Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January in review!

Hey hey! I can hardly believe the first month of the year is DONE. I know I say that every month, but for real. It’s crazy.

I’m back with another month in review for January! I kinda skipped over December, just because I was a little tired of looking at Christmas decor by the 31st. (Remind me of that come September when I’m chomping at the bit for Christmas to come.)

I started off the month with the first Before and After Party of the year, and I recapped some of the before and afters that I accomplished last year. The black interior doors in the kitchen were a favorite:

kitchen bay window

Go check out 441 before and after projects linked up here!

Next up I shared my anticipation for a few projects I’d like to accomplish this year. I’m super excited about all of them – I just hope I can find the funds, time and resources to get them done.

I’m really hoping to install built ins in the loft:

built ins around window 

Wouldn’t they be perfect right there?

I did a little bloggy series with a few friends of mine and my topic was making moola:

how to make money blogging

I really appreciated all of your comments on that one! Check out more of the Growing Your Blog posts here.

One day earlier this month I went shopping at Target and couldn’t believe all the awesome decor stuff they had. I shared a few of my favorites here.

I mean, who doesn’t love Target?!

target decor

Next up, I showed you the step by step process to make your own printables using Picnik:

make your own printables

Yes. I’ve heard the news that Picnik is closing down. No, I don’t want to talk about it. I’m still in mourning. :)

I know of a few different other options and will let you know what I end up using instead.

Scuffs feet.

Anyway, next up I shared a big project I’ve had rolling around in my brain for awhile…I’d like to change our completely unused dining room and turn it into a library:chocolate brown dining room

And you all totally convinced me to do it. ;) Yes, we already have a family room and a living room.  But I’d much rather have a space I know we’ll use and enjoy, instead of a pretty room that no one ever uses. Unused spaces give me hives.

Up next, I shared what I have in store for TDC in 2012, including a switch from Blogger to WordPress:

word press logo

I’m sceered. :)

Don’t forget the February Before and After Party will be February 6, and the Show Us Your House party will be the 20th, where we’ll be sharing closets of all shapes and sizes!

I FINALLY revealed my finished office! It took five years or something, but it’s done and I LOVE IT:

gallery walls I shared all of the details of the office (paint colors, sources and how-to’s) in the next post:

farmhouse desk

And you all showed off 144 craft and office spaces of your own!

We spent much of our Christmas vacation in the least decorated space in our house – our unfinished basement “family room”:

using an unfinished basement

I shared a little more about our plans to finish that space too. So exciting! No idea when it will happen, but so exciting!

I had been looking for the perfect piece for between our living room windows, and I finally found it on a trip to HomeGoods. I showed you how I accessorized it here:

bookcase accessories

Next up, I shared a deep dark part of myself – the fact that I am (and always have been) a night owl:

night owl

WOW, there was a big response to that post! So many of you are JUST like me! It was a relief, I gotta tell you. I’m on a mission to become a morning person, and I’m doing pretty well with it. (You may notice my posts are going up a tad earlier.)

I mentioned the other day that I’ve started using the Sleep Cycle app on my phone, and it. is. amazing. Have any of you tried it?

I showed off some of the amazing craft and office spaces that were linked up this month:

craft room ideas

And finished up the month by bragging on the city that I love, Indianapolis:

It’s such an exciting time here in Indy right now! So fun!

So there you go! Just in case you missed a post – we can’t have that now can we?

I’m knee deep in a pantry redo (seriously, knee deep in piles of food) that I was hoping to show you this week, but a nasty cold has taken hold and knocked me on my butt. I’m hoping to get more done tomorrow and finish it up this week!

You know, so we can find the food. :)


P.S. I think I said “shared” 67 times.

Monday, January 30, 2012

If you visit

super bowl XLVI

Helloooo there! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Today I’m going to brag on my hometown a bit…cause this is the biggest week of the year for us here in Indianapolis. You may have heard of a little thing called the Super Bowl? ;)

I’m a born and bred Hoosier and I SO love this state. I think the general thought when people think of Indy is that it’s may not have much to offer, but oh ho ho, you’d be so wrong.

I’ve traveled a lot in my 36 years and there is still no place I’d rather call home than in central Indiana. We’ve got the best of everything – although this time of year you won’t see much of the natural scenery. ;) (Visit southern Indiana during the fall for an especially spectacular show courtesy of Mother Nature.)

Indy knows how to party, and how to party with large crowds – we host the largest sporting event in the country every May. The Indy 500 attracts about 300,000 – the Super Bowl doesn’t even touch it.

I wanted to share some of the highlights of our city, the shops and restaurants and spots that we love then most. So if you are planning on visiting this week, consider this a possible itinerary. If you aren’t, this will help you to plan a trip. ;)

First up, the shopping. I don’t know what I like best – the food or the shopping. But I’m a girl so we’ll start with shopping.

If you fly in, you may want to skip these first two, just cause if you go, then you’ll find something and then you’ll be mad cause you won’t be able to take it home. I’m just thinking about you. (Not that it would be left for me or anything…)

I’ve declared my love for Midland Arts and Antiques a few times:

midland arts and antiques

It’s HUGE and it’s got plenty of every style – vintage to midcentury modern to industrial. You can see more of my Midland finds here and here.

Docs Architectural Salvage is another one of my favorite spots:

docs architechural salvage

This place doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it’s a feast for the eyes inside. It is a true salvage experience – they have some of the most spectacular chandeliers I’ve ever seen. (I talked about one of my favorite finds from Docs in this post.)

Silver in the City is another fun spot downtown, with all kinds of unique jewelry, funky gifts and cool home decor items:

silver in the city indy

And Mass Ave Toys is the coolest toy store I’ve ever visited:

mass ave toys

It is just fantastic!

If you venture north a few miles, you’ll reach Broad Ripple Village:

broad ripple village

It’s an eclectic mix of nightlife, eateries, shops and art. It’s also where we partied in college. ;) It’s fun at night or during the day – tons to look at and do! I grew up visiting this area as a kid, since I had so much family nearby.

Of course there’s a huge mall downtown, but if you head even further north, you’ll get to what I like to call the fancy mall, with stores like Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, Urban Outfitters and Saks.

If you have the kids, you MUST visit our Children’s Museum (consistently voted as the best in the nation). And if you have a little sports fan, you’ll want to check out the NCAA Hall of Champions along the downtown canal.

Now, let’s talk FOOD. Oh, the food.

Downtown Indy is home to the best steak I’ve ever eaten, at St. Elmo Steak House:

st. elmo steakhouse

I warn you –- it’s pricey. But fantastic. And I’m not a shrimp cocktail fan, but St. Elmo’s is known for it’s shrimp cocktail – make sure you have a pitcher of water nearby. ;)

One of our very favorite downtown spots is Bourbon Street Distillery:

bourbon street distillery

The food leans toward Cajun, but everything there is amazing. And if you go, make sure you go upstairs to eat --  it’s just a super cool atmosphere. (At night a little jazz trio or band may show up to play for you.) We love this place so much, we had one of our wedding receptions there. :)

A few of my other favorite downtown restaurants are along Massachusetts Avenue – if you love pizza, you MUST go to Bazbeauz Pizza (the quatro is my fave), Yats is another yummy Cajun restaurant (I love the jambalaya), and finally, MacNivens is great for pub food with a Scottish flair (try the scotch eggs!).

And no one plans a party like Indy – if you are visiting this week, you’ll want to check out the festivities downtown. One of my BFFs and I were able to get away to check it all out Sunday night:

indy circle

If you have the kids, you can’t miss the NFL Experience:

indy zip line

And if you are brave enough, try the zip lining outside. I was SO ready to do it but we didn’t want to wait. It looked SO FUN!

Georgia Street is completely blocked off for the Super Bowl Village:

There’s tons of heat lamps, plenty of heated tents (serving drinks – from hot chocolate to beer inside), and bunches of restaurants and bars line the street. An empty spot in the mall is opened up for a spot to warm up, eat, and shop for all kinds of football gear. (The Huddle – and you can leave your cell to charge for free – they babysit it!)

At the end of the Georgia Street, in front of Conseco Fieldhouse, there’s the biggest of two stages:

The concerts have been going since last Friday, and Fuel will be there Tuesday night, Darius Rucker and Edwin McCain on Thursday night, and LMFAO will be there Friday. (We may try to make it down again for that one – it will be a (crazy) blast!)

And of course, Madonna herself will be performing at the big game. :)

So there’s Indy in a nutshell – a few of my favorite shops and eateries if you visit this week, or anytime. And if you come to town, give me a holla!!

So, the big question is…who will you be cheering for?

giants vs pats

Are you surprised that this Indy girl will be rooting on the Manning team? I don’t think I’m allowed to cheer any other way. I’d get kicked out of the state or something. ;)

Which team will it be for you? Do you watch football? Have a Super Bowl party every year? Our city is buzzing – what a great experience!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pretty work spaces

Well happy Friday and weekend to YOU!!

I gotta say, your responses to my last post made me feel SO MUCH better. I certainly do not feel alone, especially since so many of you feel the way I do.

There were SO many great suggestions (yes, I read every comment) and a couple of you mentioned the Sleep Cycle app on the iphone. I had heard of it before and decided to give it a try.

You see, I don’t usually have a problem falling asleep – it’s getting my booty up that’s hard. I LOVE the sleep part. ;)

It’s totally freaky, but this thing works. I’ve only used it two mornings but it’s kind of blowing my mind. It somehow keeps track of your sleep patterns and wakes you during your lightest sleep phase. So if I set it between 7 and 7:30, it goes off when I’m sleeping the lightest during that time.

The first morning it went off and I felt fantastic. I didn’t even hit snooze! Today it went off and I snoozed it, but then realized right away I felt fine. So I got up within seconds of it going off both mornings. That’s happened…uhhh. Never?

It’s freaky. I can’t believe that a little dollar app would make that big of a difference, but so far it has. I’m going to keep using it to see if it keeps up, but I thought I’d mention to my fellow owls so you can try it out. :)

Anyhoo, today I wanted to share some of the amazing spaces that were linked up at the first Show Us Your House party here at TDC! This month’s room was the office or craft space. Since I shared my office redo this month, I thought it would be appropriate.

There were so many awesome ideas I just had to share!

Andrea’s space is so serene and pretty, and the cutting table in the middle of the room is ingenious:

Willow Wisp Cottage

She used two dressers and two dresser tops from IKEA – for less than $150! I LOVE that! And what great storage. I am SO doing this someday. If only IKEA would move closer, darn it.

Brook’s hubby made this a table for her craft space:

Being Brook

And again, only $150 to build it! If you’re handy, it’s a great option. I could see doing something similar with two short bookcases and a butcher block countertop – now my wheels are really turning!! ;)

Janel uses chicken wire all along one wall as a larger than life inspiration board:

Hating Martha

What a fun idea!

I love Bec’s wall of beautiful organization:

Little Lucy Lu

The shelves, brackets and buckets were all from IKEA (I guess it’s a good thing it’s two hours away) but you could totally recreate this with supplies from the hardware store!

There were some perfectly organized spaces throughout the links, but I wanted to share a few using pegboard. It’s is supa cheap – and I think it’s a brilliant way to organize!

Kellie makes it look easy with her pretty blue pegboard:

Nest of Posies

And Hayley uses it all over her walls in her basement craft room:

Mouse House Creations

You won’t even believe this space is unfinished! Bravo!

I love how Liz changed up a beat up dresser into a shelving system:

Liz Marie

The beadboard covering the top of the dresser was brillz. And this is a great option for when you want to store TV components in a dresser as well!

Carrie has one of the most organized spaces I’ve ever seen!:

Saving for Six

The girl makes plastic baskets and wire shelving look so good, for real!!

I love seeing how people make the most of awkward spaces! Jen had an unused spot in her dining room and you won’t believe everything she fits behind that wall!:

Jennifer Rizzo

This side looks pretty amazing too! ;)

Joanne used an unused closet and made a (pretty darn spacious) office out of it:

Double Wide in the Sky

Love it!!

Let’s end the officepalooza with a couple of pretties, eh?

I loved Julie’s bright craft room with the graphic black and white striped curtains:

Less Than Perfect

And all of the beautiful colors in Kammy’s craft space:

Kammy’s Korner

Love the ceiling and how she mixed all those colors!

So there you go! Some organization ideas and pretty pictures to inspire you! This week I moved my craft space to a different spot in our basement and I LOVE how it’s turning out. These links are making me even more excited for a finished room to decorate someday!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Holla!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Morning bird/Night owl

I’m at a crossroads in my life people. I’ve been a certain someone most of of my 36 years, and I desperately want to become another. It’s time. It needs to happen. Change is good. (I keep telling myself that.)

You see, I’m a night owl.

night owl image


That’s me…usually wide awake at midnight. (But I don’t need coffee -- I don’t even drink it.)

I’m making a conscious effort to try to become the opposite:


morning bird image

Again, without the coffee. I mean, is this a necessity? Please tell me non-coffee drinkers can be the bird.

Just look how happy he is. All alert and peppy and early. The owl just looks freaked out. I want to be the bird.

But…deep in my heart, in my soul, in my being, I just want to do this every morning:


It’s a struggle, to say the least.

I’ve always leaned toward being a later kind of person, but in my adult years it’s gotten worse and worse. When I worked full time and had to be in at 8 a.m., it was absolute torture.

I seemed to always push that 8 a.m. to 8:30, and then I’d stay till 5:30. That was just more comfortable for me.

Blogging doesn’t help. Or at least I use it as an excuse. As a blogger, my days have started and ended later every year. It’s gotten progressively worse. Initially it was because I’ve always blogged and done computer business while my son is asleep. (Which is just a personal decision for us.)

But now, I must come up with a better solution. I’m determined to make a change and I need help and reassurance that it can happen!

Help. me.

Because my kiddo goes to pre-K so few hours a week, it’s hard for me to blog while he’s gone. That’s a time for me to get stuff done, you know what I mean? And it’s just not in me to be functional (in that way) in the morning when he’s gone.

I’m also a procrastinator to a T – always have been. I was a huddle in the library and cram for an exam kind of person, and that always served me well.

Once I wrote a paper well ahead of time, to see if I could do it. It was the worst grade I got on a paper in my four year college career.

My mind just functions better when I have pressure, (that’s why I don’t schedule posts for the week – I have to come up with content by the day and write it as it comes) and it’s the same thing with working earlier in the day. I get in a zone when I write at night, there’s just something about it.

I can’t get in that zone during the day.

It’s weird.

But I’m determined to change my life where this is concerned. Why? Many reasons. One, I just feel out of touch with the world. It’s a yucky feeling waking up later than 90 percent of the world, (at least it feels like that) and knowing so much productivity has been happening while I slept.

I want to fall asleep when my husband does – I’m tired of being the only person awake in our home for hours on end at night. (Sometimes it’s nice, but lately it feels more and more lonely!)

My kiddo goes to school next year, and like it or not, I need to figure this out. I want to be awake and present for him and have plenty of time in the mornings for him to get prepared for the days too. Right now he would much rather go to bed later and sleep in (and that he does – it rocks). He’s turning into me. :)

The world is not a night owl world. Plan and simple. I mean, no one is on Facebook at 2 a.m. ;) And have you seen the television at that time? Thank goodness for the DVR. (And I ask you, where was the DVR for the 3 a.m. feedings five years ago??)

And finally, I’m working out (pretty intensely) again, and I find I feel SO much better when I start out my day with exercise. I feel more productive, more alert…just better. No, not just better, TONS better. It feels GREAT.

But my body fights me. It hates me. ;) I can easily stay up till 2 a.m. – if I had my own clock, that would be my bedtime. If I’m engrossed in a good book, I can stay up till 3 or 3:30 no problem.

I feel more comfortable working out late at night – it is totally not unusual for me to work out at 11 p.m. I know, I see some of your mouths gaping open. Close that, you’ll catch flies. ;)

Thing is, I’m OK once I’m UP. It’s just the getting there that’s the problem. I’ll hit snooze five or six times some mornings. And it doesn’t seem to matter how much sleep I get – my body just struggles no matter what time I went to bed.

I’ve actually done some research in my quest to become a morning lark. It’s quite fascinating too. Turns out whether you are a morning or evening kind of person is largely genetic (which I figured, since my mom is the exact same way). It also is kind of ingrained in you – your body clock (circadian rhythm) is just set a certain way and your body fights to follow it.

What I found most interesting is the consistent traits for each type of person. Studies have shown that night owls have higher intelligence/I.Q. (I don’t believe that personally), and tend to be more creative (that I totally believe.)

If you’re an early birdy and are offended by that, don’t be, because owls also score lower on tests than morning folks (isn’t that odd, considering the intelligence thing?) and are more likely to suffer from depression and/or addictions.

And you lucky morning folks seem to test much better and get better grades than people like me. And you catch the worm. I mean…who doesn’t want to catch the stinkin’ worm?!

early bird gets the wormI do. I really, really do.

Overall, I just know it needs to change. I want to eat breakfast in the morning (night owls rarely do), I want to not feel rushed and frantic in the mornings (night owls usually do). 

The best part of all this research is that I have hope – it most definitely can happen.

So, I’m trying. Lately, I’ve been forcing myself to go bed earlier. I now recognize that watching  just one more TV show or reading one more blog at 1 a.m. isn’t going to change my life for the better. Eight hours of sleep will. I realize that working out first thing in the morning makes me feel so. much. better. than when I exercise at night.

I want to help my kiddos lean toward a morning bird life too. My stepdaughter is at college and is already on the dark side with me…and when she gets a full time job, it’s gonna hurt. And I don’t want the Bub sleeping away his summer mornings when his friends are already out playing at 9 a.m.

It’s time for a change. And I’m working on it. :)

So, tell me. Are you are a lark or an owl? Do you like what you are, or do you struggle like me? Have any of you owls-at-heart changed to a morning person? Do you get up without an alarm clock? I’d love to hear your tips and anything that’s worked for you!

Thanks in advance! I’m off to get ready for bed. We’ll see how this goes. Cheer me on!!! ;)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Styling the new bookcase

Hey heyyyy! Hope you had a GREAT weekend and Monday! I spent a bit of time styling a new bookshelf – which I find just plain fun. If I’ve got time and the resources (aka STUFF from the basement), I find it oddly relaxing.

I totally get in a ZONE.

It usually takes me some time though, so I go through a process. A lot of placing something, stepping back, moving something, stepping back, switching something, stepping back. Lots of hokey pokey. And turn yourself around.

You last saw our living room after our new floors were put down last fall:

Pretty much immediately I started making changes. :)

I installed wainscoting around the room a couple years ago and it’s always bugged me that you couldn’t see any of it the way the room was set up.

I did some rearranging, which I liked, and then a few weeks ago came across a PERFECT addition for the space between the windows. It was a tall bookcase from HomeGoods:

I LOVED the detail on the sides and that it was open on the back. (So you can see some of my hard work.)

I’m kind of obsessed with the colors that are in the drapery fabric in this room:

p. kaufmann fabric

(You can see more about that fabric on my FAQ page.)

That deep peacock blue is my favorite. (And to think I never had an ounce of blue in this house only a couple years ago!) I’m trying to pull that and more of the green into the space.

I styled the shelves (or decorated them, but “styling” seems to be the word nowadays) over the weekend and wanted to share how I made it happen. The only challenge was that I wanted to use what I had – no shopping allowed. Although some of it I had gotten recently, it just happened to work perfectly. :)

One thing I do as I’m working on a space like this is to take pictures – it really gives me a different perspective to see it on the camera screen. I don’t know why, but it does.

The top shelf holds some of the more recent finds, and they were from a local antique shop. I just discovered it and I can’t believe it’s been under my nose all this time! I can’t wait to go back. :)

I found the most adorable brass owl, and had to add him to the shelves somewhere. The vintage books were just beautiful and worked with the colors in this space perfectly:


I had to add something to the back to cover the meeeellions of holes on that wall. I can patch them but don’t have the wall paint anymore, and it’s not made anymore either (and I know from experience it wouldn’t color match perfectly.) Soooo…I have holes. (I have an plan to rectify this though…it’s number 464 on my list.)

The little pot was from Goodwill, isn’t it cute?:

bookcase decorating

The faux plant is from IKEA – it is the most realistic fake plant I’ve ever seen!

The next shelf is pretty self explanatory:

dough bowl

Ack. Darn HOLES!

The wood dough bowl was a Wuslu.com find – I LOVE it. I just filled it with my rattan balls and dollar store mossy rocks that I had.

I was going to add something to the back, but it got too busy.

Moving on down, I tried to pull more of that beautiful blue, and the green from the drapes in with the next shelf:

decorating a bookcase

The ceramic candle holder was a clearance find at Cost Plus a few months ago, and the green jar was a Goodwill find years ago. (It was covered in old rattan and I took it off.)

That photo is a good example of how I like to use accessories that make your eye move up and down. I use that little rule often and it always works.

The bottom shelf had one more Cost Plus item – a storage box I picked up a few weeks ago, a couple more books I already had in those lovely colors:

accessorizing shelves

That pedestal was horribly tarnished when I found it, but this stuff always does the trick:

silver polish

With a little elbow grease it made it shine!:

After much hokey pokeying, I finally came up with a display I liked:

I’m pretty happy with it, considering I was using stuff from my stash.

And ignore the missing drapery panel – those are getting a little redo too. ;)

I LOVE how the bookcase fills in the this space between the windows:

homegoods bookcase

It fits perfectly, and it’s got tons of character too, so unique!

I love looking back to see how this space has transformed over the years – first the red and black days:

You can see how to knock off those Ballard Design shelves here.

Here it is last year with showing the difference new drapes and some color can make:

And here it is now, sans a couple drapes:

jacobean floors

Before and afters are my very favorite things. :) Other than fried chicken. And reality TV.

Believe it or not, I don’t have a lot of spaces I can decorate with accessories in our house, so I love having a new spot!

I hope to change up a few more things in here in the next few months. Me saying that out loud means it will probably happen next year. Whatever. I can hope.

So, do you struggle with accessorizing? Styling? Whatever? ;) Do you have tricks that work for you? Anymore I head straight to Pinterest for ideas too, or even catalogs. They have some GREAT inspiration! (I even have a “vignette” board on Pinterest!)