April 24, 2015

Happy Weekend

It's spring... I keep telling myself this and I have seen some evidence, but we actually had snow yesterday! Today is cloudy and cool, but I'm hoping the sun and warmer temperatures return. Last weekend, we enjoyed a gorgeous day in Rhode Island where it was in the mid 70s! We went to Amanda's Accepted Student's Day on Saturday and on Sunday, we were able to do some yard work! And this weekend? We're hoping for more of the same. I hope you enjoy your weekend and here are some links from around the web you may enjoy...

Are you familiar with Sean Hayes? You've got to see his videos. They're an instant pick-me-up.

Just ordered this book.

I am devastated. And so are these fans.

Planting an herb garden? Here's what you should know.

Clever Ikea hacks for your office.

11 foods to eat when you're stressed.

And just because looking at cute puppies makes me happy...

April 23, 2015


My girls have been shopping at Lush for some time now, but I've never tried their products until recently. When Amanda was shopping for Kate's birthday last month, she bought her a few goodies from their store including some fun bath bombs, massage bars, and their Charity Pot hand and body lotion, made with cocoa butter and all kinds of wonderful ingredients. (It's like getting a hand parrafin treatment!) We've bought several of their small Charity Pots to keep on hand and give away as gifts. Even better, with every purchase of a Charity Pot, Lush donates 100% of the price (minus the taxes) to small, grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare, and human rights. Bonus!

Because Kate has turned us on to being aware of animal cruelty products (she finds a new company we can't patronize every week!) we're actually enjoying finding new products. So when I left my stylist just last week, I took a walk over to Lush where I purchased their Big Shampoo and Sea Spray mist, both made with sea salt. Now you may wonder why you would ever put salt in your hair, because if you've ever been to the beach you know what can happen. I used about a dime-sized amount of the shampoo and fell in love.

The first time I added a thickening spray afterward, but it defeated the purpose. The second time, I used it all by itself and the volume I got from my very fine hair was amazing. Last night, I tried the Sea Spray. It's supposed to be used after you've styled it to create beachy waves or to hold your own style, but I used it before and after and the effect was just what I had hoped. Truthfully, spraying it on wet hair will make it feel a little tangled, but it too was just what I had hoped for. 

And... my day after hair looks as though I washed it this morning! It's usually flat, limp, and looks like it needs a good washing.

In my book, these products were worth every penny!

April 22, 2015

The Benefits of Lemon Water

I love lemonsthe scent the taste. They remind me of summer and good health all year round. I always add lemon to my iced tea, and I try to have as many on hand to liven up foods like steamed broccoli, hummus, asparagus, and salads. And, my favorite drinks. Adding lemon to your water is an easy way to reap many health benefits which include...
  • It helps to alkalize the body.
  • It's great for anyone with asthma.
  • Balances blood sugar and pH levels.
  • It's considered brain and heart food.
  • Takes the place of caffeine. (Try it if you're trying to reduce your caffeine intake.)
  • Works to detoxify the body.
  • Helps to relieve congestion and break up phlegm.
  • Improves digestive health and helps treat constipation.
  • Increases metabolism and aids in weight loss.
  • Improves immune system.
  • Keeps you hydrated.
  • Lowers high blood pressure and stress levels.
  • Prevents bad breath.
  • Helps prevent UTIs.
  • Helps to keep your liver on track.
So the next time someone asks if you want lemon in your water, say "yes, please".

Hey, with the good comes the bad... It's National Hamburger month (and my diet downfall). Read more about my love of hamburgers and comfort food.

Photo: Lucas Argh

April 21, 2015

Cinderella Blue

In case you haven't noticed, there's a certain someone who is a bit obsessed with Cinderella right now. And because there are many more like her, I'm seeing this color everywhere. In fact, when we had Amanda's prom dress fitted, we noticed a new set of prom dresses that weren't there before in various shades of this dusty blue. So I thought it was only fitting that my next color post should be dedicated to bluethe color of summer... and Cinderella, of course.

Color Inspiration
BM 809 Soft Jazz, BM 810 Blue Dragon, BM 808 Sapphire Ice, BM 803 Lazy Sunday

April 17, 2015

Have a Great Weekend

Class week concludes today as students learns the various niches they can offer. It's been a great week, but I have to tell you, the dogs HATE class week. Our schedules are such that one of us (mostly me) is around a good portion of the day and they are people dogs. Thankfully, both David and Amanda were able to come home early two different days, and Kate is home for an extra long weekend. Massachusetts celebrates Patriot's Day, which means Boston Marathon day, which means we'll all be taking the day to celebrate as well. Luckily, Amanda's spring vacation starts the same week this year so we'll all be able to enjoy it. Tomorrow we kick things off by attending Amanda's Accepted Student's Day in Rhode Island!

In the meantime, I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into a typically very busy week for me and don't forget to take a guess at this post's color combination. And if you're interested in learning more about classes, you can find more information here. Oh, and that big announcement I promised I've decided to save until next week. And finally, here are some links you may enjoy this weekend...

Considering redoing your bath? Try these ideas.

Stock up on your books this weekend at B&N using this code for 20% off: FP7JY8W1CDKEP

10 foods you should never refrigerate.

Organize your kitchen with these space-saving tips.

Keep calm with this simple yoga pose.

Treat yourself to a healthy glow with these homemade skin remedies.

Photo: Bowerbird & Friends. One of the must-visit places if you visit. This store is filled with old and new home décor.

April 16, 2015

The Art of Accessorizing (It's Class Week)

Day three of class is when it all comes together. Accessorizing adds personality to a room, so it's little wonder that this is the students (and my) favorite day. They learn how to put things together in unique ways and not necessarily as their intended use. With a simple formula, they can create an array of looks using everyday objects.

Students shop the studio and work with a variety of surfaces to work their magic. They're taught how stylists, set decorators, photographers, window dressers, and designers use props to achieve their overall design goals. They look at the way an object sits, drapes, reflects light, and moves. And they learn to not let labels get in the way. No one says you have to display “kitchen” items in the kitchen and so on.

Nature quickly became the theme this week as shades of green and blue showed up in many displays. Working with organic materialswhether real or fauxis a great way to add color, texture, and life to a room. It's also a relatively inexpensive way to stretch your budget, and your accessories.

I'll have more photos to share next week. In the meantime, don't forget to enter the color contest before the end of the day tomorrow.

April 15, 2015

Ladies Who Lunch (It's Class Week)

During class week, I take all of my students to Twelve Pine for lunch. This once teeny tiny catering and grab-and-go lunch spot is now a very large gourmet market/restaurant/retail store where you can dine-in, take out, and grab a nice hostess gift or bunch of flowers on your way out. They serve hot and cold entrees, soups (their tomato cheddar is a favorite), salads, and decadent desserts. There is also a gourmet coffee bar, a nice collection of wines, and during the warmer months, they serve gelato. On Monday, I picked up a dinner in addition to lunch. David was happy to eat a plate of their yummy Jambalaya, and I was happy I didn't have to cook! Basically, there's something for everyone and I don't have to worry about a student's dietary restrictions, which makes us all happy.

However, I'm a creature of habit and I order my favorite sandwich almost every time I order their grilled chicken with tomato and basil on focaccia drizzled with a balsamic dressing. Delicious!

It's all About Color... (It's Class Week)

Yesterday, class was all about color (pattern and texture)! Students learn how to read (see) select, and coordinate. And that's the key to color. So how do you read color? By learning about how colors are mixed, whether that means with another color or adding an analogous hue like black, brown, or white. By combining these together, colors now have what's know as an undertone. If you can identify what the undertones are, you'll be able to put an array of color combinations together with ease. One of the ways the students learn how to do this is by using a color wheel. The color wheel is a valuable tool that allows you to see how colors can be used together and what combinations will give you the look you want.

Do you see those arrows? That's a guide (cheat sheet) to be able to create endless color palettes. However, it does have its limitations, so it's just one of the tools we use to uncover how to coordinate.

The photos above is from Thrifty Décor Chick. She's chosen to paint the cabinet blue, but surrounded the cabinet with shades of green and violet. This is a color scheme used to enliven a space (clearly), but do you know what it's called?

Answer correctly and you will receive a special color analysis. I will choose a person randomly from the correct replies. Good luck!

(Contest ends Friday and I'll announce the winner on Monday.)

April 14, 2015

The Art of Arrangment (It's Class Week)

My students learn all about design principles and the art of arrangement the very first day of class. The first is the catalyst to all design decisions (the most important being balance), and the second is putting placement techniques to work while using those design principles. Drafting a floor plan can sometimes feel overwhelming. What you thought you knew about design starts to feel all wrong simply because you're working in 2D instead of 3D. I watch students struggle with decisions, and second guess their instincts. They (usually) hate this exercise. However, once they've done it, and they've understood it, they can't wait to practice more!

You can't decorate well until you understand space. When you shop for furniture in a typical furniture store, everything is out of scale, so you think, "of course this will fit in my home", and a lot of times it doesn't. Then you have to take into consideration color, pattern, texture... but that's another lesson.

When I teach my students proper furniture placement, we look at a variety of professional floor plans that I've collected over time. What you find on Pinterest, in your favorite decorating magazines, or even on your favorite decorating show, isn't always right! Students aren't really surprised, because most of them have been critiquing these designs on their own before they come to class. They're happy to find out that their instincts have not abandoned them altogether.

So, the next time you're planning on decorating, have a plan. Take measurementsof your room, your furnishings, anything and everything that will impact that design. Then pay attention to the detailscolor, pattern, texture. Everything looks different under store lights, so do your best to color match before you head out the door.

Stay tuned for color information...

Photo: bhg.com