Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Breathtaking Vistas and Our Stay in the Amalfi Coast

I recently came across a post by Michele at Hello Lovely highlighting her stay at this beautiful apartment while in Paris.  After reminiscing with her, my mind kept wandering back to one of my favorite all time trips.

In 2007, two years after I was married to my husband, we were lucky enough to travel to Italy - a prerequisite of mine before there was any talk of children!  I, correctly, assumed that once our little ones were here, romantic trips to far away places would likely be a thing of my dreams.  Luckily, I had the chance to visit the Amalfi Coast, because it is literally the place that dreams are made of with its soaring cliffs, breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, and enchanting atmosphere. 

My favorite stop of the Italy trip - although I enjoyed it all - was in Positano, a seaside town situated amongst the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast.  The Amalfi Coast, a stretch of coastline and series of towns, is on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in Southern Italy. (Wikipedia, baby :))

Amalfi Coast
The photo above is the perfect characterization of Positano: cheerful, colorful, charismatic buildings built into the rugged and soaring cliffs of Amalfi. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Six Ideas to Update the Living Room

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I was suprised to see that yesterday I reached 100 e-mail subscriptions to the blog!  I never even considered adding that as an option until someone requested it!  Thanks so much to everyone who stops by here.  :)

Looking through pictures upon pictures of my own home brings to the forefront of my mind all of the changes I want to make!  Don't get me wrong, we've come a long way since we first purchased our home.  However, I'm ready to add the finishing touches to our space.

First Stop:  Living Room.

#1 Shoji White by Sherwin Williams / #2 Safi Rug, West Elm / #3 Ivory Velvet Drape, Pottery Barn / #4 Cleo Table Lamp, Crate and Barrel / #5 Modern Art via

Our basics are in place: seating, media table, side tables, and ottoman.  We also have a lot of pillow and throw options available (I just shop from other areas of my house).  So here are several ideas I've considered to create a finished look for our living room.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Home Tour...again...

I shared our home tour over at It's Overflowing last week, but it includes many pictures that I have yet to share here at my own site!  So, I felt I should share it here too if you didn't get a chance to stop over there and check it out.....

We bought our current home about 4 years ago.  One day back in 2008 I was complaining about the shared walls of our city condo (which you can tour here) with my husband and he unexpectedly said "ok, let's move."  We took about two weeks to get the condo ready for sale and a month later we were closed and moved out!!!!  This all happened so quickly that we had no where to go!  So, humbly, we went home to my parents house.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Home Tour Featured at It's Overflowing

Our home was featured at It's Overflowing.....

You can check out my home tour here (and it includes several before and after pictures I have yet to share).

Aimee, from It's Overflowing, has an awesome blog full of do it yourself tips, recipes, photography tips, and home decor ideas. If you haven't seen her blog already, you should check it out.

Her weekly series, Dreamy Dwelling Tours, shares awesome home tours and inspiration.  You can stop by and check it out here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our First Place: Condo Home Tour

My first place, shared with my husband, was a small city condo downtown Chicago.  The best aspect of our condo was its location.  We were on Southport Avenue, which was a few blocks west of Wrigley Field and it had a ton of shops, restaurants, and bars within walking distance, and easy access to public transportation.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Add Life, or Art, to your Walls...

I was recently asked to share my home at another bloggers site and I said "yes, absolutely"!!!  However, I have not shared certain rooms in their entirety because I'm still trying to finish the spaces to a place that I'm happy with.  SOOO...that left me trying to quickly get things together in there so that I wouldn't embarrass myself!  ;)

One thing I needed to add quickly and cheaply to the room was wall art.  Today I will share a few ideas that I came up with to quickly add some life to your walls.  I will be honest, I have not had a chance to implement all of these ideas, but I wanted to save them here for my future reference!  Hope you might find this beneficial as well.

1.  First and foremost, know what you like.  Or follow me on pinterest!!!  ;)  The following snapshot is my Pinterest "Make a Statement with Art" board:

Create a board on Pinterest and start pinning when you see something that catches your eye.  This way you have a frame of reference when you need to make a decision on art. just isn't fun to make a hole in the wall and then one week later change your mind about the height, shape, size - whatever - of that picture you just HAD TO HAVE last week.  I speak from experience here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Seven Ideas to Create a Gallery Wall.....

Gallery Wall Ideas

I was recently asked to share a tour of my home at another bloggers site and I said "yes, absolutely"!!! However, besides for the Christmas-y pictures I shared here, I have no other pictures of the main living spaces of our home! 

One thing I needed to add quickly and cheaply to certain rooms - to get ready for sharing my home tour - was wall art.  Tomorrow, I will share a few ideas that I came up with to quickly and cheaply add some life to our walls.  However, today I will focus in on one of those ideas: creating a gallery wall using your own images.

I'm not going to tell you what color and size frames to use or how you should arrange them.  I want to talk about what you will put inside them. 

I love the idea of using your own photos because it is personal and an easy conversation starter. It's also relatively inexpensive when considering the alternative fee of paying for the rights to someone else's image.   I use Costco for printing my photos and an 11" x 14" only costs $3.12.   Furthermore, Hobby Lobby sells a very large selection of frames and mattes and often offers these at 50% off.

You don't have to be a professional to take good pictures.   I am by no means a photographer.   I've never taken a photography class and I have never read the manual of my own camera. I do not own a DSLR camera, either, so I'm working with the basics here.

What I do have access to is Google's free Picasa photo editor. This allows you to easily edit and crop photos to make them more interesting. If I gave you only two tips it would be:
  • Turn off your flash! It is unflattering to EVERYTHING. This means you need to have a steady hand and access to good light. So just go outside!
  • Frame your shot! Consider the objects in the background / foreground and depending on your subject, get up close, up high, or down low....just make it interesting! You have another shot at making it interesting once you edit your photos, so don't be overly concerned yet.
Here are a few photo grouping ideas I came up with after browsing pictures I've snapped over the past several years:

1.  Bold Colorful Photo Wall.  Do you feel like you want to inject color into an otherwise bland room? Get up close and personal with...a fruit stand...or bouquet of flowers:

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dinner Idea: Pizza Margherita

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I'm very much looking forward to a night at home in front of the fire! 

Some days, I will let my older son skip his nap and put the two boys down by 7.  On these nights, we like to wait to have dinner while enjoying a nice fire. 

So, on the menu for tonight is Grilled Pizza Margherita! 

I love this recipe because I usually have all of the ingredients on hand and can easily make it when I haven't had time to plan and prep a dinner.  Here is what you will need: