August 25, 2016

An Organized Study Box

With the kids starting school in a few weeks, we've been organizing all.the.things. The whole 'back to school organization' started with our closet re-do that I've been keeping top secret for now. (Hoping to reveal tomorrow!)

Up until now our school supplies lived in an overstuffed drawer in the kitchen. When it came time to do homework the "where's the ruler/colored pencils/notebook" questions would start and we'd spent way too much time looking for these items. There was definitely a need for a better system. But, hey isn't that how organizing works? You see a need and then find a solution that works for you!

The kids typically do homework right after school at the kitchen table.  So my organized solution had to be easy to access, contain a variety of supplies, and needed to be quick and simple to clean up.  I decided a simple photo storage box would be the perfect set-up and would be easily accessible in our new fancy closet.

So here is the system we came up with for the upcoming school year! Hopefully it's a system that will last.

organizing homework study box for back to school

The first step was to gather all the supplies. I went through the school supplies we already had on hand and then simply jotted down a list of items to purchase. Lucky me the school supply aisles are a plenty right around now!

organizing homework study box for back to school

Here's a list of the items I added: 

1. Ruler
2. A Photo storage box (any box or bin would be fine)
3. Pencils
4. Electric Pencil Sharpener
5. Highlighters
6. Eraser
7. Pencil/Pen Case
8. Glue
9. Notebook
10. Scissors
11. Tape
12. Markers
13. Stapler
14. Pens
15. Crayons

Now, my kids are 9 and 13 (4th and 8th grade) so this seemed like the perfect round up of supplies.  Should the needs change, no biggie. I can always add/remove items.  

But, of course I can't leave well enough alone.  I need everything to be fancy. 
There isn't a whole lot in that pile that can be glammed up, but I spy two things that can...those pencil/pen cases and of course the box!

So here's a few options I tried!

organizing homework study box for back to school

I took my ever faithful label maker and some washi tape to create these simple labels.  And of course I have gold tape for the label maker! Would we expect anything less? This took me all of 2 minutes to complete and it's instant organization happiness.  

Option 2 is to use a silhouette to create vinyl letters.

organizing homework study box for back to school


This process takes a bit longer for me because I'm just learning how to use it, but equally simple and reversible if you decide to change things!

I also used this technique to label the box in an equally fancy way.  


All the silhouette rules I've read say to use big, thick fonts but I couldn't resist using this super girly one. 

So, after I gussied everything up I placed it all in the box!

organizing homework study box for back to school

It all fit with room to spare! Now come homework time, the kids can grab the box from the shelf and have everything they need.  Here's to hoping this solves the "where's the __" at homework time! 

Alright here's a sneak peak of it on the closet shelf!

organizing homework study box for back to school


I'd love to hear what homework supply solutions work for you! Anyone else use a study box? Or drawer? 
I can't believe it's already back to school time! 

Have a great day!








August 19, 2016

Favorite Finds

Hi! Welcome to a new little series I'm calling "Favorite Finds".

With the hustle and bustle of life, I don't always have a DIY going (ok, I probably do) or project to share. Heck, sometimes I don't have anything to offer any of you sweet readers at all! So, I thought it'd be fun to pop in with some things I'm loving, bloggers or etsy shops I am following, or just random helpful tidbits  to share the love.  So, come along and let's get this party started!


Favorite Find One

So the project of the week has been to makeover our 'off the garage' closet into a command/drop zone for our family. I shared our Kate Spade Inspired Mood Board for this space earlier in the week and I've been working around the clock to check this off the list! While searching for artwork and printables on Pinterest I came across this sweet online shop!

via Evelyn Henson

Evelyn Henson has the most colorful and vibrant prints that I heart! Her artwork is full of whimsy and life and I couldn't help but swoon at every piece! The bright pinks, vibrant greens, with hints of black are so chic and fun.  Her website was so inspirational and fun that I could spend hours just perusing.

Here's a snap shot of her spring/summer 2016 line:

evelyn henson prints round up
1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Not only does she carry these lively prints but she also has mugs/greeting cards/and phone cases.  Okay, you can head over there right now to check out all the goodies. I'll wait :)  

Now to decide which print to order for my closet....

Favorite Find Two

You all know I'm a die hard Anthropologie fan. My anthro curtains hang loud and proud in my room and I could spend an entire day in their store front smelling all.the.things. I've had my heart set on these hooks since I first laid eyes on them and I've almost bought them a dozen times.  


Well, here's the story. Those hooks are $18/piece and I needed 4. So yah that's a lot of money on some striped hardware. And I was TOTALLY going to buy them because I'm all for getting what you love and pinching costs in other areas of the project. Here's the catch: If you follow me on instagram then you saw that I posted this hook's doppleganger that I found at..wait for it... Hobby Lobby!


Not only was this hook a spot on look-alike. It was on sale for $5!  FIVE DOLLARS people! That's a savings of over $60. So, sorry Anthro but Hobby Lobby won this time.  


Here's another look side by side just for fun.


You can see some slight variances...but for $60 savings I'm willing to overlook.


Favorite Find Three

My final favorite find comes from a company named Olie. Truth be told, they found me! I was approached by Amrita, the founder, to take a look at the company, their missions, and their products.  I was beyond thrilled and honored and now I want to share with you what they have to offer. 

Olie is an up and coming Indian based company specializing in affordable pillows, table runners, lighting, and much more. Each item is hand crafted by local artisans to create beautifully unique pieces for you to enjoy.  


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5


Aren't they fun and whimsical? I couldn't resist snagging a few fun pillow covers. 
Once they arrived I couldn't wait to put them in my home! I just loved the story they told and knowing that each piece was handcrafted locally made them feel even more special. 


living room corner with olie pillow ikea throw and world market chair

Here is the pink pillow with the sweet little grey tassels.  Talk about a pop of color! The pink hue packs a powerful punch (haha say that three times fast).  I paired it with a lumbar pillow I already had and left the black and white stripe blanket on the back of the chair.  I LOVE the layered look and I just smile when I walk in the room seeing this fun little corner.  
The other pillow cushion I received I'm saving for a fun little project (okay BIG) that I've been working on so more details soon.

living room corner with olie pillow ikea throw and world market chair


If you haven't yet, head over to Olie Living and check out all the beautiful pieces they have! 

* I received product from the Olie Living Company.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

                                                                _______________________________________

That's all I've got for today! Today is my Monday (womp womp) so I hope you all have a beautiful weekend! I'll be back next week for an oh so lovely closet reveal!















August 15, 2016

Kate Spade Inspired Kid Closet| Mood Board Monday

Hey guys!
Anyone spend any time doing some closet re-organization this weekend?Yah...probably just us. Who wants to spend all weekend in a closet?! Well when it's going to be as fancy as this then you get giddy excited about it!

Let's dive right in for another edition of Mood Board Monday!


So let's talk about this closet.  It's not your typical hang your coat type space. It's directly to the left when you come into the house through the garage door, so naturally it becomes quite the drop spot.  The previous owners had the walls orange with a plywood platform as a bench, some shelves, and some hooks.  



There is also zero natural light in here or even artificial light.  So, it's an orange cave. The closet is not very big and it's also not your typical rectangular shape.  There are 2 walls each measuring only 23" and 36" wide and then 2 angled walls behind the door frame with a combined width of about 15". It also has a door that swings open towards the garage door so you can imagine this scenario. Someone walks in the garage door and the closet door is open and BAM. No Bueno. 

Here's how we plan to use before the space before we get to the fancy details. This is going to be a drop zone/school closet and will serve all these functions:
  • Place for the kids backpacks
  • Place for the kids coats
  • Store shoes
  • Store Winter Items (scarves, hats, gloves)
  • Place for incoming/outgoing school papers (you know what a paper nightmare that is!)
  • Incoming/outgoing bills
  • Store school/homework supplies
That right there is a hardworking little closet.  

So, I got to work planning and designing this powerful little space and came up with this mood board. I'm calling it the Kate Spade inspired kids closet for obvious reasons :)


kate spade inspired mud room closet with sherwin williams breathless and gala pink
          calendar/acrylic organizer/wallpaper/bike print/graphic print/shelf/hook/shoe cabinet

Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Breathless
Cabinet Color: Gala Pink

Eeeek! Is your heart exploding with all that Kate Spade inspired goodness?! I know mine is!
Now I'm not one for "theme rooms" but when selecting the colors for this closet I did so knowing the closet door would remain off. Since this is in the foyer area, the colors needed to coordinate. BUT I also wanted it to be a fun space that was also chic to encourage organization. Who doesn't want to keep a cute space organized?!

We've already begun demo and I'm not gunna lie seeing that paint on the shoe cabinet is making me a bit nervous! Holding my breathe until it's all put together.
I'm dying to know what you all think! Is this a Kate Spade inspired win or fail?!








August 12, 2016

Updates in the Bedroom

Hi friends!

Happy Friday for all you Mon-Fri peeps! I'm SO excited to share with you some updates around the abode.  I got myself a fancy new lens and now I want to take pictures of all the things so let's start with my bedroom!

 I've just started really filling out the wall space in the room and making it feel more cozy so I thought hey, lets do a post about it!

* I was given product in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I received the Ivory/Blue Damask Rug by Kas from Rug Expedition


Let's begin with where this space started on move in day:



Not a whole lot going on. A big blue box.  Ironically, my husband and I had planned on painting this room a shade of muted blue anyway, so the overall vibe of the room didn't change too dramatically when we painted it Sherin Williams 'Distance'.
Since I work nights, the darker the room is the more sleep I get, the happier we all are. So a moody/cozy space is what we aimed for.  

I shared this mood board for the space back in April and you can find all the details here.

Sherwin Williams distance bedroom update with joss and Main bed and Rugs Expedition Rug


It's bold and a bit out of my comfort zone and I've admittedly struggled with the color choices, but after seeing it all together it does make my heart happy.

We installed new curtains and boy are they dreamy. That add so much character and life to the room. I just LOVE them. We also did a little DIY project with our ikea last hack to give ourselves some new nightstands. And that's where our bedroom updates stopped and ended almost a year ago. There was no art on the walls, very little decor, and our old furniture was looking dated and heavy.  



So we bought ourselves a new tufted bed frame similar to the mood board piece and suddenly the space felt so much fancier.


I love the details in the head board from the curve at the top to the nail head trim and the soft plush tufts. The base of the bed frame  carries those same lines and nail head trim as well as some fancy feet. We purchased it for a sweet deal over at Joss and Main.  




Isn't it darling? I love it.

I also switched out our end table lamps for these white gourd lamps and I love how crisp and clean they look against the blue wall.  Man, I'm a sucker for symmetry! I know there are tons of gorgeous bedrooms out there with mismatched end tables but I just can't do it!  

Sherwin Williams distance bedroom update with joss and Main bed and Rugs Expedition Rug

The artwork above the bed was FREE and I printed it on thick cardstock and popped it into a few frames I had on hand.  I downloaded it from my blog hero Jen at I Heart Organizing.  I love how the green watercolors bring out the green from my curtains.  After months of searching for something to put above the bed who knew I'd find it for free! I'm still deciding what to put around the frames to finish out the wall...any suggestions? I'm totally okay with just letting it evolve slowly over time (well, within a reasonable amount of time).  

Sherwin Williams distance bedroom update with joss and Main bed and Rugs Expedition Rug

Now let's talk about the ceiling fan. I'm sure like plenty of you out there you're either "team fan" or "team no-fan". Well, I'm "team fan" for the comfort of the cool breeze but design wise it needs to go. The husband is "team fan" all the way and since he's the one who switches out these things it's a no go.  Womp Womp.  I really want a girly fancy chandelier, but for now the 'ol brown ceiling fan is it folks.  

The last addition we've made so far is that swoon-worthy rug. I know, I know a rug over carpet. Gotta work with what ya got peeps.  Pictures can't even begin to do justice the luxurious-ness of it! It feels like silk under my feet.  It's the softest rug I've ever had no joke.


Who doesn't want to wake up and feel all that goodness under your feet? It makes my heart happy.  The soft blues and grey's and subtle damask pattern work so well in the room. I'm just loving it! You can purchase you're very own fancy rug over at Rug Expedition.  I chose the 5x7.



So what's left on the 'ol to do list in here?

Purchase a new dresser
Add a chair/cozy corner 
Purchase a tufted bench for end of the bed
Attach tv to the wall (Yes, we are in bed tv watchers)
Add some decorative shelving
Continue to add wall art

These small updates have given a new life to the space and I can't wait to tackle some other to-do items on the list. Now...for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to make all the bedroom
 dreams come true.


Anyone else have a 'let a room evolve' kinda attitude? It's been a new strategy for me and I'm diggin it.  
I'll be back with a Mood Board Monday| Closet Edition you won't want to miss!

* I was given product in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I received the Ivory/Blue Damask Rug by Kas from Rug Expedition























August 01, 2016

Teacher Lounge Restyle| Mood Board Monday

Hi Friends! Happy Monday!

It was unseasonably cool and rainy here in Michigan this weekend but we enjoyed spending it at our last baseball tournament of the season.  Our summer schedule just got a whole lot more clear and I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. I like being busy and the kids staying active and engaged all summer. But before you know it it'll be school, band, and hockey rinks so I guess I should just embrace the calm.

Speaking of school, I have a very exciting and extra special mood board monday today!


A few months ago I was asked by my daughter's middle school to help them make over their teacher lounge as a back to school surprise for their staff.  I was super flattered they asked and was anxious to get a look at the space. 

So, we met up at the school one morning and it was clear we had our hands full and luckily a whole summer to spruce it up.  

I'll just get started with the before's:





Pretty boring eh? It was essentially a square brick box. Also there is zero natural light so I apologize for the yellow looking pictures!  As I sat and talked with the ladies the ideas started flowing and before you know it we had a clear vision for the space.  In my mind I divided the room into a lounge area, gallery wall, work station wall, and kitchen. Our goals were to have the room be inviting, warm, and cozy (within a set budget) and who doesn't deserve a gorgeous space more than teachers?! They shape the minds of our children day in and day out and are often under appreciated.  Having an opportunity to collaborate on this space is so heart warming. 
So, I pulled together ideas from our brainstorming sessions and came up with this mood board for the lounge with those goals in mind. 


This is the vision for the "lounge" space of the room. For the paint color I chose Sherwin Williams "Olympus White" because its clean and simple with just a hint of color. The ladies had already put together some pieces from Ikea they wanted to use (the couch and chairs) and I embellished from there.  Because we had a large wall to fill, I added in these super versatile and inexpensive vittsjo shelves. They can be customized to virtually any color (thank you spray paint) and will look cozy with the addition of sea grass baskets, faux plants, and other decorative accessories.  
You all know how much I heart rugs so selecting the perfect one was no small feat. I really wanted to infuse some color into the space since there's no natural light, but in a way that wasn't crazy and chaotic.  This rug was the PERFECT fit to bring everything together.  
What do you guys think so far? Hey, I'd wanna hang out in here and flip through a magazine on my lunch break! 

The other area of the room needing some attention was a very large brick wall. It currently has two large cork boards attached to it but I can see the potential beyond that.  My idea was to create a focal gallery wall to showcase photographs, kids artwork, and inspirational messages.  What better way to do that than a striped wall?



By using various size frames and decorative elements this wall will stand out as the feature of the room. I'm super excited about the potential of this space and can't wait to see this wall come to life! 

The other area of the room needing a serious update was the kitchen wall. With mauve pink formica counters and cabinets this space was begging for a makeover.  Without a budget to remove and replace cabinets we had to create a vision with using the existing structure.  So, paint and new hardware to the rescue! Oh, and we do get to update the appliances to stainless steel so that's a huge bonus!



And the vision for the space:



We agreed on white on the uppers (Sherwin Williams Alabaster) and dark grey on the lowers in the same color as the stripe on the wall to be more economical.  For the countertops we discussed using the Rustoleum Countertop Kit because at $20 it was definitely in the budget.  After a lot of research, we did paint the counter but thats a whole other post I'll share with you guys! Oh, and that vending machine in the corner? Don't think I haven't been thinking of ways to cover that up. Can you wallpaper a vending machine? hmmm.

The final wall will house their industrial size copy machine and work table so I didn't think that space was worthy of its own mood board :) BUT, we still have plans to make it pretty! 

Fast forward a few months and we've been working hard in that room along with some staff at the school to transform this lounge.  I'm SO excited with how things are coming along and I can't wait to share the progress. I will definitely be working on the Rustoleum countertop post to share with you guys.

It feels so good to spend time doing something for others doesn't it? Anyone else spending their summers helping others? 

I'll be back later this week with some updates in the 'ol bedroom.

______________________________________________________________________











July 29, 2016

Michigan Anniversary: Thoughts on moving

Brace yourself, folks. It's about to get all personal up in here.

Today I don't have any design tips, makeovers, or mood boards to share with you.  What I do have are raw and honest thoughts on a year into moving into a new state and into a new home.



So, yesterday was our family's one year Michigan anniversary. We relocated from what we used to call home, a suburb of Chicago in Illinois, after having lived their for 8 years.  So, my husband, my two kids (8 &12 at the time) loaded up the car and headed to an extended stay hotel while we waited for our house to close the next month. All in all, not a bad gig. Kids had a pool and hot tub to spend the hot summer days in and we had a new city to explore.  But I felt as if I was going through the motions, not fully emotionally committed to this decision. I was homesick. Day one. This feeling would linger with me throughout the year and continue to right where I am today. An emotional turmoil if you will.




Here, a bit of a back story to help understand.

Illinois is not my birthplace but it's not far from where I grew up (a small town in northwest Indiana). I got married when I was 25 and shortly after had our second child and moved out of Indiana to Illinois, away from my family and friends (by about 2 hours). I was a small fish in a big city and I was terrified. My whole life completely changed. I had become a wife and stay-at-home mom to two kids under 4 in what felt like the snap of a finger.  I didn't quite understand my new roles and I had no support other than my husband.  Not to mention I had a colicky baby who never. stopped. crying.  But in those years I made friends.  I formed connections with my kids mom's. I got a job at our local ymca in the kid zone so that I could bring the kids with to work and meet other mom's.  In fact, one of my dearest friends I met in that very place (Hi, Robin!).

Our First Home
Fast forward 8 years and my kids were well established.  My daughter was in 6th grade with an amazing group of girlfriends, she was on the Rock Climbing team, and played trumpet in an award winning school district. She had been with the same group of friends since Kindergarten and I had been with their parents. We all became so close we would have dinner and drinks even when our girls weren't hanging out together! My son was in second grade played baseball with the boys in his class, was in boy scouts, and played hockey for the organization that his hero and idol (Hi, Big Drew) played for. I also became close to the hockey mom's and we formed friendship's outside of the rink.
As far as the kids go, life was good. Probably darn near perfect in fact.  As a Mom, my heart filled with pride of who they were and the future they had. How lucky were they to grow up in such a beautiful place and to have formed these bonds and relationships that would carry with them throughout school and even perhaps beyond.  It never occurred to me this would change. This place we called home was where we wanted to be and we loved it.




My husband and I were just as cozy here as the kids.  It's here where I finished my college degree and became an RN after 10 years in the making. It's where I landed my dream job in Labor and Delivery just minutes from the house. It's where, a mere walk down the block one of my best friends in the whole world lived.  Friend isn't even the right word, she is family.  There was hardly a day that went by we didn't see each other as our kids were the same age. I literally watched her kids grow up and vice versa.  My husband went through several job changes due to relocation issues (and us not wanting to relocate) and he had settled in on a job in downtown Chicago. Well, if you've never driven in Chicago then you can't really appreciate traffic.  Traffic there is a nightmare.  What should be a 30-45 minute commute would turn to 2 hours each way. Which meant after a long day at work, he wasn't getting home until about 8-9pm every night. Since I went to work at 7pm you can imagine there wasn't a whole lot of dinners at the table.  His work life balance had shifted into unfamiliar territory and we were not fans.  Our strong family unit was strained and the kids and I were seeing less and less of him. Something needed to change.

Riverwalk, Downtown Naperville

It was around this time he got a call from a former mentor asking him if he'd be interested in relocating to Michigan. We sort of joked about it and how awesome it would be to live in a bigger house and be away from all the traffic, but I don't think we thought everything would align in a way that made the deal too good to pass. Grand Rapids was also where my life-long best friend lived. We have been best friends since high school, she is the Godmother to my kids, and is without a doubt my family. We've spent the majority of our friendship living in different states but that didn't stop of us from maintaining our friendship. This was obviously huge on the PRO list. So, after months of interviewing, tear filled pro/con lists with the kids and house selling and buying, we said yes to Michigan. Yes to less traffic. Yes to a bigger home. Yes to having our family together for dinner. Yes to a better quality of life.  Yes to having my life-long best friend living only 15 minutes away (something that had not happened in since we were in high school).

Lifelong Best Friend

But, selfishly I can't help but still feel a void...to still feel immensely sad.  I miss my friends, my daily routine, and my sense of belonging there. I mourn the loss of the future I had played out in my mind for my kids. Where they would go to high school, what marching band they would play in, what hockey clubs they would be a part of, and what friends they would share all of that with. I mourn the loss of the future I thought I had for myself. I would have worked in that hospital forever...it was my dream job and I had become close to many of my co-workers (Hi, Edward Peeps!)  But that's the thing about life. The best laid plans often go awry.

Best friend from Illinois

So, a year in I'm learning to embrace Michigan as home.  I hope to fill our home with old friends and new, to feel less sad as the years pass, and to explore this great state. I am so grateful we have this beautiful place to call home and I definitely want that to ring loud and clear. I am grateful for my Labor and Delivery job here, where they have embraced me as their own (Hi, Spectrum Peeps!) I am grateful for the strength and resolve of my family.  It was a tough year on all of us emotionally and I couldn't be more proud of my kids for the courage to embrace change.  Mostly, I am grateful for my friendships...where miles apart mean nothing and sharing a cup of coffee both in person and over FaceTime fill my heart with joy.  At the end of the day, it's not about the size of the house or the things you fill it with...it's about the relationships you foster and how tightly you hold onto them.

Michigan Sunset





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...