Archive Monthly Archives: March 2013

Spring Entertaining

One of the things I’m most excited about having a beautifully remodeled home is being able to have friends and family over for holidays, random parties, game nights, etc. Between Passover and Easter, it seems like everyone in the office is entertaining this week. Between all the workplace chatter and the overwhelming number of blogs about spring tablescapes- I thought I’d put together a quick rundown of my favorite ideas for entertaining this month…

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Yeah, I’m a sucker for burlap. OK, any relatives reading this I’m going to let you in on my plan for this Sunday. I’m planning a coup! That’s right! It’s time to pass the torch to future generations. (I hope you read that last sentence in an awesome JFK accent!) I want a holiday and I want Easter! I’m planning on bribing my Aunt this weekend with a hostess gift and letting her know- her time is up! In so many words of course. Here’s my Easter brunch ideas for 2014.

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A beautiful natural & rustic tablescape.

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Yummy pastel macaroons. 

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Colorful Cocktails!

Now, I love the idea of tradition but can’t we retire the damn Honey Baked Ham? Martha Stewart wrote in her book Martha’s Entertaining, that she never cooks the same meal just because it’s the same holiday. Granted the turkey is unavoidable on Thanksgiving and in our family Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Harry & David red pepper relish, but I do love the idea of trying new dishes. Here are some fantastic looking brunch recipes.

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1. Mini Mushroom & Sausage (I’d use SOY-sage) Quiches | 2. Asparagus with Creamy Mustard Sauce | 3. Roasted Potatoes with Oregano & Lemon

And lastly, the best tip I ever learned for entertaining. When hosting a large dinner party or a formal meal like a Passover Seder and paper plates won’t due- save yourself (and your dishwasher!) and rent your china from a party rental supply service. They deliver clean plates, flatware, whatever you need. When your guests have left, they pick up the dirty plates. No need to even flick off the old food! I became real familiar with these party rental places when I planned events for a radio station and coordinated company parties but they’re available to anyone and have so much to offer. So trust me- take advantage!

High Hopes with Higher Temps

It sure is warming up here! Like total heatwave – high 40s and mid 50s – wooo hooo! Break out the cutoffs and tube tops party people!

But seriously- I needed this dose of Spring. It’s given me renewed hope that we’re so close to getting in the house and starting construction and therefore so close to getting Jared and I back in our own home with our own routine.

This past weekend brought us visitors from Richmond. Our friends Jon and Alexis took us to lunch and a lovely little winery in New Hampshire. On Sunday, we drove them by our new home and took them to dinner at our local seafood stop.

It’s a very odd adjustment for me being in my childhood hometown but in my adult life with my husband. It’s a much more difficult transition than I imagined it would be. But luckily I have an understanding hubby that always gets me through. Plus every time I glance up from wherever I am in town and see the ocean stretching out in front of me- I know I’m where I am supposed to be.

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1. LaBelle Winery | 2. Cold Virginians | 3. Winery Tour | 4. The view we moved for | 5. My handsome husband | 6. The Atlantic Ocean never gets old

Catalogs Taking Over my Nightstand

I subscribe to a considerable amount of magazines. Maybe over twenty? Don’t judge me- this is my business! I have to know the ins and outs of the publishing world! Plus… they’re prreeetty!

So lately I’m progressing from reading magazines to catalogs because – wait for it, wait for it – it’s almost time to buy stuff! That’s right! No more inspiration, it’s time to make decisions, and get to work. This will also be known as: the period of time where Julie and Jared just start bleeding money. Hooray!

Like the good Yuppy I am, I would love to buy everything for the house from Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware and Crate & Barrel. But alas, we’re on a budget. So instead, I’ve compiled a lovely collection of bargain catalogs and websites.

It’s hard not to mention IKEA as my numero uno since we’re dropping an amble load of dough with them for our kitchen. And I do love those crazy Scandinavians dearly but I am trying to weed out all the college/first apartment furniture and upgrade a bit. However, I still love my IKEA leather sofa and I have made up my mind on those upholstered dining chairs. Other than that, we won’t be purchasing any new pieces of furniture for a while.

One thing we do need – and we need a lot of – is lighting fixtures. Enter Shades of Light. This catalog should basically be called “Lights for Julie!” Although it probably wouldn’t be as marketable. Make a nice gift for me though, right? Anyways, there are several options we’re looking at for the kitchen, dining room, entry way, half bath, and outdoor. Take a look at two of my favorites…

orb

lantern

Then there’s rugs, drapes, and other small decor items. Ballard Designs is another lovely catalog. I’d say a lot of it is out of the price range I’m willing to spend but there’s a lot that’s very reasonable. Plus, there’s a lot of gorgeous room ideas where the smaller decor items I’ve already found at HomeGoods! Check out these rooms…

ballard mirror

ballard room

I love these drapes from Ballard. I’m kinda anti-window treatments. I think the words themselves- “drapes” and “window treatments” just scream “old lady” but Jared refuses to let the neighbors get a sneak peak so curtains it is! I’m thinking of fabric covered shades or roman shades but these panels are simple and lovely and would complement them nicely.

ballard drapes

These stools are just what I’ve been looking for for the kitchen peninsula but I’m hoping to find some industrial ones from a salvage shop for less. The rugs are a definite purchase from Ballard though. They are very reasonably priced and come in beautifully understated designs.

Ballard Stools

ballard rugs

Love is Love

Just wanted to break from all the serious home decor talk to make a quick statement that I can’t believe 50 years after the march for Civil Rights we still aren’t all equal.

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It's Not Easy Being Green…

Occasionally there is a real clusterf#%ck of traffic on and just after the Longfellow Bridge. While I was sitting there the other day, I realized that if the city of Boston had a color scheme it would most definitely be green.

That’s not just because last weekend was St. Patrick’s day- it just that green is everywhere! It’s on all of our bridges and tunnels, the highway street signs, the weathered copper on the old brownstones, and don’t get me started on our sports teams- hello green monster! Even the modern buildings have a hint of green in their glass windows.

So here’s my little homage to my favorite color in my favorite city.

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1. Bay Windows | 2.  Green Monster | 3. Gorgeous Building with Copper Sconces | 4. Green Line | 5. Green Monster Seats | 6. Isabella Gardner Museum | 7. Kendall Square | 8. New Kendall Square Building | 9. Tobin Bridge

More Powder Room Thoughts…

Half Bath

I am still in love with this photo. However, upon further inspection of the half bath this past Saturday- did I mention we stopped by the house last Saturday and cut some walls open and lifted some ceiling tiles to peek around? – I realized how small the half bath actually is. There’s really no room for any sort of vanity. Good thing since Jared vetoed my last vanity choice.

So I’ve been searching for alternatives to a plain pedestal sink since that doesn’t say rustic industrial to me and I found a couple great options on Pinterest.

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But with the no vanity comes no storage. Not that I need or want a lot in a small half bath but it would be nice to have a TP stash. These floating shelf options could work.

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Throw in a barn light, a round mirror, and some J.R. Watkins soap and you’ve got yourself a half bath baby! P.S. I’m in love with J.R. Watkins soaps and lotions. They are all natural and smell soooooo good! I highly recommend the Lemon Cream scent. Yum!

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Paint Picks

Paint colors seem to be a popular search topic that are bringing people to this blog. So if you searched a paint color today and it brought you here… welcome!

I have a pretty good idea of my paint colors but here are some of my favorites. This post features all Benjamin Moore simply because they seem to have so many great resources available- an app for viewing paint colors in your room, Candice Olsen’s favorites, this awesome post from South Shore Decorating Blog, and tons more painted rooms on Pinterest!

So here are my favorites! I’m thinking hands down it’s got to be Revere Pewter for the foyer, living, dining, and kitchen. The whole first floor will have this light neutral with huge chunky satin white trim.

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And in the mudroom, I’d like to paint all the built in cubbies, closets, and benches a putty color like this Chelsea Grey color.

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But to keep it light and airy, I’d like to paint the walls in the mudroom a bright blue green. Maybe this Palladian color.

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palladia

Then there’s the little half bath. The plan is white wainscoting up half the wall and the rest painted a deep navy. Even love the name: Evening Sky.

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And I know second floor is a second priority but I do want to get our bedroom squared away before we actually move in. Our bedding and furniture is all white (shocking, I know) so I’d like to paint the walls a dark sand color. It’ll have a subtle beachy feel without being tacky. This Texas Leather color is cozy!

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Texas-Leather

What are some of your favorite paint colors?

Our Life… Instagrammed

I read A LOT of blogs. Mostly home design and DIY project blogs but a fair amount are just lifestyle blogs. Usually written by a young woman in the same stage of life I am. Either they are focused on fashion or home keeping or new husbands or new babies. But they are all fantastic and I’ve grown quite attached to all these ladies especially Sydney at The Daybook (read her here) and Chelsea at Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles (read her here).

I can only hope to get to their sort of blogger status but for now, I’m taking a cue from all my blogger buddies and adding this “Our Life… Instagrammed” feature.

Not sure how often I’ll post my Instagram photos but they are a fabulous way to capture a great day or week or moment in time. Great, now I have Whitney Houston stuck in my head. Sing it with me as you peruse our life this month through Instagram photos…

One! Moment in tiiiimme…

instagram11. Driving home early from work to close on our house | 2. Our new house! | 3. Me and my hubby | 4. Shopping for bathroom fixtures | 5. Our new house (again!) | 6. Shopping for lighting.

Salvage Style

Jared and I watched a marathon of West End Salvage on HGTV this weekend. We typically start weekend mornings with coffee, steel cut oats, and HGTV- it’s a fabulous combination and I highly recommend it. But this Saturday, after an early morning of bath showrooms with our cousin Nick, we vegged out in front of the TV sort of napping and sort of watching West End Salvage.

West End Salvage

West End Salvage is a show on HGTV about a store in Iowa and the people that work there. They buy unique items from “pickers” that they sell in their store or turn into unique pieces of art or furniture.

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doors

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When we were in Richmond, there was an architectural salvage yard called Caravati’s Inc. that we loved! It was much more of a warehouse with rows of doors and windows and banister spindles than a combination of found pieces and antiques but it was so fun to walk around. Anyone with an appreciation for architecture and design would be blown away by these type of stores.

So far I’ve only heard of two in this area. Restoration Resources in Boston and Architectural Salvage Inc. in Exeter, NH. Hopefully, Jared and I can get to those in the next few weeks. I’d love to find something local with a story for the house. Something like these…

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jug

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lantern

My mum and aunts and grandmother always shopped for antiques when I was little but they were more “collectors.” They would scour the antique stores by our cottage in New Hampshire for Nippon, Waterford Crystal, and Hummels. I’m more interested in the rustic/industrial stuff like barn doors, old jugs and crates, and anything that could be turned into furniture or actually used.

I think it’s one thing to display antiques, it’s another to put them to good use. One of my favorite memories is of Christmas Day at my Mimi & Grampy’s house. Mimi would serve a beautiful fruit salad for dessert and we actually ate it our of her small, lovely Nippon bowls. It’s so frozen in my mind I can actually remember how it felt to scrape my spoon gently across the fine, hand painted porcelain. I’d love to give my own kids and grandkids that kind of memory.