Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Elegant Guest Bathroom Design




Hi Everyone! I'm switching gears here a bit today to share a different kind of post. Many of you who have followed along here for a while know that I'm an Interior Designer / Home Stager by day and you may have even seen some of my work via the e-design page above. Some of you have even left comments or e-mailed me over the years to share some of my work her with you all.

Nearly 3 years ago, my precious daughter Lily was born and I made the decision to enjoy all of her 'firsts' by becoming a stay-at-home then work-at-home mom. Since my business involves a lot of face-to-face meetings for design and home staging consultations, I quickly realized that in order to keep working I needed to have an online decorating option which not only allowed me to continue to offer my services locally here in the central Florida area (without hiring a babysitter) but it also opened up new territory by expanding my interior decorating services nationwide and beyond. I currently have clients worldwide, the majority however are still within the U.S.





One of my favorite e-design projects has been working with a family who was renovating their California home room-by-room. They later moved elsewhere and reached out to me once again to work alongside of them and their contractor to build their forever home. Since they are currently under construction and these spaces are not yet completed (nor photographed), I thought I'd share with you a couple mood boards of the designs I created. I began with the guest bathroom which is used by their family of 4, particularly their your children (son and daughter), as well as guests. I envisioned an elegant space that wasn't filled with bold, bright colors and didn't scream 'kids bath' but instead was a space they'd grow into and the style would flow with the rest of their home. Below I'm also sharing the links to the items chosen for this space in case you see something you like. *Please note some items are no longer available as this time.


GUEST BATHROOM SOURCES:

Carrarra Marble Tile 2x8 shown rom tileshop.com no longer available
Pink Potted Orchid (local garden center)
Showerhead Fixture -Home Depot no longer available
Flamingo Print -sold out (similar: here)
Rise & Shine print -not shown but included in the design
Paint Color: Blizzard Fog by Valspar


I also designed a home office space for the lady of the house who frequently brings office paperwork home and wanted a light, relaxing, airy, feminine and elegant retreat that allowed seating for her family who may pop in so say hello or the occasional visit from her assistant. If you keep reading to the end, you can see that mood board in my interview I mention below.

Now that spring is in full swing, for a limited time I'm offering 20% OFF all e-Decorating services! *Offer ends 05/22. This spring special is available to my readers who would like to refresh & update a room (or multiple rooms) in their home! I'll provide a mood board, floor plan layout + list of where to buy all of the furnishings and accessories for your space along with paint color selections, all for just $199!! This is a fraction of the cost of working traditionally with a local Interior Designer and also make a great gift for someone who wants a change but doesn't know where to begin. I work within all budgets. Visit my e-Design page where you can learn more about this service and see other examples of my work. E-mail me directly to get started!




Recently Floor Coverings International reached out to me to do an interview sharing with them my passion for both this blog as well as interior design. You can see our conversation on their blog.

As a Designer, while certain colors, patterns or an overall style sets the tone for the spaces I design, when beginning the design of any room, I always start with the flooring, working from the ground up in a layered effect whether it be tile, hardwood, bamboo or carpet for example before choosing rugs, furniture and accessories. If you're designing your own space, it's a good rule of thumb to follow to ensure you're happy with the overall design and maximize your investment in your home ensuring to get it right the first time.


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I'd love to know, what ways are you currently freshening up your home for spring?

Thanks for reading,

XO


Monday, May 16, 2016

Why You Should Dress Up More Often




When I graduated College and entered the workforce, one rule I always lived by was 'dress for the job you want, not the job you have'. At times I've felt a bit overdressed compared with my colleagues however, I can't tell you how many times new co-workers have mistaken me for upper management. A big part of that was how I chose to present myself in terms of what I wore coupled with a serious down-to-business demeanor that my husband lovingly refers to as 'Karla from Corporate'.

I think the same holds true for our personal lives, we should dress appropriately for the occasion but do so in a way that exudes confidence and allows us to showcase the very best of our wardrobe vs. saving it for a special occasion and opting to live in cozy favorites instead. We never know who we may meet and what opportunities might arise if we first dress the part. We may meet our future employer, business partner or even husband, so it's always wise to put our best foot forward. Doing so may lead to dating a different kind of man or you may find yourself in different social circles as a result which could in turn lead to a variety of wonderful prospects. 

Make no mistake, clothing most certainly does not 'make' the woman, it is just one aspect of a lady. However, making the effort shows a different level of respect for others and one's self, dressing up also provides a certain sense of allure and mystery, some may wonder where you're headed later and presume you live a highly exciting life. When you dress up more often, other areas of your life will improve too-the way you keep your home, how clean you keep your car, the way you eat. A basic, 'that'll do, good enough' approach to certain aspects of life will no longer suffice, it will be replaced with, not perfection, but the desire for excellence and a more lovely presentation of one's self and life. These are the ways of a classy woman.





Today's post echoes one I wrote a few months ago titled: 10 Benefits to Being Well Dressed. In it I got into more detail on the reasons why we should endeavor to look our best and always opt to step out with our best foot forward. Some may be reasons you hadn't thought about and I hope to encourage well thought out attire whether for work or play.

A few of the ways I elevate my own look for a more dressy ensemble even if I'll be enjoying a casual day out, are by adding a jacket or blazer to jeans, bermuda shorts, a dress or paired with a feminine a-line midi skirt (or another structured jacket such as leather or even a pretty cardigan) in addition to considering footwear that accompanies the overall look. To give you some inspiration, here are the 10 Jackets Every Classy Woman should own. The great thing about shoes is that even if you're headed somewhere where heels are impractical, you can opt for a gorgeous pair of flats and keep your heels in the car (or your bag) for later when you may in fact need them for a sit down venue such as a dinner out. Likewise, if you're headed out the door and want to look your best, wear a pair of pumps and keep those ultra-comfy ballet flats (or another pair of more comfortable shoes with you) so your feet won't have to suffer. Personally, I always keep a pair of black flats in my car to change into while driving for both safety and comfort.

Accessories can also really transform the look of an outfit-a gorgeous pair of chandelier earrings, a beautiful clutch, a statement necklace or a belt that pulls a look together and defines the waist are all necessary to create a polished look. In my opinion though, if one intends to look more dressed up and ladylike, the easiest way to achieve this is by wearing skirts and dresses. I know it's not the 1950's and don't get me wrong, I love wearing denim and dress pants just as much, however, there is something so romantic and feminine about a beautiful dress and to keep it from becoming overly dressy, a gorgeous jewel embellished sandal or lace pointy toe flat would be the perfect accompaniment, especially on weekends for brunch, shopping, or meeting up with friends. For the office, some standout choices will always be a sheath and shift dresses that hit at the knee which are great options for allowing you to remain professional but remind others that you are in fact, a woman, even if you happen to be working in a man's world.





Below I'm sharing some of my favorite dresses + skirts, I hope it inspires you to add a few more dressier pieces to continue to build your own timeless and classy wardrobe. Ann Taylor is currently running a 40% OFF sale right now with code: MYSTERY40.











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Thanks so much for stopping by!

XO




*image credit

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day Then and Now



OUTFIT DETAILS:

{On Me} Dress: Boutique (similar floral maxis here, herehere, here, here in black, love this one)
Wedges: Nine West old (similar color/styles here, here, here, here, here + here)
Earrings: Majorica //  Bangles: Forever 21
Sunglasses: Target (not shown) *Designer version here // Straw Tote: Mar y Sol (not shown) 

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{On Lily} Top: Janie & Jack old (similar herehere)  //  Leggings: Janie & Jack
Sandals: Cherokee  //  Hair Bow: Cherokee old (similar here)
Sunglasses: Janie & Jack (not shown)




Hi Lovelies! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Mother's Day weekend with your mom and/or families. We sure did and the weather was just perfect for it! We typically spend the day together with my husband's parents who live nearby (since my own mom lives back home in Toronto) however this year, my in-laws decided to escape for a week-long getaway so we're planning to celebrate with them later this week when they return. Since it was just our little family of 3, we decided to keep things simple by enjoying brunch at home then heading to the beach for the afternoon followed by a casual family dinner out.

We had the best time at the beach building sand castles, jumping through waves, splashing in the water and taking in the warm salty air. Lily was so focused on digging in the sand and filling up her pail, it was cute to watch. Although we were only there for a few hours, it was still relaxing and exactly what we needed. The beach is definitely our happy place, there's something so wonderful about getting a dose of natural Vitamin D, Vitamin Sea, feeling warm sand under your feet and hearing the waves crashing, it seems to make all the cares of the day disappear.













Here's a look at what I wore on Mother's Day. I recently picked up this breezy red floral maxi dress locally and paired it with my favorite gray wedges (last seen here paired with blush pink + white denim,  here with gray floral denim + black and a close-up worn with my very favorite nailpolish color here. It gets so hot here in Florida so quickly that I live in dresses 3/4 of the year. Lily was having fun picking jasmine flowers off our vine and offering them to me. Every year on Mother's Day it's a tradition that Lily and I take mother-daughter photos together outdoors (usually on our property). I realized that I haven't shared the previous years here (with the exception of my maternity photo below from this bump update post), so I thought it would be fun to finally share those photos below. It's amazing to see how fast little ones grow! :) She is at a stage that I'm loving, I honestly wish I could keep her this age for a long time. I will forever treasure these photos and I feel so incredibly blessed to be her mother.



2015- Lily was 20 months old.



2014- My 1st official Mother's Day! Lily was 8.5 months old.




2013- My 1st unofficial Mother's Day! I was 25 weeks along.


As a young girl, I always dreamed of being a mom one day and as an adult prayed for many years that I'd get to experience having a baby of my own, I especially wanted to have a little girl, which I'm forever grateful for now having. Having a daughter has changed me in the best possible kind of ways and above all other things, I believe that motherhood is the greatest gift and calling in life-nothing else compares to it! No matter what else I accomplish in my lifetime be it my career or otherwise, raising my sweet girl will always be my most important and meaningful life's work. Words alone cannot adequately express what my precious daughter means to me. She is the joy and love of my life, my best friend and each day I look forward to the funny new things she'll say or do and the sweetest cuddles + kisses. I live for hearing these 4 words: "I love you Mama'.




GET THE LOOK:








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I'd love to hear how you spent the day with your own mother and/or family. :)

As always, thanks for reading!

XO

Monday, May 2, 2016

Manners Monday: Business Card Etiquette




As we become increasingly more social both online via social media as well as offline, the lines of business and personal have become a bit more blurred these days. Whether you own your own business, are a professional within a company or have just begun an Etsy shop to showcase your creations, it's important to know what's good business and what crosses the line,Having owned an Interior Decorating company for several years, I know firsthand the importance of networking and getting the word out about my company in order to continue to add new clients to my roster and gain valuable referrals. While it is important as an entrepreneur to make marketing a primary focus, there are times when mixing business with pleasure is just not appropriate.

Often times, while making conversation with someone we've just met, they'll politely ask about what we do for a living and follow-up with a few more interested questions. Sometimes this is just their way of carrying polite conversation and others times they may in fact be quite intrigued. If they really want your card though, they will ask. In the case of a specific business meeting or business networking event where one can expect to collect many cards over the course of the event, it's wise to arrive prepared to hand out several business cards (and always wise to keep a small box in your glove compartment of your car at all times-you never know who you might meet!) As such, you really can't go wrong by handing your card out to anyone who may seem like a potential fit as a customer or someone who you look to further connect with at a later date.

When receiving business cards from other, writing a little note to yourself on the card that will jog your memory later about a conversation you had or someone you both know in common, or perhaps an idea you both discussed will make things easier if you've receiving numerous cards over the course of the evening. Be sure to place them in a separate card case or somewhere the cards will not get bent. Try to avoid placing them in your back pocket, coat pocket or shoving them into your handbag. If I'm not at an event, I'll tuck it into my own business card holder or my wallet. This shows a bit more respect and assures that it won't get lost in the shuffle.




There are, however, a few specific instances when it would be considered poor taste to give out business cards. Personal events such as weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, baptisms, birthday parties, dinner parties just to name a few. Any time you are invited to these types of events, your sole focus should be the guest(s) of honor while having fun and mingling with those you've never met before. Choosing to sell yourself at these kinds of private events can make others feel uncomfortable and can make the host or guest of honor feel as though you have ulterior motives for attending.

Giving out a business card when it hasn't been requested can make you appear a bit pushy, overbearing or an opportunist. Besides, if you've invested in quality stationery and business cards, you'll probably want to hold on a bit tighter and not just hand them out to everyone you meet, reserving them for those who truly have interest or mention they know of someone who could benefit from your products or services.


You might also enjoy reading these related posts:










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As always, some of our best conversations happen in the comments below! I'd love to hear your own experiences. Have you ever attended a personal event where someone went overboard trying to sell you on their company?

Thanks for reading!

XO




Monday, April 25, 2016

Springtime in the Rose Garden



OUTFIT DETAILS:

TOP: Boutique (similar here, blue)  // JEANS: Merona old (love these + 30% off!)thesethese)
ESPADRILLES: J.CREW (also in black) *30% OFF w/code: SCORE 
RING SET:  Banana Republic old (similar) //  SUNGLASSES: Target (Tom Ford version)
WATCH: Fossil  //  PEARL BRACELET: Nadri  // BANGLE: Forever 21 old  (similar)
EARRINGS: Jewel Mint old (similar)  //  NAIL POLISH: Essie (color: Ole Caliente)

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During this time of year it's so easy for me to become distracted  (anyone else?) while working at the kitchen table in front of our large window when the sunshine and warm breeze gently kiss my skin and tempt me to come out and play. Right now we also have a confederate jasmine vine in full bloom along our property that I just can't get enough of, the scent is both delicious and intoxicating!

I confess that I'm not someone who enjoys very hot and humidity weather for a long stretch of time so as you can imagine, living in Florida, this poses a challenge during the majority of the year. On a side note, we had the best time in California and there are serious considerations for moving there. I live for the months of January through April here and spend as much time outdoors as possible. A few days ago, I picked up some groceries along with a bunch of sunflowers then decided to make my way to one of my favorite local parks that just so happens to have the most fragrant and beautiful rose garden. The relaxing fountain and delicate roses made for the perfect backdrop for today's casual outfit shoot. This is a typical outfit that I wear daily when I'm not meeting clients, I always strive for a look that is somewhat effortless yet put-together at the same time. I definitely don't wear a lot of white around Lily, because let's face it, toddlers will destroy white faster than anything else however for drop-off and pick-up to school during the week, it's usually pretty safe.








I purchased this mint top locally a few weeks ago and knew it would pair well with both dark denim as well as white shorts, jeans and skirts. I've owned this pair of cropped white denim Merona jeans that I picked up at Target for a few years now, I bought them when I was in the very early stages of pregnancy with Lily because I loved how much stretch they had so I could wear them afterwards as well. Since they are not maternity, I still wear them however, in humid weather especially if I'm bending/sitting a lot the material is such that they tends to stretch out of shape (as they did this day after wearing them all afternoon since they were never a tight fit) so I'm on the hunt for a new pair that keep their shape, so far I'm loving these and they're 30% OFF right now!, or this pair under $75 and this pair comes in 8 other colors!

I decided to bust out a recent find which you may have seen on instagram-this structured navy Zac Posen satchel that I picked up for a steal. I had had my eye on this lighter spring version but I couldn't pass this one up as it was well under half off and more in line with my budget. Although it's technically seen as a fall color, I still wear navy well into the spring and summer as it pairs so well with red + white or with softer colors such as blush pink, pale blue or even bright fuchsia or yellow. I'm looking forward to using it year round and it's such a sturdy well-made bag that holds a lot which I've learned is very important with a little one as I've transitioned away from using a diaper bag!





I have had my eye on these gorgeous cat eye Tom Ford sunnies however, at $400 they are not in the budget right now. I was so excited to stumble upon this nearly identical dupe for less than $20!  They are so much nicer on person than on the website and they have full 100% UV protection (not UV absorptive like many inexpensive sunglasses that allow the rays in-something to look out for). Even though she has her own, Lily loves to wear mama's sunglasses and broke a pair right before our spring break trip, so I tend to only wear budget-friendly ones around her now.








I bought these leather cognac color Espadrille wedges (30% off!) recently and love how comfy they are, even for hours at a time, they also come in black and I may get the second color as it's so versatile. I decided to paint this bright pop of color on my toes (one of my go-to pedi colors) and got to wear my favorite turquoise ring set from Banana Republic  + bangle along with my everyday most-worn pearl bracelet and my favorite white watch.







One of the perks of living in Florida is that something is bound to be in bloom year round-even it that just means palm trees or sea oats at the beach. This time of year makes me feel so alive and giddy inside. There's something so exciting about seeing the bright green new growth leaves sprouting out from our oak tree or hearing all the baby birds tweeting on our property and seeing flowers blossom all over the city. Our neighbor across the street has the most wonderful yellow flowering tree.













Above is a look at the rose garden at the Estate House of Cypress Grove Park. The trickling fountain in the center of the garden is so soothing, I was happy to be the only one there. The green & white estate house in behind is lovely and has a beautiful waterfront property overlooking the lake which makes for the most beautiful wedding ceremony backdrop, the outdoor garden and patio is equally as delightful. A girlfriend of mine got married here a few years ago and although it was sunny and quite hot in May, it made for a stunning garden party venue.






Just across the street from the rose garden in the main open portion of the park is a white bridge that leads from the lake side, gazebo, open grounds and playground to large open soccer fields and volleyball, basketball areas and more. This park frequently hosts jazz festivals and is home to some beautiful outdoor family gatherings and birthday parties with it's picnic tables and BBQ's. It's actually where we had Lily's 1st Birthday photo shoot (that was a crazy day which I still need to share here-it was literally the hottest most humid day of the entire year), August is a hot one here or else I'd love to have a casual gathering with all of our friends + family there this year for her 3rd birthday. Speaking of toddlers, a sweet little girl about Lily's age walked over to the end of the bridge smiling during the shoot and said "hi" to me, so this moment was captured. ;)



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What are your favorite things about springtime?

Until next time, thanks for stopping by!

XO

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