Good Reads

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

August 23, 2017

Small Great Things

I actually read this awesome book last month but recent events brought this book back to mind, for not-so-awesome reasons.  Small Great Things, is an introspective read but more importantly, it confirms or gives insight to other’s points of view regarding race.  While certain voices present in this novel were no surprise, reading through views that differ greatly from my own, proved to be the only challenge with this easy, quick read.  While watching the coverage of the events in Charlotte, Virginia this past weekend, I couldn’t help but think about the characters in this novel. In my mind, the characters in this book were real, alive, and holding torches on the University of Virginia campus.

This novel also revolved around an African American woman whose thoughts and feelings reminded me of my own, even toward others that are actually on my side.  It reminded me of a recent quote from George W. Bush, “too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples – while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”   I find this to be true of the characters in this novel and the real life characters we encounter daily – including ourselves.

If you are looking for a great, fast paced read, I highly recommend this book.  You might as well have your friends or book club read it with you because you’ll definitely want someone to discuss it with!

Enjoy and please share your thoughts!

All About Design DIY Holiday Decor

Spring DIY Centerpieces – What Would Beyonce Do?

April 14, 2017

Many of you caught our segment on Good Morning Washington today and we thank you so much for the support and feedback!  Our segment was on simple, DIY centerpieces and projects that can be created with items you may already have at home.   Here is a quick tutorial on how to make our featured items!

 

Hanging Around

(Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/507710557967997526/)

 

Supplies

Eggs

Ribbon

Scissors

Hot glue gun

Flowers

 

Directions

  1. Crack just the top of the egg and make a hole.
  2. Discard the insides.
  3. Cut 5ft of ribbon.
  4. Hot glue ribbon around egg.
  5. Cut and insert flower into the egg
  6. Hang at the top of the window.

 

 

What’s up Dock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supplies

Carrots

Vase

Foam board

Flowers

Scissors

Directions

  1. Cut carrots to fit height of vase.
  2. Cut a square block of foam board and place in middle of vase, leaving about ¾ of an inch between the foam board and glass.
  3. Place carrots around the foam board (in the space in between the board and glass).
  4. Cut and place flowers in the middle of the vase.
  5. Add water.

 

 

What Would Beyonce Do?

Supplies

Small vase

Larger Vase

Lemons

Knife

Flowers

Directions

  1. Slice lemons about an ½ inch per slice.
  2. Place the smaller vase inside the larger vase.
  3. Put the lemon slices in the small space in between the two vases.
  4. Place flowers in middle/smaller vase.
  5. Add water.
All About Design Interior Design

5 Spring Trends for Interior Design

April 12, 2017

It looks like spring is finally here to stay!  As we sit here with our fingers crossed hoping we’ve worn our winter coats, boots and sweaters for the last time this season, we look forward to the promise of spring!  As you begin to swap out clothes in your closets and take on the “out with the old, in with the new” mantra, consider these interior design trends that are sure to refresh your home just in time for spring!

  1. Green

(https://www.fowlerscarpets.com.au/blogs/news/green-glamour-interior-inspiration)

Green is back!  All shades are making a strong comeback this season, from lime to emerald.  There are different ways to incorporate this strong color.  You can switch to green accent walls, or swap out old furniture for this color de jour.  If you are not a fan of the green family, consider just a few accents items like, plants, glasses or accent chairs.

 

  1. Marble and Brass

(http://www.home-designing.com/2015/11/3-modern-homes-in-many-shades-of-gray)

One trend that will remain is the combination of marble and brass!  This is a popular look for kitchens and baths.  Many credit the neutral and clean feel of the marble with the hard and glamorous feel of brass.  No matter the reason, this stunning combination is a winner.  The simple beauty of it works well with many pops of colors or other elements of interior design.

 

  1. 50 Shades of Gray

(http://www.home-designing.com/inspiring-examples-of-use-of-grey-in-luxury-interior-design)

Another returning trend form 2016 is the use of grays.  Like green, this color trend works in any hue of gray.  However, since this is a softer color, it works in combination with many other pops of color from bold reds to soft pinks, and of course white.

 

  1. Texture

(http://www.jenniferbrouwerdesign.com/blog/2012/04/texture-how-does-it-enhance-your-design-concept/)

Texture is always in for me!  It can turn almost flat room into a 3D masterpiece!  Take the above photo for example.  A plain cotton sofa can make a room blah and boring, but a large textured picture can really make the room pop and come alive!

 

  1. Unique Lighting

(Lighting by Emporium Home)

Quirky lighting options are my favorite finds for spring trends.  I have the light pictured above in my formal dining room and it is always a great conversation piece.  Lighting options are a fantastic place to take risks.  In addition to hanging fixtures, consider funky table or bedside lamps to add to the beauty of the room.

Adulting Good Reads

Year of Yes – Book Review!

March 12, 2017

Like many of you and millions of other viewers, I am a huge fan of Shonda Land!  For those of you who don’t know, Shonda Land is the name given to the string of television shows on ABC on Thursday nights, all produced by Shonda Rhimes.  It started with “Grey’s Anatomy” and now includes “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder.”

If you are a fan of her work, you may have noticed how much more visible she has become lately.  While reading her book, I discovered that her creative mind is much like mine.   We both prefer to create the environment and stay behind the scenes – shying away from recognition or accolades.  I’ve challenged myself to come from behind the curtain, hence the birth of this blog.  This book details how Shonda challenged herself to come out of her shell, with a year of saying “yes!”  This book makes you laugh and even get a little teary-eyed, as you discover that no matter how successful someone is – we all have struggles and challenges to overcome. It is our weaknesses and our vulnerabilities that unite us as humans.

This book was a wonderful read of her personal journey through a year of change.  Not only did she say “yes” to more public speaking opportunities, but most importantly, she started saying “yes” to herself in different ways.  This book will not only give you the insight into the changes she embraced, but it will make you consider ways you can begin to say “yes” to YOU!  And most importantly, you will find yourself forgiving yourself for your inequities. Not a perfect mom? It’s OK. Shonda even dispels the myth here of “You can have it all” – you will have to read up to find out why she disagrees with that mantra. I can’t give the WHOLE book away (smile).

Please pick up this great read and don’t put it down without a list of ways you can start to say “YES!”

Adulting All About Design DIY Interior Design

8 Home Offices That Motivate You To Actually Work!

December 19, 2016

If you are anything like me, you’ve created a beautiful home office only to end up working on the couch or kitchen table, or on the run.  I even redecorated my home office lately, thinking that would motivate me to actually sit in my new beautiful chairs and use my super glam, over the top office accessories.  Truthfully, those accessories are a must in my book either way, but here are a few offices too beautiful not to work in!

1-Black and white rooms with a pop of color always give off such an elegant look!

 

Photo Source:  www.meganhess.com

 

2-Adding texture and patterns, along with color, also help black and white rooms pop!

Photo Source: http://assyamsinfo.blogspot.com/2012/02/luxury-officeoffice-furniture.html

 

3-Glitz, glam, patterns and sparkle really make this office shine!

Photo Source: http://www.mylusciouslife.com/design-inspiration-to-decorate-your-office-workshop-studio-or-craft-room-part-2/

 

4-Beautiful, bright book shelves are a great twist on home office décor!

Photo Source: https://cdn.decorpad.com/photos/2013/01/24/73795654a2b9.jpeg

 

5-This custom wall unit, light airy feel and clean lines create a peaceful work space!

Photo Source: http://jenniferpaccainteriors.com/

 

6-The two-story, beautiful shelving really makes this room stand out! How awesome!

Photo Source: Elle Décor

 

7-This dark and sleek style leaves a sexy and sophisticated impression!

Photo Source: http://roomdecorideas.eu/the-most-luxurious-office-interior-design/

 

8-This Italian style office is a statement office with its clean lines modern look!

Photo source: http://www.caandesign.com/multi-million-dollar-italian-style-house-on-malibu-beach/

 

If you are thinking about upgrading your home office, consider fabulous art, rugs, pops of color and lighting such as chandeliers and other special lighting options!  You also want to be sure to measure your desk to ensure any desk chairs you order fit properly under that desk.  For some other design tips, see our other blogs!

All About Design DIY Interior Design

Designer Don’ts

December 19, 2016

In life you will experience a lot of trial an error. Much like interior decorating, certain things are instilled in you and some you discover as you go. I am here to guide you through a few simple mishaps that often occur in the decorating world. This is not limited to professional interior decorators but those who often dab in a few household “DYI’s”. Hopefully these tips can save you from a little house trouble and add to your sense of design.

 

  • DON’T go overboard!! Just because you can doesn’t mean you should! At times, less is more and you will realize this as you progress in this industry. Try to stay away from over crowding your area with different patterns, furniture and knick knacks, which leads me to my next tip…

 

  • DON’T be too matchy!! You don’t have to always match colors, patterns and furniture but you can relate them. Stay away from coordinating sets, try to incorporate pieces that you love and would want to live with.

 

  • DON’T use white décor if you have kids or pets. As pure and beautiful as these pieces may be they can and will always be the hardest possessions to keep clean. If you do decide to have a few white pieces be sure to keep them in areas that are rarely used by the kids and have a “Do Not Enter Sign”. No but seriously be very mindful of how useful you want the décor to be.

 

  • DON’T push furniture against the wall you want to leave a little breathing room so the room will not look uninviting. You want to have the area relaxed and comfortable enough for people to want to converse with others. If the seating is too far away from each other you make it difficult for people to be attentive to one another.

 

  • DON’T ignore scale! Be sure to measure properly. Some furniture pieces may look like they fit but when it arrives can be a totally different story.

 

  • DON’T isolate rooms! There should be a flow from room to room so try to connect an accent color or pattern throughout the household.

 

  • DON’T skimp on drapery! Window treatments are very important and drapery panels frame your view. Lining and interlining protects your furniture, fabric and finishes from diminishing and is worth the extra cost.

 

  • DON’T sacrifice lighting. Lighting is very important to your area and can affect how the colors are portrayed. Be sure to use dimmers, table, and floor lights to enhance your room. This is an important part of your budget as well.  You don’t want to cut corners and be cheap when it comes to your lighting.

Those are a few guidelines that will be extremely helpful when decorating your home. Be aware of seasonal changes with designs but always keep these tips in your head as you or someone else takes the time and MONEY to decorate. This advice is very simple and can take you a long way in the interior design industry.

All About Design Design Your Life DIY Interior Design

CREATIVE USES FOR WALLPAPER

December 12, 2016

Wallpaper is commonly used to provide texture and depth to a living space, often providing a higher level of interest than traditional paint.  However, there are many other creative uses for wallpaper. Here are ten of my favorite ways to use wallpaper.

 

  1. PROVIDE A BACKGROUND TO YOUR PHOTOS – You can cover any frame matte with wallpaper, adding instant interest. The wallpaper provides the backdrop to your photo, so be sure to choose complementing shades and patterns.

 

wallpaper1

Photo Source: Keisha Gilchrist, SDV Décor, Designer’s Own Work

 

  1. LIVEN UP YOUR LAMPSHADE – If you have a boring lampshade that needs a level of “pop”, wallpaper is a quick and easy fix. Simply measure and adhere the wallpaper to your existing shade and you have an instant patterned look that is sure to wow your guests!

 

wallpaper2

Photo Source: www.idealhome.co.uk

 

  1. GIVE YOUR GLASS TABLE A BOOST – If your heart is set on replacing your glass table, try adding wallpaper under the glass top before you invest in an entirely new piece of furniture. The pattern you select will change the look and feel of your existing table and save you money!

 

wallpaper3

Photo Source: themelonpatch.com

 

  1. MAKE HOUSEHOLD CHORES MORE INTERESTING – It’s no secret that most of us don’t enjoy household chores, but opening your kitchen drawers and finding a burst of color may help you weed through the task at hand!

wallpaper4

Photo source: thisoldhouse.com

 

  1. MAKE YOUR STAIRS A CONVERSATION PIECE – Line the risers of your stairs with a boldly-patterned wallpaper, and you will have a topic to talk about all night with your guests!

 

wallpaper5

Photo Source: www.betterhousekeeper.com

 

  1. FORFEIT YOUR BACKSPLASH – Get creative in your kitchen, and forfeit your backsplash for wallpaper.

 

wallpaper6

Photo Source: Better Homes and Gardens

 

  1. REV UP YOUR RETAIL SPACE – Who says that retail calls for only clean lines and sleek spaces? If you want to step outside of the box, you can line the walls behind your display shelves with wallpaper.

 

wallpaper7

Photo Source: Interiors by Heather Scott Home and Design

 

  1. CREATE A FAUX HEADBOARD – Can’t commit to a bedroom furniture set or style? Create a wallpapered headboard for a quick and temporary (or not!) fix.

wallpaper8

Photo Source: minimalisti.com

  1. DECORATE YOUR BOOKS – Want to display books? Cover them with wallpaper and they will match the décor in your room.

 

wallpaper9

Photo Source: mouthsofmums.com.au

 

  1. MAKE SOME WALL ART – If your space calls for artwork that is bigger than what you can find, create your own artwork with wallpaper. The sky will be the limit for your size requirements, and simple trim can provide a more finished look to your project.

wallpaper10

Photo Source: Minimalisti.com

Design Your Life

The National Museum of African American History and Culture

October 1, 2016

First of all I must thank my dear friend for the heads up on the opportunity to order tickets to this awesome museum.  I must also pat myself on the back for not putting it off until after the business day, because I surely would have missed out!  Secondly, if you haven’t had the opportunity to donate to the museum you can do so on their website (https://nmaahc.si.edu/)!  Now, allow me to jump into the beauty that is The National Museum of African American History and Culture!  Initially, it escaped me how huge and awesome it is to finally have this museum built and on The National Mall.  Like many other people in the Washington DC area, I take the history, art and sometimes the power for granted.  Let’s be honest, if it wasn’t for kids and field trips, the power and history of these buildings would be landmarks for directions like “turn left at The Monument,” rather than the National Landmarks they are.

 

This museum was a little different for me.  I felt a connection to it and while some people preferred to wait until the excitement died down, I just couldn’t!  Here are a few tips for those planning to visit:

 

  1. Be patient – All of the tickets from now through December have been booked.  If you are one of those people that “knows somebody” you better get to calling them now!  An attendant at the museum also said they give a number of tickets away every morning at 9:15.  I say call and verify before making that trip. It is definitely worth a try.  Otherwise, just pay attention to the dates for 2017 tickets going on sale, or just wait.  As was stated during the Opening Ceremonies, “from now on, as long as there is an United States of America, there will be The National Museum  of African American History and Culture.”

 

If you do have tickets, still be patient.  The museum will be filled with people just as excited as you.  Be prepared for a crowd and look out for people around you.  There are a lot of elderly people and generations of families attending together.  A lot of these elders made their own marks on our history and deserve our patience and respect as they inch along the exhibit halls.

 

  1. Be prepared – You will enter on the main floor but there are three floors below you and three floors above, so it should go without saying that you need to wearing your walking shoes.  Also, due to the crowds and abundance of information, you either need top plan more than one trip or block off the majority of your day.  It took us about an hour per floor and we didn’t get to the very top floor.

 

*Helpful Hint*:  Schedule your visit for the latest time possible.  The doors close at 5:15 and once that happens the crowd starts to thin out and you can work your way around much faster.  There were lines for a few parts of the museum but we doubled back after 6:00 and had little to no wait.

 

  1. Food – The food court is broken down into regions with the south being the most popular.  The line will be long.  So go later, or eat before you come.  Also be prepared to spend $15-$22 per person on meals.  I had the buttermilk fried chicken (cheat day) and it was pretty good.  It won’t be like ya mommas but it is close enough!

 

I won’t go into detail about the exhibits or post pictures because I feel it is something you should experience for yourself and not through my lens.  It is truly something amazing and prideful about walking around that museum seeing reminders that anger us and triumphs that encourage us.  There is nothing like walking through the halls with your parents who can add personal accounts and stories as they relive the history as you walk.  Totally and completely awesome and I can’t wait to return!

 

Please visit the website(https://nmaahc.si.edu/) for more information!

All About Design Interior Design

Currently Crushing – Real Housewives Edition

September 30, 2016

This blog started off detailing my top five favorite homes from the “Real Housewives” franchise on Bravo TV!  As I started noting pictures to use for the blog, I realized this would be the longest blog ever, and you’d probably never read that!  Instead I decided to highlight them one by one so we can truly appreciate them individually.  The first up is none other than Kim Z.  Although it is the home of an ex-Housewives star, her style definitely had a lasting impression.  Kim Z is from the early seasons of The Real Housewives of Atlanta where we watched her search for the perfect home.   Now, here’s a look at some of the rooms in her dream home. The cool, modern appeal of her living room speaks to us with its navy walls and white furniture. This room is clean and timeless as it exudes class and a modern style. However, while each of Kim Z room’s are interesting – there is no flow. I believe that a home should carry a color palette throughout each of the rooms. Kid’s rooms are the only exception because they should be able to express their own individuality. As you see, there is no rhyme or reason for the colors used in Kim’s home. Even the styles are mixed! The room we love (referenced above) is modern/transitional – and the other rooms are much more formal and traditional. It seems Kim K’s design style is as all over the place as her personality!

 

Housewives - Kim2 Housewives - Kim Housewives - Kim4 Housewives - Kim5 Housewives - Kim3 Housewives - Kim6

 

Adulting Design Your Life

Why I Can’t WAIT to be Hospitalized!

September 30, 2016

 

After visiting my doctor for a routine physical and bloodwork, I learned that my Iron and B12 levels were severely low. So much so, that he scheduled me to be hospitalized so that I can receive IV’s to replenish the levels. The process will take 8 hours he said, plan to stay overnight. Instead of being concerned about my health and running to Google to figure out just what was going on with my body, my heart started beating a bit faster – not from worry but from excitement. Hospital you say? As in A FULL NIGHT’S REST? Somebody ring the alarm!!! Wait – before you ring the alarm – Sign. Me. Up.

After I finished silently celebrating and was really able to digest what I was celebrating about – I quickly came crashing down. Am I really celebrating a hospital visit? What do I need to escape from so badly that I am willing to be prodded, eat crappy food, and sleep in a germ-infested bed? I mean sheesh…..my life is great, right? I have a roof over my head, I have a family that I adore, a great network of friends, I get to take a few vacations each year…..what more can I want? I want sleep, that’s what I want. I want a slice of quiet. I want the permission to rest. The hospital, to me – was a place where you can get all of that. If you say, “I’m in the hospital”, then that deadline can rationally get pushed. Those texts don’t have to be answered in a nano second. The husband will have to pack the lunches, and wipe the snot, and do the homework. The trainer will cut you some slack. There will be no guilt in catching up on your shows. You get my drift….right?

So, it’s not that I am really looking forward to a hospital visit – literally. I am looking forward to disconnecting. And the A-ha moment is that I don’t have to wait until my body screams “Help!” to disconnect. It’s really simple. It’s a choice. One that I will be making more often, and I hope you do the same.

 

Adulting Design Your Life

Here’s Why I’m a BAD MOM

July 31, 2016

I have to admit it. Sometimes, I go to Target just to sit in the parking lot….in silence. Then, after I convince myself to go into the store to tackle whatever  is on this weeks’ “need-it-right-now” list, I drive home and sit in my driveway. For as long as I can. Before I re-enter. Not bad enough? There’s more. I’ve forgotten school lunches, gone to piano lessons sans homework, and packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and sent it to a nut-free school zone. My twins have swam without sun screen. My daughter has come home after swimming to a rinse-out – that’s me consciously deciding to shampoo her hair the next day. Hell, this morning – I let my son have pizza for breakfast! And, we eat LOTS OF TAKE OUT. I’m a BAD MOM. Correction: I am a BAD MOM who is doing the best I can, every damn day! Today, I saw the Bad Mom movie with my bestie and I could SO relate. It made me laugh, it made me tear up (I’m a punky girl), and most importantly – it made me realize that I’m not alone (so don’t YOU feel bad when your kid’s Halloween costume is not homemade this year!). See, we’re all really doing the best we can. And it’s not easy being a Mom. There’s no manual, no training, no test dummy. And the stress of knowing that some person’s life is literally in your hands – hey, that has Xanax written all over it! But, what do we do…..we keep pushing. We push as the kids bicker in the back seat to and from school. We push through endless after-school enrichment activities and birthday parties. We push through homework, and heartbreaks, and all of those tough conversations that we aren’t prepared for. My 6 year old daughter asked me tonight – “Who is Donald Trump? Is he going to kill Americans?” OMG.  We push through the loneliness of it all. Personally, I can’t tell you how grateful I was to have a quick salad with some girlfriends the other day. Motherhood is a job that I am never prepared for. It’s one I’m not qualified for. But, I was blessed enough to be appointed anyway (look at God!)!! So, go ahead and judge me. My kids are well-loved, and I keep them safe. They are kind, respectful and well-mannered. At the tender age of six, they know that I am their safety net and that I will serve in that role for as long as I am alive. They know that I love them unconditionally, and they know that I am proud of them and will support them in whatever walk of life they choose. So, I am going to keep loving my kids (and all kids) the best way that I know how. Their toothy smiles and unsolicited  “I love you’s” are proof that I’m doing OK. And in the end, if you think you are BAD MOM – it doesn’t mean that you are. It means that being the best mom you can be is on your level of consciousness. It means you care enough to keep trying to be better for your little ones, every single day. So try not to beat yourself up, Mom. You can’t mess them up THAT BAD.

Adulting Design Your Life

Combat Your Kid’s Crappy Behavior with These Wine Pairings

May 20, 2016

Calgon take me away!  An old commercial signaling the need for a mom to slip away for a moment of peace.  The same holds true today although some moms prefer to say “Chardonnay take me away!”  There are plenty of articles and information sources that will tell you which wine goes with your steak, seafood and dessert.  But, here are some wine pairings you can really use as we take a look as which wines pair with your kid’s behavior!

  1. Crappy Diaper and Riesling – I know an explosive diaper doesn’t smell so sweet.  A good Riesling can help with that.  Riesling has a sweet taste, and has a low acidity level.  That should cancel out the high acid smell and reset your beloved olfactories.

 

  1. Crappy Attitude – You’re not a cool mom and your preteen or teen has spent the whole car ride home reminding you?  After you’ve gotten them home and grounded them, get a little grounded yourself with a nice glass (or two) of a Sauvignon Blanc.  It has an earthy taste and fragrance to help bring you back to your senses.

 

  1. Crappy Day – Kids, career and husband clamoring, or shall I say yelling for your attention? Remind them all and yourself who the queen is with a nice glass (or bottle) of Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is considered the King, well now Queen, of red wines.  It is rich and powerful and will remind you of the royalty you are!
All About Design Interior Design

Currently Crushing – Empire Edition

May 16, 2016

Empire State of Mind

As an occupational hazard, I look at sets and designs for my favorite shows.  I decided to highlight them as a way to combine the things I love.  With the finale of Empire airing this week, I decided to showcase this beautiful set first.  Empire is shot in the upscale Barrington community of Illinois.  Here are a few of the pictures from the set and actual home used to film this awesome series! Oh how I would love to take a look at the other homes in this beautiful area!

 

 

 

Lavish French Country Estate

Empire3

Lavish French Country Estate

Lavish French Country Estate

Empire9

Lavish French Country Estate

Empire12

All About Design DIY Interior Design

Easy Ways to Upgrade your Bathroom

March 11, 2016

Bathrooms are the smaller rooms in the house and often are one of the last priorities when it comes to remodeling.  The bathroom is also a room you use daily and should look its best.  There are a few quick tricks you can use to upgrade your bathroom without any remodeling.

 

bathroom paint

Face Lift

Paint is the first and obvious change you can make.  Before you do so you want to inspect the bathroom and make sure it doesn’t need any real repairs for fallen tile, peeling paint from too much moisture, etc..  Bright colors make bathrooms look larger.  No matter what color you choose, just be sure to choose a water based primer.

bathroom lighting

Lighting

The next step is to upgrade the lighting around your vanity.  Also consider replacing the ceiling light with a beautiful hanging light or even a chandelier if you’re in to that sort of thing.

 

bathroom hardware bathroom hardware 2

Accessories

Next, upgrade the hardware like draw pulls, knobs and towel bars etc., as well as.  Before shopping, decide whether you want to go with a simple concept (left) or a more contemporary hardware (right).

You will then of course want to select accessories such as tooth brush holder and soap dish etc. to match you concept.  You can also consider placing the new shower rod higher than usual to give the bathroom a bigger feel.

 

 

Wall-Basket-Storage

Storage

I am big into storage and organization to any room.  A room looks its best when everything has a place and is in its space.  Consider adding towel bars and hang storage baskets or bins from them.  You can also look to adding shelving above the toilet which is usually unused space.

These tips should help you upgrade your bathroom in one weekend.  Before you begin be sure to throw out all old clutter and make sure your bathroom isn’t in need of any real repairs.  All it takes is a plan, a few bucks, a weekend and you can have your upgraded bathroom!

 

Adulting

Meet Hot Toddy

March 4, 2016

I almost made it!  I almost made it through winter without a cold, a sneeze or anything!  Actually, I blame myself for having that thought last week, only to wake up this week with a sore throat and eventually the other cold accessories like stuffiness, coughing and a bad attitude.  I find colds so very annoying.  You feel sick enough to not be yourself, but not enough to have to shut life down for a few days.  I’m not much of a pill popper but I refuse to let a cold slow me down.

 

Of course my friends and family have given me their personal prescription to fight off the cold like apple cider vinegar, chicken soup, tea with honey, salt water, extra pillows, feed a cold etc.  My favorite and most promising cure came from an former client turned friend – a hot toddy!  I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but have you given it a try?  The whiskey acts as a decongestant and the tea, honey and lemon do the rest!  Speaking of rest, I am sure I could use a bit of that too and this toddy recipe aids in that department as well.  Please share your cold remedies or hot toddy recipes that are tried and true!

 

Mr. Hot Toddy

8oz Hot Water
1 Bag Herbal Tea
1oz Bourbon
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Lemon Wedge

 

Pour hot water into mug and steep tea for 2-3 minutes. Remove tea bag and add honey, stirring to dissolve. Pour in whiskey, add squeeze of lemon, stir and find relief.

All About Design Interior Design

Girlfriend’s Guide to Picking Paint Finishes

February 5, 2016

One of girlfriends wants to redo her bedroom.  Naturally she calls me, we grab brunch or dinner and fawn over ideas, furniture and paint.  She shows me her top three color swatches for paint.  We narrow it down to one.  The next day she calls from Home Depot with the one question I get over and over again, “what kind of finish do I get?”  I can’t tell you how many times that scenario has played out in different ways with family and friends.  But I love them and I love giving my two cents about anything design related!  I give them the quick answer and usually send them a quick guide to reference in the future.  Here’s an example of the finish rules most designers and painters go by.

 

enhanced-27670-1422652210-17

I am sure you can remember these paint finish rules, but for those of us who are visual, here is an example of what the different finishes actually look like.

 

paint finish

 

I hope it will be as helpful to you as it has to my girlfriends!

Spread Love

Welcome Back Barbie or Too Little Too Late?

January 29, 2016

 

As you may have heard by now, our old friend Barbie got a makeover.  Yes that is correct,  Barbie’s got back ladies!  Just like you and I and more importantly, our daughters.  Dolls help our children develop early definitions of beauty.  That is why many African American women like myself have purposely purchased dolls of color for our kids.   Many doll companies have gotten with the times and created a myriad of options with different color and ethnic backgrounds.   Thankfully Mattel has saw fit to not only address our different colors, but it decided to embrace our bodies.  Our real, curvy, short, tall and still beautiful bodies.

barbie2

I got into a discussion with a few women.  Some of which thought it was wonderful and planned to show their support in purchasing the new Barbies as soon as possible.  However some felt it was a little too late and had no real urge to give the Barbie empire another try.  One thing we all could agree on is that this was an awesome time for a teaching moment.  A fantastic time to have another conversation with our daughters about beauty standards, body image and self-love.

barbie3

What about you?  Are you all in for the new Barbie?  Have you found other dolls with differing images of beauty?  If so, please share!Barbie5

Design Your Life DIY

5 Cleanses for the New Year

January 11, 2016

It’s January.  The gyms are full people working hard to lose weight.  Some just fell off track for the holidays while others, haven’t been on track since well – last January.   This year I didn’t do too bad with exercising, but I surely realized there was some weight I could stand to lose and the culprit wasn’t just diet related. 2016 had me researching different cleanses to cleanse my spirit and sense of function – I will tackle the diet next!  I found several cleanses that freed up not only phsyical, but mental space.  Here are five cleanses that peaked my interest:

 

  1.  The Facebook Cleanse.   The next time you’re on Facebook or social media clean up your friend list.  That includes deleting those who only bring negativity or unwelcomed ignorance to your timeline.  Those who do not wish you well and just want to be nosey.  Or you can simply “unfollow” people who flood your timeline with foolishness.  That way you can still visit their page when you want to check in, but have the pleasure of seeing less and less of them in your timeline.

 

  1.  The Purse Cleanse.  This includes the wallet.  Receipts,  old business cards, empty lipstick or whatever occupies valuable space in your purse needs to be dumped or put in it’s rightful place.  Also consider getting rid of old purses you do not use.  Either donate them to a women’s shelters or fill them with toiletries and hand them out to the next few homeless women you see.

 

  1.  The Closet Cleanse.  This is the same as the purse cleanse only on a much larger scale and can really become a grand project.   De-clutter your closet.  Take out all of the old clothes you KNOW you’ll never fit again or simply no longer wear.  If you have quality clothes you don’t want to give to chairty or a shelter, consider a Swap Party with other women of similar taste.  It is great way to get rid of a few old items and perhaps pick up a few new ones.  Whatever isn’t swapped can be sold to a consignment shop, or donated to women in shelters.

 

  1.  The Single Sock Cleanse.   I will add the Tupper ware cleanse to this as well.  We all have socks with no matches.  We hold on thinking the mate will show up eventually.   It hasn’t.   Let it go and throw them away.  The same can be said for tupperware.  You somehow have plenty of lids but no bottoms.  Or is that just me?

 

  1.  The Electronic Storage Cleanse.  Empty you phone, laptops, tablets and computers or wasted storage.   You don’t need ALL selfies, gym pics or downloads taking up space.  You also don’t need all those numbers in your phone.  Make some room for you new friends and new business connections.  I also suggest deleting all old emails.  Well, keep the ones you may need at “exhibit A” in a future argument, but there are definitely useless emails in you inbox.  Speaking of emails, try “unsubscribing” from all the unwanted ones.  Don’t just delete them. Keep them from coming back!

 

These cleanses are easy ways to lose the dead weight of yesteryear and make more room for the blessings of 2016!

Adulting Design Your Life Holiday Decor Spread Love

Things I WON’T Do In The New Year

January 6, 2016

 

This is the time of year that normally has me doing 325 crunches, taking every plank challenge that pops up on my Instagram feed, increasing the amount I contribute to my twins’ college funds so much that I can’t afford a fast food meal, drinking a gallon of water, purging my home so I can start the year off organized –  and setting at least 20 other lofty goals. I love to ask people I encounter what their resolutions or goals are, and am always confused by the people how have none. Have you no goals? What are you – dead?!! In a nonjudgmental way, of course. And then as fate would have it – by the third week into my new year, my pattern to crash and burn takes over. Those resolutions and goals turn into good intentions and I am left feeling like a loser because I (how dare me?!!) lived a little. Not. Any. More. This year I vowed not to let the gift and the curse of being overly-ambitious rear it’s ugly head into my New Year. So, I’m doing things differently. This year I decided to focus on things I WON’T do. I had much more fun with the list, and there is something kick-assy, put my foot down and toss my hair over my shoulder about it. In the end, it’s me against me! Here’s my list – you should try one of your own! If you do, please share your self battle.

I WILL NOT FORGET MY PRIORITIES.

This means I will make an effort to wrap up my business – during business hours. My family deserves the best of me….and a focused dinner, homework time, or movie night is not too much to ask. I will be returning your e-mails in the morning (with great energy and zest I might add!).

I WILL NOT TAKE ON ANY PROJECT THAT DOESN’T INSPIRE ME.

This year is big for me. I am walking away from all things that don’t bring me joy. I am choosing to put more energy towards my passion for interior design and life. I’m tired of meeting you girls at Woodmont Grill at Ruth’s Cris! The world is bigger than our backyard and I plan on seeing it!

I WILL NOT BE CAGED.

It’s easy to get into the mommy/wife routine of work, errands, chores, homework, playmates, repeat. You look up and you don’t even know what YOU enjoy anymore – and you are too tired to even think about it. It’s unrealistic to think these responsibilities will go away, but I have decided that once a month I am going to wake up and do/go wherever my heart leads me. Keep your back door open for me and Pepsi in the ‘fridge!

I WILL NOT SACRIFICE MY SLEEP.

There’s never enough hours in the day to finish my to-do list so I find myself working from my laptop in the bed far too often. I’m planning on getting at least 8 hours of shut-eye so I can work less sluggishly during business hours (see number 1). My designer bags should been in my closet not under my eyes!

I WILL NOT BE USED.

In the words of a gal I met from Louisiana, “Woo, chile!”.  To whom much is given much is required – I live by that and I take pleasure in being about to give and help. But, if I haven’t seen you all year – please don’t send me your Christmas gift request (for you or your child). Don’t always ask for the hook up, work on being the plug yourself. If I can’t give you what you asked for AND put the value away in a savings account for my child that same day AND still be comfortable in my day to day – the answer is no.

I WILL NOT PRETEND TO BE WONDER WOMAN.

I need help sometimes. I really do. And, I never ask for it. It’s a weakness of mine. And I also tend not to show my vulnerabilities. I’m working on that.

I WILL NOT DUMB MYSELF DOWN.

This one is hard. As women, it is second nature to dim your light so that no one else in the room is uncomfortable. If someone says “I like your shirt”, you say “This old thing?”…no more! Accept the compliment, you deserve it! Getting an award? Celebrate it! Big up yourself! #preachingtothechoir

I WILL NOT COMPLAIN (let’s be real…I won’t complain AS MUCH)

I am truly blessed. And though my life, like everyone else’s, comes with great challenges. It. Really. Could. Be. Bat-Shit. Worse.

I WILL NOT WING IT.

I will make a plan and work it. The only thing I will be winging is my eyeliner. I’ve been far too lucky for far too long flying by the seat of my pants. It’s time to level up.

I WILL NOT LET MY SCALE PUNK ME.

So, I hate my scale. I get on it every morning and I hate it. It doesn’t move. But screw that, I’m loving all of me this year – even my chunky bits!

P.S. My family hated every bit of playing dress up with me!

 

 

 

FitChicks Holiday Decor

Christmas Cookies Can Be Healthy

December 10, 2015

The universe continues to offer us more and more ways to eat healthy.  One diet that is becoming increasingly popular is the Paleo diet.  If you are not familiar with it, I can offer a brief definition.  Is it a diet based on foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans.  It basically consists of mainly meat, fish, vegetables and fruit.  It excludes diary, grain and processed foods.  On the surface it seems easily doable, but what do you do when it’s holiday time and cookies and cakes are in order?  Christmas cookies with the kids is one of my holiday treats and this year will be no different, so I looked up a few Paleo Christmas cookie recipes.  Here’s one of my favorites I found on AgainstAllGrain.com.

 

Peppermint Chocolate Macaroons!

 

Recipe by: Danielle Walker

 

SERVES: 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • dash of seas salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric mixer, beat the egg white with a small pinch of salt. Beat for 1-2 minutes until soft peaks form when you lift the mixer out.
  4. Fold the egg white into the coconut mixture and mix gently until fully combined.
  5. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop out balls of dough and pack them together tightly either by lightly knocking the scoop onto the side of the bowl or pushing it down with your fingers.
  6. Place the dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tray half way through.
  7. Cool on a wire cooling rack for 1 hour. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
  8. Optional – dip the bottoms of the macaroons in melted dark chocolate mixed with ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract for an even more decadent treat!

 

Enjoy!  Report back and tell us what you think!

Adulting Design Your Life Spread Love

Six Things To Do With Your Kids This Christmas

December 9, 2015

ELF ON THE SHELF 

The Elf on the Shelf has been the best $30 investment I have made in a long while! Our Elf’s name is Bitty, and he arrives every year on Thanksgiving night. He stays with us until Christmas Eve, and each night he flies to the North Pole to report to Santa on the twins’ behavior. When he returns, he lands in a different spot in our home. The twins wake up each morning excited to find where the Bitty has landed. Last night, Bitty was hungry, and he dove into a bag of Doritos! The Elf on the Shelf sparks adventure and creativity in our home…and most importantly, the wonder of Christmas.

 

CHRISTMAS AT BUSCH GARDENS 

If you haven’t been yet, please treat yourself! Busch Gardens turns into a winter wonderland full of sparkling lights, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, live Christmas Carolers, man-made show that appears to fall from the sky – and even penguins! Yes, penguins. You’ll get to meet Santa in his workshop, and if you are lucky – you can whisper something naughty in his ear that makes his cheeks turn as red as Rudolph’s nose!  I did.

 

THE NATIONAL HARBOR 

Aside from the all of the wonderful shopping and eating options (plug: check out Pretty Girl Cupcakery www.pgcupcakery.com owned by fellow Hampton graduate LaKisa Taylor), Christmas at the National Harbor is on steroids! Most of the activities happen at the Gaylord National Hotel – where you can meet Santa, make gingerbread houses, and enjoy character breakfasts with Shrek. The characters also appear nightly for the Christmas tree drop! And, on Christmas Eve – Santa water skates on the property!

 

MAKE SNOW CREAM 

If we are lucky to have snow during the holiday season, making snow cream is a tradition that my mother started – long before we were overzealous about pollution and germs! The most important rule of snow cream – You. Will. Need. Fresh. Snow!  Scoop up a fresh layer in a bowl and bring it inside. Add vanilla and sugar and stir – and whala! You have snow cream.

 

FIND A WAY TO SERVE

My family bakes cookies every year for a local shelter – but there are tons of ways you can give back! Participate in a canned foods, coat or toiletry drive. Donate to your favorite charity. Volunteer at your national church. You’ll find that giving is the best part of the holiday season.

 

GO CHRISTMAS CAROLING

I got tired of trying to convince my friends to go caroling with me, so I had to trick them! I told them that my kids were performing at Wegman’s and to meet me there. When they arrived, I passed out sheet music and they had no choice but to get down to business. We sounded awful as we walked through the aisles of Wegman’s singing our hearts out. But the laughter, joy, and excitement that we evoked from the shopper’s was priceless. You should try it.

Christmas is a time to make memories. I hope you make every second count.

 

 

All About Design

Tips For Exploring High Point Market – High Point, North Carolina

October 28, 2015

Last week we had the pleasure of attending our first High Point Market in High Point, North Carolina! People have called it the New York Fashion week of furniture and accessories. The beauty and excitement may be the same, but I am sure High Point Market is a lot more active. We logged in over six miles of walking per day and still didn’t get to everything on our list. That certainly will not happen again. Now that we have one Market under our belt, we know how to navigate and plan the next trip to maximize our time. Here are a few tips for anyone in the world of design thinking about attending the High Point Market in the future.  These will help you conquer your first trip!

 

  1. Visit the High Point Market page to select a hotel associated with the event. They coordinated shuttles and free breakfast for High Point Market guests.
  2. Prepare to stay for at least three days. Spreading it out over a few days give you a better chance of seeing all the beautiful vendors on your list without rushing, or skipping appointments. It is also just a lot to cover under 48 hours.
  3. List vendors you want to see by building AND by wing and set appointments accordingly. The High Point website will tell you the location of every participating vendor. Make sure you do that research and have a game plan and agenda before you arrive.
  4. Set appointments. You can certainly just walk in and be helped but your guided visit may be cut short if someone with an appointment arrives. Appointments also help you stay focused on a game plan.
  5. If vendors offer food and drink, which most of them do, take it. It helps keep you fueled and from having to stop or find dining. Now, quite a few offer wine and champagne. You certainly don’t have to say yes to all of those. It will be easy to lose focus!
  6. Make notes of items you want as you go vendor by vendor but refuse the urge to buy everything you see. At the end of day two, look at your list and spend day three or four revisiting your list and making/purchasing your final selections. Also bring notes to the trip with you. List what specific items you need. Otherwise you will be walking around buying everything. Trust me, I know!
  7. Ask BEFORE you take pictures.  Not every vendor is open to pictures being taken.  We learned that the abrasive way at Cynthia Rowley, which was absolutely lovely!
  8. Wear extra comfy flats. If you can’t walk six miles in them, leave them at home.

Print

All About Design Holiday Decor

Pumpkin Spice in Your Life!

September 28, 2015

They say variety is the spice of life but in the fall in winter that spice is definitely pumpkin!  It’s in everything from lattes and coffee to ravioli and lasagna.  Even during Halloween, the pumpkin has become the glam and glitzed feature of many decor diplays.  Here are some of our favorite pumpkin decor trends for the fall and Halloween!

Monogrammed or Lettered – This can be done with paint or through carving!

halloween7 halloween11

Striped and Bedazzled – This would make a fantastic craft activity for kids!

Halloween3 Halloween 2

Polka Dots – Can’t have stripes and leave the polka dots out!

halloween6 halloween13

Table Settings & Vignettes– Settings coordinated by theme of color are also popular!

halloween4 halloween12

Metallic – This has been a popular trend over the last few years!

halloween8

Knick Knacks – Items such as candles or candy dishes are great accents!

halloween9 halloween 5

Scary Words – Simple words and paint also pop on pumpkins!

halloween10

Have  your own ideas?  Please share them here with us.  We would love to see your creativity!

 

 

 

 

All About Design Interior Design

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

September 28, 2015

I recently completed a “space-lift” for a client’s home.  That is when we simply give the space a fresh updated look with new accent chairs, paint, window treatments and accessories.  It is a small service we offer loyal clients at a very discounted rate.   This particular job consisted of upgrading the living room and all of the bedrooms.  The teen daughter had one simple request, she needed a “selfie-worthy” mirror.  No problem!  We found the perfect mirror for her but couldn’t help but make note of a few fab mirrors that stand out all on their own.

We ended up going with this Driftwood mirror combo for her room and en-suite.

driftwood floor mirror driftwood round mirror

Here are a few other favorites we liked as well!

Duchamps Storage Mirror venitian floor mirror

mirror2 Lotus-Mirror-Greige

7.90465-545f7bad37fe6e9f7f750c2b55a8463f  Capital Lighting Mirror

 

 

All About Design Business Tools Interior Design

Trim Work In Progress

September 28, 2015

When a client called us, devastated because her entire home had flooded – we could only image her stress level. She was happy to hand over the design reins, and we were happy to help her take on the challenge of putting her home back together. We are well into the process now, and are uber-excited that our clients’ stress has been replaced with excitement. Ever wonder in which order the design process works? Installing drywall and trim work is one of the very first steps!  Check out the trim designs we are using on this project:

FullSizeRender

Every get confused on which type of trim to use for the look you are trying to achieve? Here is a tool we found on the web (source unknown) that is helpful and worth of bookmarking in our Design Tools Library:

enhanced-26802-1423775487-1

Another trim work designs we love (by Insignia Design Group):

IMG_2300

Design Your Life Good Reads

Wench

September 26, 2015

An ambitious and startling debut novel that follows the lives of four women at a resort popular among slaveholders who bring their enslaved mistresses

wench \’wench\ n. from Middle English “wenchel,” 1 a: a girl, maid, young woman; a female child.

Tawawa House in many respects is like any other American resort before the Civil War. Situated in Ohio, this idyllic retreat is particularly nice in the summer when the Southern humidity is too much to bear. The main building, with its luxurious finishes, is loftier than the white cottages that flank it, but then again, the smaller structures are better positioned to catch any breeze that may come off the pond. And they provide more privacy, which best suits the needs of the Southern white men who vacation there every summer with their black, enslaved mistresses. It’s their open secret.

Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet are regulars at Tawawa House. They have become friends over the years as they reunite and share developments in their own lives and on their respective plantations. They don’t bother too much with questions of freedom, though the resort is situated in free territory–but when truth-telling Mawu comes to the resort and starts talking of running away, things change.

To run is to leave behind everything these women value most–friends and families still down South–and for some it also means escaping from the emotional and psychological bonds that bind them to their masters. When a fire on the resort sets off a string of tragedies, the women of Tawawa House soon learn that triumph and dehumanization are inseparable and that love exists even in the most inhuman, brutal of circumstances–all while they are bearing witness to the end of an era.

An engaging, page-turning, and wholly original novel, Wench explores, with an unflinching eye, the moral complexities of slavery

All About Design Business Tools DIY

Girl’s Guide to Upholstery

September 22, 2015

Don’t have the budget to buy a new sofa? A great re-ulphostery of your exiting piece is a go-to option.

Once you select the perfect fabric for you new vision, you will need to know just how much of that fabric to buy!

Here’s a cheat sheet for you!

enhanced-8871-1422568416-9

 

enhanced-26512-1422568424-28

 

Happy recovering!

All About Design Business Tools DIY Interior Design

When Going Green Goes Wrong

September 22, 2015

We were tasked with selecting house plants for our dear clients’ beautiful foyer. Needless to say for those that know us, this was a challenge. Fine fabrics – we’ve got that covered. Decadent dining decor – in the bag! Stunning seating areas – done! But houseplants? We were vexed. Check out this picture of my Design Assistant, Aneka – doing what she does best! She was attacking this challenge with a smile! Although we left the store empty-handed, we did stumble across this handy-dandy checklist on the web (source unknown)so that we won’t ever have the same woe (and neither should you!). Apparently, the green-thumbed community has a method for their greenery selection. Check it out!

 

Top 5 Finds Under $200

September 22, 2015

For us, the design process is furniture selection first, then wall coverings, window treatments paint and lastly, accessories.  You can find many fab accents and knick knacks for your home.  They are small inexpensive items that help to fill and beautify space.

Just like with clothes or fashion, there are high end items less expensive versions of the same look.  We previously covered “Accent Chairs for Any Budget,” however, there are other accents items we would like to put on your radar! This blog will cover the top five accessories I recently found in Target.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much Target has stepped and been a go to for our last little stop for fun grabs for the home.  Here are some recent favorites!

 

Fur Ottoman $64.99

17344218

 

 

Accent Table $153.89

15325554

 

Gold Table $69.99

17340810

 

 

Cement and Copper Lamp $65.44

17341348 (2)

 

White Wash & Copper Mirror $33.99

17344553

 

 

 

All About Design

Before & After – Time to Re-Up (Part II)!

September 22, 2015

If you read Before & After – Time to Re-Up (Part I), then you know how this latest upholstery project started.  If you haven’t, make sure you go catch a glimpse of the beautiful chair(s) we did!  We started with the family room chair, but of course we couldn’t stop there.  Up next was the office chair.

Reupholstering your current furniture is a wonderful way to upgrade your space with customized and unique chairs or sofas of all shapes and sizes.

Once again, the awesome upholstery was done by Mr Mac. of Old Mac Upholsters and the fabric was from Kravets.

IMAG0121

BEFORE

 

unnamed (4)

AFTER