{five minute friday} Why You Need a Five Minute To Do List

Friday, December 9, 2016

Around this time I always start thinking about my goals for the upcoming new year. I'm not really one for specific New Years Resolutions, but I do like to sit down and think about what I'd like to accomplish and how I can be more productive. The conclusion I always come to... I need more hours in the day! Who can relate?! Today I've got a tip that can help us all find a little extra time in our days, and I want to thank Pilot Corporation of America for sponsoring this post.

Tracking Pixel

{seasonal style} Our Favorite Christmas Tradition

The countdown to Christmas is on, and we are filling our days with all of our favorite Christmas activities and traditions. We've been baking cookies, looking at Christmas lights, listening to carolers sing downtown, and reading our favorite Christmas books! 

My boys love books, and I love that! Which is why we books play an important role in one of our favorite family traditions! Today I'm excited to join with a fun group of bloggers to talk about creating Christmas traditions, and we've each teamed with At Home stores to give our traditions some stylish upgrades! At Home wants to help you make your holiday traditions extra special as well, so be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post!

{decorating with style} Christmas Home Tour: Part 2

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Is anyone else dreaming of a white Christmas? What about an orange and white Christmas?! It's definitely not a traditional color combo for the holidays, but then again, I've never been accused of being traditional.

Today I'm teaming up with some of my favorite modern and eclectic home decor bloggers for the Winter Eclectic Home Tour, hosted by Domicile 37. Last week, I gave you a peek at the red and teal decor on our main level, but for today's tour, I'm thrilled to show you how a color traditional associated with Halloween can make for a very fun twist on Christmas decor!

{seasonal style} Retro Christmas Front Porch

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Tiny tots, with their eyes all aglow"... I've always loved that line in Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song, and I'll admit that I'm a total sucker when it comes to fulfilling my kids' requests for Christmas decorations. 

A few years back, I bought two small Christmas trees for our front steps, and I usually hang a wreath on each door, but this year the kids asked for some colored lights and decorations for the trees, so I knew it was time to step up my porch decor game a bit. 

Candle lanterns on front porch for Christmas

{seasonal style} My Home Style: Christmas Tree Edition

Monday, December 5, 2016

Welcome to another addition of "My Home Style." Today we're talking Christmas trees. As you may already know, I describe my personal style as MODERN. GRAPHIC. FAMILY.  Last year I showed you how the big Christmas tree in our basement {the one where Santa leaves the loot} reflects this style, but today I'm excited to show you the new ornaments I made for the skinny tree in our living room.

Special thanks to Stephanie of Casa Watkins for coordinating today's My Home Style: Christmas Tree Edition blog! If you've just stopped by from her site, I'm thrilled to have you here! At the end of this post, you'll find links to all of the other bloggers sharing their Christmas tree styles today.

{seasonal style} Eclectic Ornaments of Christmas

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What is your favorite Christmas ornament? Is it a special family heirloom passed down through the generations? Pom poms and glue made my your kids at school? Or maybe a new ornament that was just too pretty to pass up? Today I've joined with 14 of my home decor blogging friends to share the story behind some of the most meaningful ornaments in our eclectic collections. My pick comes from over 9,000 miles away...

{style inspiration} Apartment Style Three Ways, Without Buying Furniture

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of CORT. All opinions are 100% mine.

My husband is a real estate appraiser specializing in commercial properties, so he spends a lot of time touring and inspecting apartment communities. When he visits new, or newly renovated, properties, he often snaps pictures of unique design and decorating ideas that he thinks I'll like {yep, he's a keeper}. Recently he picked up a CORT Furniture Rental catalog in the lobby an apartment and brought it home to show me. I was amazed! I had no idea that furniture rental offered such stylish options, and I thought some of you might be surprised by this as well. 

I talk a lot about decorating in a way that makes your home both stylish and functional, but when you are a renter, the process can be more challenging. Especially if you know that your rental is temporary - whether that be a couple of months or a couple of years. When you are going back to grad school, relocating for a job, renting while you save up for your first home, or starting over, it often doesn't make sense to invest in buying an entire apartment worth of furniture if you know you won't be living in that space place for long. But there is another way...

Stylish Apartment living with furniture rental

{decorating with style} Christmas Home Tour: Part 1 + $600 GIVEAWAY

Monday, November 28, 2016

Happy Holidays, friends! Have you put up your tree yet? We started decorating for Christmas about a week ago, and I still have just a little more to do, but today I'm really excited to show you how I've decked the halls on our main floor - including the entry, living room, and kitchen/dining room - with touches of red.

Modern Merry and Bright Christmas Decor

{five minute friday} Organizing Tips to Take the Stress Out of Christmas Shopping

Friday, November 25, 2016

The holidays should be a joyous time, full of family togetherness and fun, but all to often we let ourselves get stressed out by the shopping, decorating, cooking, and other items on our to do list. Today I've got three quick and easy organizing tips that will take the stress out of Christmas shopping!

{shopping for style} Gift Guide for Every Pet Lover on Your List

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This post is sponsored by Cost Plus World Market, which is one of my favorite places to shop! Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible! As always, all ideas and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

Any pet lovers out there? I thought so! I ask about pet lovers, rather than pet owners, because I know that they are not necessarily one and the same. Our house, for example, is full of dog lovers even though we don't have any pets.

My boys recently started asking for dog of their own, but it's a difficult decision because my younger sister has special needs and has a hard time around pets, including panic attacks. The last thing we want is for our house to be a place that she does not feel welcome and comfortable, so for now we are staying a pet free home. Instead, I've been redirecting my boys energy and enthusiasm toward the dogs in our extended family. They are very proud "dog uncles"!  

On a recent trip to Cost Plus World Market, the boys were loving all of the cute products with dogs and cats on them! My older son especially loved all the items with pets in glasses and ties. And my younger son, who enjoys doing yoga at preschool, was cracking up at the notecards with animals in yoga poses. 

Seeing the joy my kids got from shopping for pet-related gifts prompted me to put together a gift guide for all the other pet lovers out there. 

{seasonal style} Beautifully Kid-Friendly Christmas Decor

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet? We put up our Christmas tree last night, with the help of our two young boys, and as we did so, I was reminded of the blog post I wrote a couple of years ago about how to keep Christmas decorations baby and kid-safe without sacrificing style.

I know a lot of moms and dads feel hesitant to decorate for Christmas when they have very young kids in the house, both out of concern for the safety of those little ones, and for fear of sentimental items getting broken. With that in mind, I thought it might be time to dust off and re-share the tips that help us safely enjoy the magic of Christmas with our kids each year.

My boys are now 4.5 and 3, but back when we were preparing for our very first Christmas as parents, a lot of people gave us advice on Christmas decorating that ranged from "just skip the decorations" to "enforce a strict no-touch policy." Neither of these seemed to make sense for our family, so we decided to find ways to decorate in a kid-friendly manner that we could all enjoy without stress or fear!


When it came to the Christmas tree, the most common suggestion we heard as new parents was to only hang ornaments on the top half of tree out of our son's reach. But even that seemed dangerous to me. Our son was nearly one on his first Christmas and was already walking. I knew that even if I stopped him from mischievously shaking the tree, he was still likely to reach out to grab a branch to steady himself or stop himself from falling while toddling by. And even a baby that is just learning to roll or crawl could easily tug on a lower branch, wiggle the tree, and knock an ornament off of a high branch.

Instead, we decided to decorate a tree that could have a totally "hands-on" policy. This meant keeping all of the ornaments baby and kid-friendly from top to bottom! But I still wanted the tree to be festive and stylish, so I began a search for beautiful, baby-friendly decorations.

When it comes to decorating a child-friendly tree, the "don'ts" are pretty simple: nothing breakable, nothing heavy or sharp that could fall, nothing small enough for a young child to choke on - including items that shed, like tinsel. With babies and toddlers around, it can be a lot easier to figure out what not to put on the tree than it is to figure out what to put on the tree.

What I ended up with was a whole lot of felt, from garland to ornaments - but I was surprised to discover just how beautiful a tree covered in felt could be! You can read all the details about our tree here, and I've included links to similar ornaments below...

Baby Proof Christmas Tree

Here are my favorite similar baby and kid-friendly ornaments that you'll find in stores this year {affiliate links}:

You'll notice that all of these felt and fabric ornaments have string loops for hanging. Avoid any ornaments with hooks that could poke little fingers{or eyes}, and if necessary, remove hooks and replace them with ribbon or twine.

Of course, no matter what you choose to decorate your tree, dangers will still exist, so it's important to never leave a child unattended around the Christmas tree.


If you kids are like mine, they are fascinated by plugs and outlets. Our son's first Christmas, he saw us plugging and unplugging the lights on the tree, and soon he was trying to crawl under the tree to plug it in by himself so that he could see the pretty lights. To avoid this problem, we now have the lights on our tree plugged in to a simple, automatic timer {affiliate link} so that the lights come on and go off at set times.

By doing this, we are able to position the tree so that the plug in is hidden, and because our sons don't see us reaching behind the tree to plug it in, they are not so curious about it. We can even make it a special game for the kids by taking them to the tree to watch the lights magically turn on at the specified time!


Before we had kiddos, our tree was full or shiny and sparkly glass ornaments, but once we baby-proofed the Christmas tree with fabric and felt ornaments, the question that lingered in my mind was what to do with those delicate glass ornaments to keep them safely out of little hands without leaving them packed away for years and years. The answer was to hang them high in our windows where we can all enjoy seeing them sparkling and shining in  the light, but far out of the reach of our sons. Read more details about our glass ornament window display.

Baby Proof Child Friendly Glass Ornament Display


Before we had kids, we didn't hang stockings by our fireplace, but after our boys came along, stockings were a must. I used to think those decorative, weighted stocking holders {popular at all the major retailers} were really pretty - that was before I read the scary statistics about how many children are injured ever year when they tug on stockings and those heavy holders fall down on them. Everything from bad bumps on the head to puncture wounds.

We just couldn't take that chance, so instead we screwed some small hooks into the underside of our mantle to safely hang our stockings.

Hang stockings safely from fireplace mantle

We picked small, dark hooks, and they are very inconspicuous against our dark wood mantle and dark tile fireplace surround. Since the hooks are screwed in, they are there year round, but are virtually invisible when the stockings are not hanging from them. I am pretty picky about things like that, and thought it would bug me having hooks there year-round, but I honestly don't notice them at all. And I feel so much better knowing that falling stocking holders aren't going to cause injury and put a damper on our holiday cheer!

Beautifully kid-friendly baby-safe Christmas decor

Looking for more baby-proofing / kid-safe tips? Read about the nearly invisible way that we child-proofed our horizontal railings!

{five minute friday} Quick Tips to Prep for Winter

Friday, November 11, 2016

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Lennox® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

We are having quite the Indian Summer around here, but predictions are that we'll be seeing a snowier than normal winter. I'm trying to enjoy every last 70 degree day while I can before the weather turns cold, but we've already started to prep for the changing seasons. For those of you that live in cold weather climates, today I've got five quick tips to help you get ready, too.

{one room challenge} Organized Garage Makeover Reveal

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I have dreaded cleaning and organizing our garage for years now. And I honestly never thought I'd tackle it for the One Room Challenge because I couldn't imagine how I could turn raw studs and concrete into a photo worthy space. But the garage had gotten so out of hand that I had no choice but to finally do something. Since I work best under a deadline, the ORC seemed to offer me the best hope of starting and finishing the project, and the motivation to do it as well as possible.

And you guuuuys... guess what?! It turns out that dirty, dingy garage had more potential than I gave it credit for! I've somehow managed to create a space that is clean, bright, and even photo worthy... 

I entered this project with the goal of creating an organized and functional space, and I am extremely proud of how I achieved that goal. But along the way I was able to also make it a heck of a lot prettier...talk about a happy accident! Come on in and let me show you all the details...

If you are new here, and wondering what the heck the One Room Challenge is all about, let me give you the quick overview. It is a twice annual blogging event hosted by Calling It Home in which hundred or more designers challenge themselves to completely makeover one room in their home in just five weeks time. We each post weekly updates throughout the process, starting with the the before photos and design plans, and leading up to the final reveal of our completed space. That's TODAY! 

This is my sixth time participating in the One Room Challenge, and you can find all of our prior ORC transformations here: little gentleman's bedroom | modern graphic master bedroom | rock & roll under stair playroom | light & bright laundry closet | graphic glam master bathroom

If you'd like to catch up on how we got here, you can catch up on each of the weekly garage makeover posts here: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

Ok, back to the garage! YIPEE! Note that this post contains some affiliate links for your convenience {read more}.

This wall of storage makes me so happy! No seriously, you should have seen me dancing around the garage while taking these photos! And check out that shiny, pretty dance floor?! I partnered with Rust-Oleum to coat the floor in their gunmetal RockSolid Metallic floor finish, and it is ah-mazing! {You can read all about the floor product and the DIY process in this tutorial.}

I know there's a lot to take in in these photos, and I'll walk you through the details. But first, let's look back at the before photo so you can appreciate just how far the garage has come!

This was six short weeks ago...

And today...

Not only did we manage to organize all of our stuff, we added so much to the garage that we didn't have before... like a fridge and freezer. Do you see them? It's like Where's Waldo... See all of those paint swatches. Yep, there they are!

Over the years, I have pinned tons of photos of rooms with walls covered in paint swatches. I've always loved the idea of it, but could never imagine a space in my home where it would fit. But when the fridge and freezer were delivered and I saw all that white space, I saw it as a blank palette just waiting to be turned into art. 

I'll share the full tutorial on my paint swatch fridge and freezer later, but here's the secret... magnets!

The fridge and freezer certainly make a major statement now... but they are well balance by the white walls and the white storage bins and drawers. Let's get down to details and I'll show you how we organized all. the. things.

In the old rendition of our garage, we had an rolling cart that held our shovel, rake, brooms, etc. But it took up too much room. By using both the wall space and the space on the side of the fridge, I was able to fit all of these necessities into much less real estate. Heavy duty magnet hooks are my new best friend! 

On the other side of the freezer, we installed an entire system of hanging shelves and drawers. This, hands down, was the key to solving all of our old storage woes. This entire wall used to be covered in stand alone shelving units, but the floor in front of the shelves was always filled with bikes, trikes, wagons, large tools, and more.

By doing away with the old shelf units and replacing them with the hanging system that frees up the floor space below, we were able to tuck many of the bulky items underneath.

And those drawers... I heart them so, so much! They provide us much easier access to many of the items that we use on a regular basis, and their lids keep everything inside clean and free from dust and bugs.

And if there is one thing I'm more excited about than the drawers, it's the paint swatch labels! Details on these will be coming soon, too.

We are working our way around to the workshop corner of the garage, so how about another before and after?

We replaced the old plastic workbench and cabinet with a new metal workbench with a large open shelf perfect for our miter saw and tool boxes. The workbench came with a particle board top and bottom shelf. I replaced the particle board with birch plywood from Home Depot {$20 each}, which I stained with Rust-Oleum Summer Oak and added two coats of polyurethane for a higher end look.

Next to the stationary workbench, we added a rolling tool chest with tons of storage and an adjustable height work surface. Being able to roll this workbench out into the middle or the garage will make it so much easier when we are cutting long boards or working on other projects that require a little more elbow room.

Now I have a space where I can truly "DIY with Style"! But this sign is not just for looks... it's actually hiding one of the major eye sores in the garage. Right behind it there is a big mess of electrical wires running through the studs. Plus the sign also gave me an excuse to finally use my new Cricut, and I love the shiny and reflective foil vinyl!

I've always wanted a pegboard where we could keep our most frequently used tools within easy reach, and I love the way it came together. In addition to hanging my hammer and screwdrivers, I also added a hanging file holder for all of the instruction manuals for our tools.

The ETC box holds three mason jar with pens, pencils, rulers, and graph paper notebooks. I was so excited to find these wood pencils with the colorful tops!

I also have a major love of typography and signage, so I was thrilled for the excuse to buy this metal R!

Last week, when I stepped back and looked at the workbench space, it felt like something was missing. That wall space above was calling for something. A fancy frame of course. LOL! But seriously, I couldn't be happier with how this last minute paint brush art came together! {Tutorial coming soon}

Even with that entire wall of storage, we still had a few more things that needed a home, including our bikes and our tall ladder. They found a home in the opposite corner of the garage.

Here comes another before and after...

I was initially concerned about hanging the bikes because I am not strong enough to lift a bike down from ceiling hooks. Then we discovered these amazing pulley systems!

We will be parking two cars in this three car garage, and we were thrilled when the measurements revealed that we had just enough depth to add a storage box in front of one of the parking spaces. This solves another of our big storage challenges - where to put our outdoor cushions, pillows, and accessories during the snowy winter months. 

Thanks for sticking with me! Here's one final look at the before and afters...

The garage source list is below. Over the coming weeks and months I'll be sharing more details, including lots of organizational tips and some DIY tutorials. Until then, you'll find me getting my DIY on in my stylish new space... and maybe even some more dancing!

Stationary Workbench {we swapped out the top for nicer wood}
Birch Plywood for stationary workbench top/bottom shelf
Teal Storage Boxes for Nails/Screws
Schlage Keyless Lock on garage door
"DIY with Style" Sign made with Cricut Explore Air and Foil Vinyl

Be sure to head over to Calling it Home to see all of the other amazing One Room Challenge reveal post. This round of the ORC I've been fortunate to have teamed up with the most talented group of designers and we've served as each other's personal cheerleaders. I've already had the chance to scope out their reveals, and they are incredible. I am excited to share a sneak peek of their spaces with you and I hope you'll stop by and check them out and leave them some love!








That's another One Room Challenge in the books! Now I'm going to catch up on some sleep...