Clean and Crisp Wednesday, Apr 25 2012 

With the boom of Pinterest, anyone who isn’t planning their wedding-real or imaginary- is definitely decorating their one day “dream house.” The magic of home décor is that, unlike wedding planning, you can always keep garnering new ideas. Decorating carries no expiration date. No matter where you live now, there is always room for improvement, and no matter your budget, it’s always fun to look at dream ideas for the perfect “someday” home.

 

My hubby and I have a list of must haves for our future dream home. We bandy these ideas about, and over time, some fall off to the wayside, but some stick to each and every list we craft. We definitely need at least one large walk-in closet, a kitchen with double ovens, some sort of  fireplace, a ceiling fan in the bedroom, and plenty of large windows. I also have a wish list for my future home. Things that would be great additions and I’d love to implement/renovate over time. My master bathroom is very important to me. A bathroom is supposed to feel like a spa, and always smell accordingly. A haven of cleanliness and relaxation, the master bathroom is where I spend a huge portion of my time-showering, makeup application, hair styling, etc.

 

A major element of a beautiful bathroom is that it is white.

Soft and white. Clean and bright. Yes, I probably would work edelweiss into my fresh-flower rotation in my bathroom as well. 

 

 

Ivory, with its warmer tones, is my neutral of choice in all other regards (wedding color, living room palette, etc.) but for the bathroom and bedroom, only crisp white will do.

 

 

 

I also love a nice, plush towel. Call it an obsession, but I love nice thread count on towels and bedding. These are my absolute favorite white towels from Pottery Barn and the Hotel Collection from Macy’s… a HUGE perk of our wedding registry!

A fresh, clean white palette will make any space feel larger and more luxurious. By keeping the major color a lovely neutral, you can work in colorful accents over the years.

Right now, my accent is a dark, rich purple. I have a few plum hand towels, and a deliciously soft dark purple little rug in the bathroom entryway. Our current bath mat next to the shower is a softer lavender color, to ease the transition to the stark white shower curtain and other bathroom accessories.

 

 

What are your favorite bathroom décor ideas? Color schemes?

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of houseofturquoise.com

second photo courtesy of pinterestguccibags.com

third photo courtesy of yourdictionary.com

fourth photo courtesy of designstaging.com

fifth photo courtesy of remodelista.com

sixth photo courtesy of potterybarn.com

seventh photo courtesy of webnuggetz.com

eighth photo courtesy of southernliving.com

ninth photo courtesy of room-by-room.com

 

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The Art of Home Sweet Home Wednesday, Mar 7 2012 

My mom is visiting us in Charleston this weekend! And as I prepare (read: deep clean, scrub, sanitize, dust, vacuum and deep clean everything again) my apartment for her visit, I’ve been making a little mental list of thing I’m excited to show her. Besides our fabulous new Swiffer wet jet and wedding album-she has heard ravess about both but never seen either in person- I realize that I am incredibly excited to show her “my” stuff.

No, I don’t just mean show her all my shoes and cupcake tins and stuff considered “mine” instead of “ours” in my husband’s and my home. I want to show her “my” market, “my” car wash, “my” drycleaner, “my” Walgreens, “my” vet, “my” Target, “my” nail place, “my” China food place (ok, that one might be “ours”) and all the fabulous little finds I’ve carved out for myself in my new surroundings. We’ve only lived in Charleston for about five months, and in that time we’ve made little routines. We drive to work, drive home, and hit up all these great spots along the way.

 

I’m reminded when my parents visited me when I was studying abroad in Paris in the fall of 2009. (swoon, seems so long ago) They had been to Paris many times- both with my sister and me tagging along and without us- so they had seen Notre Dame, Montemartre, and far more fabulous places than I could introduce them to. But when they arrived, and I promptly showed them the list of places I wanted to take them (can you tell I’m into lists?), my dad said so genuinely “We’ve seen Paris. We want to see your Paris.”

 

So I proudly paraded them one of my absolute favorite places in Paris- where my two girlfriends and I had spent many an evening. You won’t find it in any Zagat or tour guide, and you will walk from le Metro 8 stop at L’Ecole Militairre all the way to La Tour Eiffel and just pass it by. “La Terrasse” had become our favorite local haunt- we could actually afford more than one glass of vin and could sit outside under the heated lamps and just watch the Parisian world go by. And their croque-madame was very likely my only source of protein in five months. I also took them to a teeny, tiny Italian restaurant off la rue Cler (jealous? You should be!) that they actually said they preferred over the fabulous restaurant Laduree. We did the touristy, fabulous stuff- shopping at Christian Louboutin store across from Carla Bruni’s house and indulging in a dinner at Fouquets, 99 avenue des Champs Elysees-but the moments I remember the most were riding “my” Metro line or enjoying a quiet cup of chocolat chaud at the little café on my street, peeking up at La Tour Eiffel in le septieme arrondissement, my home for four months.

It might not be Paris, but Charleston is my new home, and I am so excited to show off the little treasures I have discovered! But first, I must get back to cleaning my apartment before Mom arrives!

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of prlog.com

second photo courtesy of amipost.com

third photo courtesy of france-travel-secrets.com

fourth photo courtesy of eiffeltower.us

fifth photo courtesy of swifferwetjetreview.com

A Very Newlywed Christmas Wednesday, Dec 7 2011 

Welcome, Christmas, come this way.

 

I love Christmas. Christmas trees, Christmas cookies, Christmas colors, Christmas music. Especially music. One of my all-time favorite Christmas songs is “Welcome Christmas” from How the Grinch Stole Christmas- when all the who’s sing together at the end even though they don’t have any presents…I feel my heart growing larger with the Grinch’s and the tears welling up in my eyes.

 

 

This Christmas, 2011, is our first newlywed Christmas, our first Christmas officially living together. (As in, when we go home for Christmas, we’re actually allowed to sleep in the same room. Yay!) We are so lucky that we get to spend Christmas with both my family and my husband’s family- I can’t imagine “splitting” the holidays or switching every year. The magic and romance of Christmas Eve and the utter gleeful chaos of 7am Christmas morning just can’t be beat, and we get to experience every moment together.

 

Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day!

 

As much as I love Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, the most enjoyable part of Christmas is the season leading up to the big day. The two or three weeks before December 25th are probably my favorite two weeks of the year. Made even more so by the fact that for the first time in four years, I’m not battling end-of-semester projects and finals while trying to get into the holiday spirit! Shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating, more shopping, more wrapping, etc. Everything is so beautifully lit up, and everyone is just a little bit nicer to each other. The holiday spirit is infectious: I see a definite surge toward letting someone go ahead of you in traffic, or holding the door for a burdened-down shopper. Just don’t take the last Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks, please, and I can be super nice to everyone. Because, after all, it’s Christmas.

A huge part of the Christmas magic and pre-Christmas season is the weather. The promise and anticipation of snow, seeing your breath in ghostly puffs as you hurriedly bustle from the department store to your car and crank up the heat. Gorgeous soft coats, yummy scarves wrapped around your nose, and slipping your chilled toes into cozy slippers when you get home after a long day of shopping are major elements of the holiday festivities for me. That’s why, this season, the anti-seasonal weather in Charleston is severely cramping my Christmas style. It just looks weird to see Santa in his big red furry suit- he must be sweating his beard off. It’s literally been hovering around 70 degrees since before Thanksgiving, and it is just so hard to think about sugar cookies, wreaths, reindeer dish towels, and any sort of Christmas shopping while wearing flip-flops and tank tops.

 

Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp.

 

But it is our first newlywed Christmas, and our very first “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree together that’s really ours. With our own ornaments- my very favorite special ornaments that my mom has presented me with every year, and some from my husband’s childhood that were gifted to us before we moved. Seeing our very own tree, with our own Nativity scene on the dining table, and our own little polar tables on the mantle, plus my fabulous holly, snowflake and Santa dish towels and pot-holders make me gleeful with the feelings of the season.

 

Christmas also makes me thankful for everything I have- my family, our health, our wonderful pets, and of course the fact that we are able to fly home to spend Christmas with our entire immediate family and living grandparents. We’re able to shower each other with trinkets and love. We can indulge in a home-cooked turkey, cranberry sauce, Egg Nog and the very best of holiday baked goods while spending time together. The Christmas season also makes me think of those who aren’t as fortunate- not just in this economy, but those who are separated from their loved ones or family members or who have lost someone they used to spend Christmas with. Christmas is really about love, companionship, friendship and togetherness- with the occasional Pumpkin Spice Latte and Christmas carol.

Even if I was wearing flip-flops while I hung my deliciously-scented wreath, I was fortunate enough to hang that wreath on our very own front door, the first of many in our journey together.

 

Christmastime will always be, just as long as we have glee. 

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of basementrejects.com

second photo courtesy of sodahead.com

third photo courtesy of fun.familyeducation.com

fourth photo courtesy of misfittoys.com

For the Home: Scented Candles Saturday, Aug 13 2011 

You know how people have signature scents? When you catch a whiff of a certain aroma, it reminds you of them. Their home, car, clothes and even gifts from them carry the scent. When someone walks into your home, whether it’s the UPS guy delivering a package, your neighbors stopping by for tea, or even the in-laws popping in for an impromptu visit, it is of the utmost importance to keep our home smelling inviting, at all times. You want people to associate you, and your home, with a warm, delicious smell. Whether you inhabit a tiny studio apartment or a sprawling mansion, scent is the quickest way to add the “cozy” and “luxury” factors.

 

With two kittens in the house, plus all the new cooking adventures I’ve been embarking upon lately, with the stress of working all week, planning a wedding and making time to work out, a scented candle takes on a new power.

Candles and scents are vital to my relaxation and stress relief. We are all familiar with the power of scented candles to transport us to a far away land, whether it’s a beach on the isle of Hawaii, a meadow of flowers, a kitchen full of warm, from-the-oven cookies, or even into a basket of fresh laundry. Instead of heavy, thick aerosol sprays, a refreshing, intoxicating scent by candle is definitely the way to go. You instantly feel more comfortable and at home when surrounded by a warm flame.

 

There are of course the high-end, luxurious designer brands of candles (Jo Malone for the bathroom, anyone?) To bring the romance, there are several different varieties: soy, traditional wax, or even burning incense oil. But my favorites are of course the Yankee Candle classics, and the easy, cheap Glade options you can pick up at Tar-jay or the grocery store. My current favorite scents are Hawaiian Breeze, and Tommy Bahama’s Pineapple Paradise signature yellow fragrance.

 

 

I like to carry one fragrance throughout the entire house, but you can also organize your fragrances by room, or entice with a warm, strong candle flavor for the upstairs and then transition to a lighter, more mellow trail for upstairs. Whichever you choose, scented candles are, in my opinion, the best way to keep your home smelling delicious all day long.

Keep in mind fire safety, however. With the kitties’ curiosity, protective candle holders are a must in my house. Sometimes I’ll leave an open flame to burn while I am sitting in front of the TV or waiting for laundry to finish. I love how the light fragrance carries throughout the entire house, even once I blow out the flame.

So grab some matches, pick up your favorite candle scent, and get to relaxing and indulging your senses!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Credits:

first photo courtesy of consumerqueen.com

second photo courtesy of cvs.com

third photo courtesy of tommybahama.com

fourth photo courtesy supersoygifts.com

Jersey, Jersey Friday, Dec 10 2010 

Sorry, this isn’t about New Jersey. No offense to Teresa Guidice or any other Garden State dwellers. This is a little ode to the wonderful bedroom fabric that is jersey.

Our beds should be the center of our universe. Even if you’re not a “bed” person like I am, who does homework and eats soup and watches re-runs of Glee on hulu.com on or in their bed, your bed should be a haven of comfort and happiness. The coziness of a cloud. The warmth of a hug. The snugness of a cocoon. How does one achieve these heavenly attributes in your own bed?

Easy. Indulge in the softest of sheets. My personal favorite fabric for bedtime warmth? Jersey.

I have no idea what it’s made of, how they make it so soft, or where it comes from in the world, but I do know where you can get it: the answer is anywhere. It is so easy to find- and not expensive at all. Check out Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, or of course, Pottery Barn for the latest in cozy, stretchy luxury for your nighttime or napping needs. They come in fantastic colors- currently I curl up on a magenta pillow that contrasts with lime green sheets with a pink trim.

(photo courtesy of bedbathandbeyond.com)

Runner-up for softest sheet fabric: Bamboo! Crazy, yes, but I was shocked to learn that sheets with just a hint of bamboo in their texture get soooo much softer each time you wash them. This is true of all sheets, but especially easy with the special bamboo sheets. These are a bit harder to find, but worth the search. I found some great ones at Bed Bath & Beyond, but not every location carries the best selection.

(photo courtesy of brookstone.com)

ATTENTION FRESHMAN: you do NOT have to buy the sheets from the catalogue that Loyola sent you. We all did it, and now I’m stuck with a collection of paper thin pink and peach sheets that are so scratchy that I’ve banished them to the bottom of my sheet supply pile. I know Loyola told you that “regular sheets don’t fit our beds!” in a warning font, but don’t fret, if you just look for sheets marked “Twin Extra Long” at Pottery Barn or anywhere else, and select your own scrumptious linens. Upside: be eco and save those scratchy sheets once you’ve replaced them with a much more plushy option, and use the old ones to protect furniture when you paint your own apartment one day!

So, the cooler weather is here, so now is the best time to stock up on the yummiest sheets out there. What’s better than crawling into a warm, comfortable, and glamorous bed after a long day? Find your perfect color and coziest fabric, and hit the sack in style!