Friday, July 29, 2011

It's the Weekend!

The weekend is finally here!  Don't you just LOVE Fridays? This past week has been one of those busy ones where you keep telling yourself that if you can just make it to the weekend, you can finally put the mess that is your house back together. I'm usually very tidy but things have gotten a bit out of hand lately, I'll admit. However, sometimes chasing your personal and professional dreams, letting loose and just enjoying the summer days filled with spontaneous dates, weekend getaways and much needed time with friends is more important than having all your ducks in a row.

My hubby is good for me that way, he balances out my need for organization and perfection. Last weekend we cast all of our house cares aside as we were giddy with excitement to head down to Palm Beach, FL for a weekend away with my in laws at The Breakers Hotel. It was my MIL's birthday and she certainly knows how to celebrate in style!

Entering The Breakers Hotel... one of the oldest and most beautifully restored in the nation.

Turquoise beaches, soft sand, 4 pools, a stunning resort and friendly staff
to accommodate any of your wishes. What more could a girl ask for?

The designer in me had to take a few photos of the decor. I loved that our room had a gorgeous ceramic container filled with succulents and moss, it just added some nature indoors and made it feel more like home. The glass blown seashell was a nice touch and I really appreciated the coral back on the chair in our room, it was comfy too! Lastly, the trellis wallpaper and coral lamp base in my inlaws' room were great choices by the hotel's designer.

Heading to the Flagler Steakhouse for dinner and snapping some pics on my inlaws' balcony.

We checked into the hotel 4 days after hubby's parents did and we mesmerized by the beauty of the hotel, the stunning beach with turquoise waters, their gorgeous ocean view room and we even saw 3 lovely weddings while there. It was a much needed weekend getaway for us and we enjoyed celebrating together as a family, it's the second time since we've been married that we've gone away with them to the beach for the weekend.

Now we're both back to the reality of cleaning, organizing, laundry and clipping the hedges! But I don't mind because the sun is shining and there's no greater joy than taking care of our home and the people in it. :)

I hope you're planning to do something fabulous! Are you heading anywhere special? Maybe you're also staying inside to channel your inner Martha? 

*images (1), (2),(3)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Appreciating What You Have

A few months ago I stumbled across a quote by Epicurus (below) that I had never heard before and I just love it! We live in a world where we worry about the next day or deadline, think about the next holiday, plan for the next home we wish to own, save up for the next car we can't wait to drive but if we stop for a moment we will realize that much of what we currently have is what we once longed for. Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in the bigger, better, faster, now kind of mentality. Like a child with a shiny new toy, sometimes we push aside the worn and familiar forgetting about its beauty and relevance in our lives as we give a new item all of our focus. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember this post I wrote last year where I shared how I once struggled to love and truly appreciate our current, 50-yr old home and how I came around to actually enjoy it.          

I am a big dreamer and I love vision boards as a tool to draw myself towards that of which I hope to achieve, experience or own but there is something so humble and grateful about appreciating what you have and reflecting back on what it took to obtain those things and asking yourself if the things you are lusting after are really a true need in your life or just a passing 'want'.

One of the first things that comes to mind is our car. Sure, I'd love to have the newer model of the car we currently own but I love her story, we sacrificed for her. In the summer of 2008 my hubby was hit by a drunk driver and it totalled our car (thankfully he was alright!) and as a result we had to replace the one and only car that we share. We drove rentals for months as we tried to not rush in and buy just anything. We fell in love with the Hyundai Sonata and focused on finding one in our area.

We finally decided upon one that was in mint condition, the color we wanted, had all the features we desired and was the right price. We worked hard to get her though. We scrimped and saved and made payments of nearly hubby's entire teaching paycheck per month plus a down payment to pay her off in just four months. It was an intensely stressful time but she became ours and we love not having a monthly payment. Anytime I see a shiny new ride on the street I remind myself of what we have. One day we'll have a second car when we need one and it will be something great but in the meantime we're just enjoying what we have.

What things had you once only hoped for at one time but are now enjoying?

*image, quote

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Living Well: Surround Yourself with Beauty

As I sit here working at my desk and look around at the space I've created, I feel happy and peaceful. It's not perfect, rather a work in progress and it doubles as our guest bedroom. However, I've really enjoyed the process of surrounding myself with beautiful things. Pretty silver frames filled with beautiful patterned paper, a vase with pale pink peonies (my favorite flowers), the scent of a natural orange reed diffuser to lightly fragrance the room and a sparkly chandelier just to name a few.

Call me type A but I don't feel settled when I'm surrounded by clutter. Working at the kitchen table with  visible dishes in the sink only distract me as they beckon to be washed. Keeping up with cleaning, removing excess papers, clutter and unnecessary items from a space leaving just your favorites and the most practical and useful items creates a serene environment.

There are so many ways to incorporate a little bit of pretty into each room of your home, even if you don't have a large budget. Whether it's a few fresh blooms in a pretty vase, a small piece of gorgeous fabric that recovers and transforms the seat of an otherwise boring office chair, beautiful keepsakes like sand and seashells displayed in apothecary jars that remind you of a favorite trip. Even an elegant mirror in your entry that you use daily to do a quick hair and outfit check on the way out the door. It's so important to feel good about the space you live in, whether it's a tiny studio apartment or a sprawling homestead.

I couldn't agree more with this quote. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about saving your best for someday and how sometimes we keep items that are so valuable or beautiful to us that we forget to enjoy them because we get caught up in tucking them away for a special occasion. Since that post I've been using my new Potterybarn dishes regularly.

I highly recommend donating or selling any 'ugly' dishes, glassware, cutlery and kitchenware at a yard sale and keep only the most beautiful pieces daily. Only keep and have on hand stain-free and lovely dish towels as well as plush bathing towels. Sleep in soft, luxurious sheets, the best you can afford. Carefully choose scented candles and room sprays that make you feel energized or are soothing and relaxing to set a mood. Wear your favorite perfume 'just because', even if you're spending the day solo. Add a few of your favorite potted flowers in a variety of hues to your balcony, patio or front porch to surround yourself with colorful cheer vs. the hardy green plants that require less maintenance and perhaps a bit less money. It's about joy, spring and summer always seem so short, the extra few dollars you spend will be so worth it!

Pick one room in your home that is just for you-maybe it's the laundry room, a craft room (if you're lucky enough to have the space), an office or a teeny backyard that is filled with things that speak beauty to you. Surround yourself with colors that make you feel happy and inspired and scents and textures that make you feel alive! Even while you're doing the laundry, you can be surrounded with beauty and feel refreshed.

What lovely things have you incorporated into your home to surround yourself with beauty? What is your favorite room in your home?

* first image

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Today is a New Day!

I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend! :) On monday hubby and I headed to his parents home an hour away to visit, have some yummy eats and watch some spectacular fireworks over the lake that their back porch looks onto. There's something about holidays that just make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It's great to see people reconnect and spent time together with extended family and friends and let go of the busyness and demands of life.

Last week I posted this new product giveaway by Pear Tree, we had just 3 entries and the winner was chosen by Congratulations Maureen Carney!  I'll be in touch with you shortly so you can pick out your favorite design of Notelettes. :)

Today's post is a reminder that no matter what mistakes you've made or challenges you went through yesterday, today is a NEW day! It's a chance to change your own history, it's an opportunity to right a wrong, say I'm sorry or work harder towards a goal than you did the day before.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a family member who shared how mad she was at herself for some past mistakes she's made. In this particular case one was a decision made five years ago, and another was made just two years ago-both changed her life dramatically. To this day she often feel depressed, sorry for herself and is still beating herself up over her actions and choices.

I encouraged her by letting her know that everyone else had already forgiven her, that she just needed to forgive herself and focus on the road ahead rather than keeping an eye on what's in the rear view mirror. When we spend all of our time worrying about how we 'woulda, coulda, shoulda' done something differently we rob ourselves of our future and  precious present day moments. We are all imperfect, make mistakes and have moments we wish we could change. These are what help us to learn, grow and become the women we truly want to be.

"Contemplation often makes life miserable.  We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live."
~Nicolas de Chamfort

*first image via
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