Monday, March 19, 2012

New House, New Home, New Life

I am a guest blogger over at http://newhousenewhomenewlife.blogspot.com/. Please come check out my post, and this awesome blog.  You can find great inspiration for just about EVERYTHING.  Heather has great ideas:)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring/Summertime Activities

With the warm weather giving us a hint of Spring, I decided to talk about all of my favorite activities to do in the warm weather. If you are sick of your old routine, or want to try something new take a look and maybe you'll find something that appeals to you!

Go to the Beach: The summer is not the only time families can visit the beach. In fact, families might find that winter trips to the beach can result in a different kind of fun since the beaches are so empty. However, the best time to enjoy the beach fully is during the spring/summer. Swim or have a picnic, collect shells, collect rocks and go home tired and satisfied. 

           Photo by: prweb.com

Go Hiking: A great way to get exercise, enjoy the weather and stay out of direct sunlight is to go hiking in the woods. Take the family or dog or whoever to a forested park or just a forest where they can make their way through the trees without the use of paths.
Photo by adk.org 
Go on a Bike Ride: Some areas are better suited for bike riding than for walking. Be sure to find an area that is suited to your biking needs. If you are up for a challenge, hit the trails in the woods, if not then stick to sidewalks and parkways!
Me and my cousin, she was not happy about the photo:)

Kite Flying: The spring/summer is the perfect time for having a kite-flying picnic. The trick is finding the best place in the area for kite flying. Search for a field, preferably on a hill. If the hill is near the ocean, that is even better. There tends to be a steady breeze near the ocean. If not, any hill on an even mildly windy day will do fine. Pack a picnic and some kites then let the fun begin!

Whether you are spending time at the beach or time in the backyard, keep a camera ready for those candid moments. Those memories will be great to share with family and friends. They will also serve as a reminder of the fun the family had as everyone starts to get older.
Photo by:healthline.com


Whatever you choose to do ENJOY! Have fun with the people you are with:)


~Grace~

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring into Fashion

Normally I will blog about interior design and DIY BUT since today is just too nice of a day to ignore I decided to take a closer look at the clothing trends that will be appearing.  After all I will be shopping soon, and thought it might be nice to know what to look for, here is what I found:

Fashion houses are offering a return to fabrics with comfort in mind. There are several hot colors to watch for in the spring and summer collections. These colors range from the classic look of black and white to soft pastels like orchids, pale daffodil yellows and tropical limes. One other prominent color for spring and summer is flame red parlayed with bright white in an almost nautical theme.

Clothing Designs - Spring 2012
A return of 70's styles updated for today is something to key an eye open for. Fabrics in fashion collections tend toward linen, lightweight cottons and a faux-fabric known as "peach skin". Pattern designs include many tops, dresses and jackets with draping added.

 From Forever 21                                                                   From H&M

Ensemble Patterns To Compliment All Size Ranges
Patterns for spring and summer offer styles and cuts that can be worn in a broad size range to compliment any figure. Business wear has changed radically over the past few decades and the trend leans toward suits in black, navy, white and pastel colors that brighten the business look. Accessories like simple pieces of jewelry, scarves or fabric flowers in contrasting colors complete the business suit. Many of these suits can be worn for after six dinners since the fabrics offer comfort as well as fashion.

From H & M
Hats, Shoes And Gloves - The Perfect Spring And Summer Accessories
Other additions to the spring and summer wardrobe this season are hats, colorful shoes and gloves. Nothing adds charm to a gauzy floral spring dress than a wide-brimmed hat and wrist-length white gloves. This is the feminine look that is hot for late spring and early summer. Navy and lime with touches of white, strawberry pink, pale lime and hints of orchid or coral and pomegranate work well in a simple sheath in an A-line styled pattern. Add a floral scarf in a coordinating color and the ensemble is upscale "fashionista". 
 Both from Forever 21


Fabrics That Speak The Language Of Fashion
In many high fashion collections for 2012 for spring and summer, fabrics play a significant role. Fabrics are lightweight. Yet, they don't compromise on variation. Look for crepe and chiffon fabrics to offer a crinkled or embossed texture. Cotton fabrics will have a certain shimmer to catch the eye and linens will be offered in stylishly woven textures. These fabrics speak the language of spring and summer fashion for 2012.


 From Victoria's Secret


Enjoy:)

~Grace~





Saturday, March 3, 2012

St. Patrick's Month

Alright, I know it is only St. Patrick's Day, but being the Irish lassie that I am, I choose to celebrate ALL MONTH LONG, well at least from 3/1-3/17.  Honestly after that I start to get a bit fed up with all of the green and shamrocks.  These are my new favorites for St. Patrick's Month decor and the party I will be hosting:)

Photo courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com
 Tasteful glass candle holders with a hint of green split peas.  So easy and festive!

                                               Photo courtesy of holidaysnobs.blogspot.com

Who doesn't want a candy bar?! Incorporating different greens and textures will enhance the look of the bar or table.
                                                  Photo courtesy of celebratewithstyle.com
Flowers are always a safe bet.  Add some greenery, or white and green Hydrangeas giving the room a fresh and elegant look. 

Enjoy this fun month!

~Grace~

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Give Your Bedroom a Facelift


Remodeling Your Bedroom
Whether you're re-financing, looking to sell, or just bored giving your room a makeover can give you a whole new outlook on life, and your home! There are some aspects that should not be ignored as they can make ALL the difference!
Windows
Windows are the focus of a room, after square footage and space. Windows not only allow light to enter the room, they also allow you to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Window treatments should highlight the window. Popular window treatments are:
- Blinds- Blinds come in a variety of colors, shapes and lengths. They give a bedroom an instant makeover. Blinds are also inexpensive.
- Shutters- Perfect for opening, throwing back and letting the sunshine in, shutters evoke a dramatic flair.

Lighting
Bedrooms should be restful and peaceful. Keep the lighting soft and romantic. Types of lighting for the bedroom include:
- Recessed Lighting- Recessed lighting is a popular choice. The room can be dimmed or brightened with just a simple turn of a switch.
- Track Lighting- Track lighting is becoming more popular. Less expensive to install than recessed lighting, track lighting can also be brightened or dimmed to fit your mood.
                          
Walls
- Wallpaper- Choose an elegant pattern or just use a border to accent your bedroom.
- Paint- There are thousands of colors to choose from. Choose a restful color or go bright and loud. Add some art to showcase your color choice or some sconces and candles.
- Shelving- Create extra space by building elegant shelves to hold your collectibles and books.

Furnishings
Furniture is usually the focal point of a room. A brass bed loaded with fluffy pillows creates a romantic wonderland. Heavy, dark, solid furniture with rich colors, such as maroon or champagne, implies unlimited luxury. Use blonde woods and flower prints to give the impression of a blooming garden.


Remember, the key to a successful remodel is focus. Combine paints, fabric, furniture, lighting, flooring and window treatments in a way that pulls the room together. You may love your remodel so much, you may never want to leave your bedroom.
~Grace~

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Interior Painting Tips and Tricks


I have never been the best at painting but what I realized through my design studies and obsessions, is that it does make a difference when done nicely!  So here are some tips for painting the interior of your home:

Interior painting is something that can be easily and inexpensively done by any homeowner. Even for the person who has never done any painting, it is a chore that can be accomplished. It just takes the proper procedure and the use of some simple tips. In no time, a room can be transformed just by changing the color.

Color Choices
The first and most important part of the painting process would be to appropriately plan things out. This would include the color choice. When painting a room, one cannot just look at the individual room and the feel or atmosphere that is trying to be created. It is wise to have the entire house or the same floor have rooms that are all painted in a similar palette. This will ensure that there is a flow from room to room and one particular room does not stand out drastically. One way to look at this would be by drawing a floor plan of the house and coloring in each room. All should relatively complement each other.



Preparation
Depending on the size of the room, it may take some time to totally prepare everything. One should plan on working for at least two days with the project. The first would be spent on the preparation and the second would be for the painting. Drying time and multiple coats will take more time as well. Furniture should be moved out of the room or placed in the center and covered. Light switches, outlet covers and any lighting gets removed. Wall hangings are taken down and nail holes filled with spackle if necessary. The entire floor then gets covered with plastic painter tarps.



For the cautious painter, taping then gets done. Wherever paint meets up with an area that is not being painted, it gets taped. This includes around doorways, windows and where the walls meet the ceiling. Special painter’s tape has a low adhesion, so it is easy to remove when done painting. It is usually best to remove the tape while the paint is still slightly tacky. Otherwise, chunks of paint can be pulled off with the tape.

Painting
Depending on the original color of the room and the type of paint that is used, there may be the need to put on a primer coat before doing the painting. Some color changes will not warrant using primer and there are also paints available that include a primer agent in them. These are designed to negate any possibility of color bleed through. 



A variety of brushes and rollers will help to get the job done correctly and efficiently. For covering open sections of the wall, a roller is best. A tray for paint is necessary when using a roller. Paint can quickly be applied with the roller and the use of an extension handle. For work in tighter areas, various sized brushes allow the individual to do more delicate work.
Now stand back and enjoy what you've just created! A lot of work goes into painting a room, but the outcome can change the whole look and feel of your home!

~Grace~

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I am taking a break from my usual topics to address the most loved and hated Holiday: Valentine's Day! If you are one of the lucky ones that has a significant other or friend or family member to celebrate with it is assumed you enjoy the Holiday. But that is not always the case, the stress of being creative, buying a perfect gift, and avoiding cheesy cards and candy, is NOT easy. I came up with a few ideas that won't burn through your budget and are bit unique!

Inexpensive Valentine's Dates





Valentine's Day is a chance to express your love to that special someone in your life, but celebrating doesn't have to drain your bank account. Here are a few suggestions for creating romantic Valentine dates that are light on the wallet.
-Pack a picnic. Fill a basket with an inexpensive bottle of wine or favorite beverage, cheese, crackers, fresh fruit and chocolates. Toss in an old quilt or blanket and find a cozy corner in the park or secluded spot on the beach. If the weather is too cold, make it a carpet picnic indoors or start a fire in the backyard and cuddle together. Bring along some sticks and marshmallows for an old fashioned roast. Pack some chocolate bars and graham crackers for homemade smores.
-Serve a romantic dinner at home. Cooking for someone you love is one of the best ways to show you care. Treat your honey to a nice meal served with linen napkins and your best dishes. The fact that you prepared the food yourself will make it even more impressive than the finest restaurant in town. If you aren't a great chef, head to the nearest deli and put together a spread for a few bucks. Remember, presentation is everything. Even if you don't do the cooking, take the time to remove the food from containers and place in serving bowls. Add candles to the table to create ambience.
-Bake and make. Prepare some homemade cookies and candies, then place in a gift bag, along with a handmade card. Again, the fact that you took the time to make something often means more than laying out $50 for a fine box of chocolates.
-Make it a movie night. Rather than pay high ticket prices at the theatre, rent some romantic movies to watch together at home. Light some candles, pile the sofa with pillows and blankets and make some popcorn. Dim the lights and just enjoy a night of cuddling on the couch to your favorite flicks.

Romantic dates for Valentine's Day don't have to cost a fortune. With a little thought and effort, you can let your special someone know just how much they mean to you.


~Grace~

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's all About Being Cozy

Cozy is a feeling you get when comfortable items and situations surround you.  Comfortable is what soothes, consoles or relaxes you.  A cozy environment is organized and free of clutter and stress. I am all about the cozy, try these tips to make your house a bit more "home-y"

Alleviate stress

Frustration occurs when you can’t find something you need because it is buried beneath clutter or it is not in its designated place.  Removing clutter can reduce this stress. Each room in your home should contain only what is either useful or meaningful; anything else tends to get in the way.  Being organized is another key to alleviating stress.  Whatever isn’t being used should be in its designated location.
 
Make the family room a haven

Most likely, the family room or great room is the center of your living space, where everyone gathers for relaxation or entertainment.  Fill it with whatever interests your family, but don't go overboard. Bookshelves are more attractive when trophies or collectibles are interspersed among interesting books.  Display photos and items you cherish where you can enjoy them.  Place lamps where they give readers ample lighting.  Play music that suits your moods.  Arrange comfortable seating with handy snack tables for good viewing of the television.  The game table and chairs should be at an appropriate height for all players.
 
Dedicate the home office for business or study
If possible, use the home office only for business or study.  Organize all supplies and files so they are within easy reach, but keep the desktop free of clutter.  Baskets and bins look nice and work well.  Hide computer wiring with plastic tubing.  Set up an orderly filing system with labeled folders and purge it regularly. 

Make the kitchen appealing and efficient
Bright, cheerful colors make the kitchen a happy place where the family can gather to share their meals.  Using shatterproof dinnerware can reduce the fear of breakage and injury, especially for families with small children.  Fabrics and dinnerware with coordinated patterns are more appealing than mismatched ones.  Above all, the kitchen must be clean and organized.  Create an appetizing aroma by using air fresheners and sanitizers.  Choose a pleasant scent to cover any objectionable odors.  
 
Pick d├ęcor that suits your personality and style
Room furnishings and fabrics should wear well and feel good.  Paint the walls with soothing colors that appeal to you.  Earth tones provide a feeling of warmth.  Lean toward cooler shades for summer and warmer ones when it’s cold outside.  Look through current magazines to find what is in fashion, and then pick the styles and themes that you like.  Select furnishings and accessories accordingly.  Surround yourself with whatever appeals to your senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound.  When you are happy in your surroundings, you've made your come cozy.





~Grace~

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Summer on My Mind...

I am ready for the summer.  Ok so we have a little bit, but I figured I would get a jump start on getting ready for warmer weather.  I put together an article with helpful ideas for getting your backyard, patio, pool, whatever you have, ready!

Getting ready for summer can mean more than just purchasing a new swimsuit and stocking up on sunscreen. Prepping your outdoor patio for the summer months will create an inviting space that’s perfect for a bit of sun bathing and entertaining with guests. Using color and adding convenient entertaining accessories are a few easy, inexpensive steps that will have your outdoor space primed and ready for a bit of summer fun.


Furniture in an outdoor space is just as important as the furniture is to any room inside the home. Patio and deck furniture has come a long way, and it’s possible to find durable, attractive pieces meant for the outside. Make sure to choose a pretty table to place on the patio, so that you can enjoy the summer weather and eat outdoors.
Remember to place a few lounge chairs by the dining area, so that friends and family can spread out and get some sun in the summer. Dress up the lounge chairs with pillows and coverings in bright, punchy colors, like tangerine or spring green. Color is a perfect way to add a breath of fresh air to your outdoor space for summer. Hot pink, corals and sky blue can be used in accessories, like place mats or ice buckets for the table.


A grilling station is an ideal complement for the dining and lounge space you’ve created. While a grill is a convenient way to cook outdoors in the warm months, not all grills are incredibly attractive. Dress yours up with a few grilling accessories, like silver grill tools or a few pretty platters in bright colors. 
Pay attention to your greenery. Plants and flowers are obviously an important part of an outdoor space, but some alterations can be made to existing pants to update them for summer. Use colorful posies and blooms to add a new feel to the plant beds. 





If you live in an area where temperatures drop once the sun goes down, a cozy fire pit is a welcome addition to an outdoor space. These fire pits can be purchased at a home goods store and come in different materials, like stone or metal. Or, you can make your own using garden bricks circled around a ceramic tile. Light your fire pit with coals or collected branches from the outdoors. Use the pit when guests are over to roast hot dogs or make s’mores.


Don’t forget candle light to go with your fire pit. Use citrus candles with a sweet smell when entertaining outdoors. Also, look for candles designed to keep mosquitoes and other insects away. You can use tiki torches around the lawn to create light when it gets dark out. Or, use small twinkle lights strung up to create a pretty glow. You can also purchase paper lanterns and hang them from the trees to get a festive vibe going for your outdoor space.



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Winter Blues

We all get them, the holidays are over and the weather is still chilly.  The worst is when  it gets dark so early, I feel like I should be heading to bed around 5pm.  So instead of staying all cooped up inside and avoiding winter I came up with some suggestions to embrace it:

Tips for Winter Family Fun

Plan a winter drive. This can be either a short hop or a day-long trip to a beautiful location. Depending on the weather, you don’t have to get out of the car; the key here is that you find a place that’s historically and scenically interesting and appealing to everybody. Make sure you check weather conditions for your route before you go; if snow and ice threaten, plan another activity instead.

Visit a state or national park. Most state and national parks stay at least partly open during the winter months, and they offer a wonderful chance to experience the outdoors when the weather is cold. Again, call first to see if your park is going to be open, and be aware of any road closures in the park; these should be marked with signage and a barricade. Even if some roads are blocked due to snow or wind damage, many roads may still be wide open and ready to travel. Best of all, some parks charge less or even have free admission in the winter, so take advantage of the seasonal perk.



Get up a game. There’s nothing like a little pick-up flag football during the winter months. Many neighborhoods organize regular groups that meet in a park or playground every weekend. This can be a wonderful activity for you and your family to participate in. If there’s not a regular group in your neighborhood, now’s the time to start one. If you plan ahead and set an established day and time, you’ll have a better chance of getting enough people for at least two teams every week. Don’t worry, you don’t have to play if you don’t want to; you can come along as cheerleader or refreshment provider.





Whatever you do, just have fun and try and remember that winter is not ALL that bad!
 ~Grace~

Sunday, January 1, 2012

NYE 2012

Not sure how everyone feels about NYE, but for me it is a continuation of celebrating with friends and family.  It is after this that the winter blues start to kick in.  But this year, my roommates and I decided to have a party. We had a blast browsing on Pinterest for decor ideas and recipes.  We went with gold, silver and black:



                                            Tasteful glittery ornaments and candles to match


                     We made a great champagne punch with strawberries, forgot a picture though:(

     
 The pictures don't do it justice, with the city lights in the windows the silver and gold glistened!

                We took off all of the other decorations that were not in our color scheme, nice right?

The party went great, but I am now realizing the holidays took a toll on me, hope everyone had a safe and Happy New Year!  

                                                                        ~Grace~