationship with my nails. I love to get them done but I hate when they start to chip, so I have to remove the polish immediately. I did the gel manicures for a awhile and they were amazing, but $$ and made my nails pretty thin. I am horrible at painting them on my own and the polish is usually off in a matter of days. So imagine my surprise when I found a product that looks great, stays put and costs very little.
Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips. Essentially they are stickers for your nails. However, they are made out of nail polish (I have no idea how) so they look like you painted your nails with polish. The beauty of it, though, is that the strips come in various sizes and are curved on both ends. So you can find the perfect fit for your nail and really get right down to the nail bed without worrying about getting polish all over your fingers and cuticles. They last up to 10 days and can be removed with simple polish remover. 

I chose Wishful Pinking for my first foray with nail strips and have gotten great compliments on them. 
They look just like polish, haven't come off in the shower or when washing pots and pans, and they are only $8 for a box of 16 strips. Mine have already lasted longer than any traditional manicure – and I don't know about you, but I've never gotten a manicure for $8. 

They come in 40 different colors and are available at most drug stores and big box stores like Target and Walmart. Try them out and let me know what your color of choice is.

PS: as a friend on Facebook just pointed out there is another bonus: no drying time!

Monday, January 23, 2012

first project is underway...

as you know, we moved into our house a few weeks ago and my first project is already underway: my home office. 

This is my inspiration photo:

This Saturday, my hubby, parents and I set out for IKEA to purchase the Melltorp Dining Table pictured above to use as my desk. It is a genius idea and creates a sleek look with more workspace than a traditional desk. 

I wasn't able to find a swivel chair that was a bold color or in budget, so I changed courses. I figured, I'm using a dining table for my desk, why not a dining chair for my office chair? The online search began and I settled on this one from Pier One:
So after IKEA, we headed to Pier One. While the chair was pretty, in person it wasn't as bold as I wanted. But thankfully they had a million chairs to choose from and I found the most beautiful midnight blue and mocha colored chair. 
And a beautiful damask pattern:

The back even had a surprising detail:
It just spoke to me. I had to bring it home. And it will look beautiful with the white desk. 

Currently my office looks like this:

It's a hodge-podge of papers, printers and wires but hopefully in the next week, I'll have lots of positive progress to report. Assembling the desk is up next, then I need to find a credenza, ottoman and wall decor. I discovered a few thrift shops in the area so hopefully I'll have time to visit them after work this week. 

With the change in chair color, I have modified my color palette too. Now I am thinking it's going to be:

 Gold, mustard, white and midnight blue. Here we go....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

say it ain't so sandra...

I've made no secret that I am a Sandra Rinomato fan. I even tried to get us on Property Virgins when we were starting our house hunt. I got so much great insight on home buying from that show. So today is an extra sad day for me.

After turning on Property Virgins and seeing some new woman on the latest episodes, I did some sleuthing (i.e. googling). And it turns out my real estate hero has quit the show. This is her message to fans via her Facebook page:

After 130 episodes and 10 seasons, I have chosen to give up Property Virgins in 
favour of my new show called Buy Herself. We are currently in production for 
HGTV Canada and are scheduled to premier in March 2012. I hope that the show 
will get picked up for the US territory as well,since I have such devoted fans!

I am really excited about the new show as it delves into the very change that is 

happening around us. For the first time in history, a significant number of 
women are buying real estate on their own, taking charge of their financial situations, 
whether they have delayed marriage, decided not to marry, or belong to the 
stat that says 41% of marriages end in divorce. Women buying real estate is not a fad,
 it’s history in the making and I am very proud to be a part of it on TV.

The show is filled with fun and drama, and will entertain and inform.
I can’t wait for you all to see it!
Thanks for your loyalty and all of your incredible comments today and always!

Love to you all,

No offense to the new host, but she doesn't have the same spunk and energy that Sandra does. Here's hoping her new show gets picked up on HGTV US.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." 

Do something positive today. Do something for someone else. Let your light shine in the darkness. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

st. lucia sounds good right about now...

baby, it's cold outside. although the white death they were predicting turned out to be more like mild flurries, it's still bitter cold outside. in an effort to usher in the warmer temps – and keeping in line with yesterday's sunshiny post – I painted my nails a color I would usually reserve for the warmer months.

Essie's St. Lucia Lilac. 

It's my version of a rain dance, or a sunshine dance. Whatever you want to call it, I hope it summons the weather gods to bring back the warm and sunny temperatures. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

sunshine in the snow....

Judging by the crowds at the grocery store today, a snowstorm is coming. So in addition to the ingredients for Sunday's chili, I picked up something to brighten a potentially snowy day. 

 Have a sunny snowy day wherever you are! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

the big day is finally here!

we're moving on Friday and we can't wait. we've closed on the house but our furniture can't be delivered until Friday, so we've been working to get the house spic and span beforehand. If I have any word of advice to people buying a new home – have your carpets professionally cleaned. It is amazing! I have been back to the house twice since they were cleaned and I just want to hug them, they are so awesome.
Once we're unpacked, the first order of business is getting my home office set up. As you know, I've been working from my parents' home office and have been daydreaming about what my office will look like. Well... I've found it. The perfect office. Behold...
Courtesy of Houzz
I definitely need multiple work spaces for all of the folders and papers I have. I love the idea of keeping everything in the credenza and then having a clean workspace. I love the white and the pop of color on the chair, while the gold lamps warm up the space. 

And the blue ottoman is a stroke of genius. Ask anyone that I worked with in Chicago, I was always propping my feet up on my guest chair, so this is perfect for me. I think I might flank tall white bookcases on either side of the credenza to hold books, pictures and background materials for my projects. 

Now I just have to figure out where to get the pieces and make this a reality. Any ideas?