Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Liebster Award Nominees!

I am SO excited and proud to introduce 3 amazing ladies as my nominees for the Liebster Award for new bloggers :)
Each of these bloggers is unique from the others and has amazing talents to share with the world. I'm sure you will really enjoy discovering their blogs and will want to begin following them!

First, meet Alison of All About Joy
If you want to be uplifted and infuse happiness into your life, Alison will definitely inspire you.

Next, meet Nora of Nora's Nest
I am in awe of Nora's style! I think she has a fantastic talent for design, and I always look forward to seeing what she will blog about next :)

And finally, meet my friend Kim of the Simple 66 Gal.
Kim is someone who has so much to give. Her blog is a great combination of creativity, love, faith and fun.

So, here are the questions I am posing to my nominees, so that we can all get to know them better...

1. Why did you start blogging? (I copied this one from LeeLee, who nominated me.)

2. What has surprised you most about blogging since you began?

3. What has been your favorite travel destination to date, and where would you most like to go in the future?

4. What's the best gift you've ever received?

5. What's your favorite movie of all time?

6. What is your favorite childhood memory?

7. What ability or skill do you most wish you had?

8. What do you think is your best characteristic?

9. What feeds your creativity?

10. What's one thing you'd rather pay someone to do than do yourself?

11. What is your favorite flower?

Be sure to follow along with my three awesome blogger-nominees to read the answers to these questions and to find out 11 other tidbits that they will share about themselves. Also, check in with LeeLee at Paper Bag Styling too! She's the one who got this little party started at Renaissance Mermaid :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Liebster Award

I have been nominated for the Liebster Award! For those of you who don't know about this award, it is a little like the Welcome Wagon of blogging :)

The sweet, beautiful and talented blogger, LeeLee of Paper Bag Styling nominated me. She and I connected because of blogging, and she has been an inspiration and supporter for me as I've begun my blogging journey. Be sure to stop by her blog and see what she's all about!

So, in true "Liebster" fashion, here we go with LeeLee's questions to me and my answers...

(Why did you start blogging?) I started blogging because I thought it would be an impetus to my getting more projects done and because I needed to push myself to learn better technology skills. I also wanted to be more creative, and blogging is a great platform.

(What is a secret talent you have?) A secret talent I have is remembering old phone numbers (pretty useless) and old song artists (also useless.)

(What do you do when you have free time?) When I have free time I love to "poke around" at antique stores, garage sales and flea markets. I can also get pretty lost in a good bookstore.

(What is your favorite color?) I don't think I can choose just one. I love green for interiors. I also love purple. I wear tons of black. There are just too many beautiful colors to pick from!

(What is your favorite T.V. show?) My favorite T.V. show is Parenthood!!! I never miss it...it's such a great show! I'm also a fan of The Big Bang Theory, HGTV and Ellen.

(What is one thing that makes you actually LOL-laugh out loud?) The one thing that makes me LOL is the way my dog sleeps

(What time of day do you blog/network/social media?) I do these activities on and off throughout the day. I used to fret that my kids spent too much time doing this, and now I'm just as guilty!

(What is your favorite accessory?) For clothing, it is vintage rhinestone brooches, and for interiors, it is jeweled picture frames and architectural mouldings.

(What is the most recent book you've read...or magazine? LOL) I'm in a book club (which is one of my favorite monthly girls' nights out!) We just read "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother" by Julia Sweeney. On my own, I am reading "Simple Abundance" daily, and our next book club book is "The Silent Wife."

(If you were an "-aholic" what would that be?) If I were an "-aholic" I would definitely be a Mt. Dew- or Frappuccino-aholic! Sadly, I already am, and I keep trying to reform myself...so far, with limited success :(

(When you were a child, what did you dream of being?) When I was a child I dreamed of being an artist or a dancer. Unfortunately, I don't have a natural gift for fine art (unless it has been latent all these years.) But my daughter is a professional dancer (and yes, I absolutely do live vicariously through her.)
(Did you do it?) I was an interior designer for 18 years, so that is pretty artistic. But I believe I missed my true calling as a graphic designer, journalist or editor.

And now, the 11 facts about myself...

1. I have very eclectic taste in music. My typical playlist may include Michael Buble, Usher, Incubus, Rascal Flatts, lots of oldies from the 70's, and Chris Botti, just to name a few!

2. I HATE winter and feeling cold! (But I collect snowflakes - not the real ones, haha!)

3. I kind-of suck at cooking and gardening. But I decorate a pretty awesome Christmas tree :)

4. I am an only child and I REALLY enjoy my "alone" time. On the other hand, I'd love to have a sibling.

5. I read lots of motivational and self-improvement books, I love quotes, and I really enjoy Oprah's Super Soul Sunday.

6. I really wish I had gotten a graduate degree, and I always loved school. At the time I should/could have been pursuing a higher degree, I was pouring all of my energy and resources into my children. I would love to work on a college campus, though. (Maybe in an Admissions office...college students fascinate me.)

7. I am a grammar and spelling Nazi. I should probably be an English teacher.

8. In college, I had a Rod Stewart hairstyle for awhile, and I wore loafers and button-down oxford shirts. Wow, can you even visualize how stylish I was? ;)

9. I played both the piano and the violin from the ages of 7-18. I basically haven't touched either one since then. (Pretty sure I was doing these things mostly to please my mother.)

10. I didn't have my first pedicure until I was almost 50 years old! That fact is both a little sad and a little embarrassing. It shows just how ridiculously frugal I used to be. But now I have learned that taking care of ourselves is not selfish, but healthy.

11. I have changed and grown (for the better) more in the past 3 years than in the 49 years prior.

Now you know a little bit more about me. Stay tuned as I announce my awesome blogger nominees in a few days...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Birdhouse Gets A Call-Back

I bought this birdhouse at Pier 1 years ago on clearance. It was at home on our sun porch for a long time...when the color scheme included red. Then my house metamorphosed into mostly neutrals and the reds just seemed too bold (not that I don't still love red, which I do! But my home is ever-evolving.)

It looked like its fate may be an ending at Goodwill. It sat in the closet for months, waiting for my next trip to make a donation. And then, finally, a breath of Spring made its way into Nebraska. Our front porch cried out for embellishments! So that neglected red birdhouse got a second audition.

I broke out my paintbrushes, craft paint and a wooden fleur-de-lis that happened to be in the craft closet. I abandoned my former perfectionist tendencies and painted with a free spirit. (Formerly I would have obsessed over every straight, perfectly painted edge. Thankfully I have worked through some of my control issues, haha.)

I have always been a fan of black, ivory and geometrics, so that's where my inspiration began. And from there, I really got crazy and threw in some yellow (haha, ok, so I still have a restrained sense of color, but at least it's not completely neutral.)

I think it brings some cheer to my porch for Spring. Now if I can only keep the real birds from making messes out there...

Sharing at DIY Show Off, The Tablescaper, Pieced Pasttimes, Dwellings, Nifty Thrifty Things, Cozy Little House, StoneGable
, Lamberts Lately, Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo, Shabby Art Boutique

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Hen and Two Chicks

There was a hen party last weekend in Chicago! One hen and two chicks attended. There were manicures; there was shopping; there was cheesecake; there were champagne cocktails.

My daughter's best friend and I flew off to the Windy City to help my (one and only) daugher select a wedding dress. It turned out to be a perfectly wonderful experience (no disappointment, no frazzled nerves and no frustration.) It helped that the bride-to-be had a strong vision of what she wanted in a dress. It also helped that she has spent the last 20+ years on stages wearing dance costumes, because she knows what she likes and what looks good on her body.

On Day 1, we had the pleasure of visiting Dame Couture in Evanston, IL where we were treated to a special glimpse into the world of custom-made and vintage dresses. Owner, Holly Greenhagen, was attentive, creative and professional and had invested time preparing fabrics and ideas before we ever arrived. The service we were given was personal and considerate, and my daughter was pretty much sold on ordering her dress from this shop. We left our appointment and went "out on the town" and took our celebration from dinner at a Mexican restaurant to a session of chatting, looking at bridal magazines and drinking wine in our hotel room.

Day 2 arrived, and we warned our bride to keep an open mind as we prepared for the second, and final, appointment...this time at BHLDN in Chicago's Gold Coast district. For any of you fans of Anthropologie (I am their fan-club president, by the way...haha) BHLDN is Anthropologie's sister store and bridal line. Let me tell you, there were no words for our reactions when we stepped into this shop (other than "OH MY GOSH!", said emphatically and repeatedly.) Suffice it to say that, as both an interior designer and mother of the bride, I could have been quite happy to reside in there until the end of my life.)

My daughter's stylist, who was sweet and accommodating, had also pulled her favorite gowns before we arrived, and our bride was anxious to slip into each one. Every dress was stunning in its own way, and it was a joy to watch her model each one. As she chose her favorite and it was "blinged up" with the perfect accessories, it was impossible for my glowing daughter to deny that she had found her perfect dress. (Of course, I can't possibly spill her secret and post a picture until after the wedding...)

Cue the champagne party!!! After we toasted in the bridal shop and completed our purchasing details, we made our way to POPS for Champagne for a celebratory cocktail. (Fun Fact: the name of the drink I ordered was "Bad Girl, Drunk by Six". Luckily, I didn't take the name seriously.)

Dinner and cheesecake followed, after which Prince Charming (the fiance) drove us back to our hotel.

There were a few other fun events throughout our time in Chicago (shopping, manicures, lunches, etc.) and way too soon, it was time for the hen party to end.

Those extra special, once-in-a-lifetime moments fly by,

......but they're worth every amazing second.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cat's Meow!

When I saw this cheetah print rug, I thought, "This rug is the cat's meow!" OK, not really, because I don't actually talk like that, but it is a funny pun, right?

I found this beauty at Overstock.com and you can find the ordering info (here.) I think it adds warmth and personality galore to my very ordinary master bathroom. And I love that it is a hooked construction rather than a cut pile rug. It also may have solved a little design dilemma for me. I had really planned to paint the vanity in here to match the room's door, but....

First off, we had to replace the medicine cabinet door because as you can see, what was there was an eyesore, circa early 1990's.

So I painted that and fully planned to do the same with the vanity cabinet. I was truly dreading that process, as painting cabinets does not equal fun in my mind, although I do favor painted wood over stained almost always!!
I must say that my mind was ping-ponging with that thought, though. I wasn't sure if the painted vanity would be visually heavy enough or if it would look like it was floating in this room with the black accents. So, when I placed that cheetah rug on the floor, I pretty much decided that it really pulls the room together and ties in with the stained wood as it is. Maybe it's a little laziness on my part, so that I don't have to do the work of painting. But I do actually like how it brings the browns together.

And check out this flea-market-find black shutter!

I fell in love and bought it, not knowing exactly where it would end up once I got it home. But any black shutter is a friend of mine, and I just knew that there would be a spot that was right. I think it fits perfectly in this space above the toilet, and the topiary definitely gives some "life" to this hard-edged space.

Some new cabinet hardware added just a little glamour. I found these all at Lowe's.

Now there are only a couple of minor details to finish up (towel hooks and something artsy for a large blank wall) and then this project will be wrapped up.

And by the way, since I've been so busy working on creative projects...our dinner tonight, Honey, will be crackers and cheese :)

Sharing with: Living Well Spending Less, Revisionary Life, Life in Velvet, Ivy and Elephants