Haute Stuff & Other Rugs

I love FLOR carpet tiles, but I have yet to make the leap and order samples, much less an entire rooms worth of tiles. I just can't decide which style I like best, which arrangement to go for, yada, yada, yada. Plus, when their catalog comes in the mail, I die over all THEIR designs and get overwhelmed with what to do with MY space. One day...one day, I will figure it out. But today, their newest style, "Haute Stuff," has me giddy. It's SO FUN...behold: and it comes in all these fun colors: This one is particularly happy, but I don't have a use for orange in my house. YET.

Perhaps my love for FLOR was inspired by my love for David Bromstad. I watched back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back episodes of Color Splash: Miami last night since I had DVR'ed them all but hadn't yet watched them. OH. I was dying. He seriously can do no wrong and is my absolute favorite HGTV designer, hands down.

I've got rugs on the brain here lately so I just had to share FLOR's newest addition.


House Updates

Since we hosted a baby shower this weekend, it was a great reason to get the house in order and take some pictures now that all our junk has been put away (mostly) in our main living spaces.

First up, the living room. This room has been fairly presentable since we moved in. We needed it to be since it's our main living space. I think the rug was the first thing in the whole house and we brought it in to make sure the sofas we planned to buy would fit. Our living room isn't the largest space in the world so space planning was key before we drove 2 hours to buy and haul back new sofas.

Room Details: Paint color (all walls but fireplace and small window walls: Valspar's Cincinnatian Hotel Carl Tan (the dark brown was done by the builder and I don't know the color name, only that it's Ralph Lauren paint); Sofas, Kivik from IKEA in Ingebo Light Beige; brown throw pillows, Target; Rug; Pottery Barn (No longer available from PB, but you can find them on eBay.) This one I bought from my brother and sister-in-law); coffee table, Restoration Hardware (The Larkspur line of furniture was discontinued...and I cry); Westie looking out the window, courtesy of Dreams 'N Tails Kennel in Missouri. HA.

When I painted, I took down the old curtains left by the seller. They were just pieces of fabric hung with clip rings and I really detested having to close them all the time since there were no blinds on our windows. I had 4 matchstick blinds left from my single days living in a charming old duplex so I pulled them from the back of the coat closet, dusted them off and hung them! They worked great as a temporary fix. Providing a little bit of privacy, but not blocking our view like the curtains did. Oddly enough, only one of them was too short. The strings that hold up the rolled shade didn't extend down far enough to reach the window sill, so I have it rigged right now. No worries, though - they are a temporary fix until we can buy all new bamboo shades from Overstock (thanks to BrynAlexandra for the idea! I'd been looking all over!). Plus, I'm going to add these curtains (far left) from Ballard Design. I just love them. They add some fun, whimsy, neutrality, and a tiny pop of color to bring that green in the rug, up on the wall. I am loving the layered look with bamboo shades and curtains and plan to do the same in the dining room. Other than that, this room is good to go for a while. Other rooms are calling my name!

I finally finished recovering all 6 of my chairs and I'm pleased with the results. Can't say I'm not looking forward to the day when I can upgrade my chairs to "big girl chairs" but these work swimmingly for now.
The dining room has seen the biggest change since we moved in and I'm only half done. Here's a before picture: and here it is now:
I repainted (obvi), and also took down the curtains and replaced them with matchstick blinds. We switched out the chandelier as well. The one that came with the house was great and matched the kitchen fixtures, but I'm not a fan of "down lights" in dining rooms. We have had the chandelier we put up in its place for several years - we're talking maybe 5 or so and we've never hung it. We found it on the cheap on clearance at Target and snatched it up. Finally, it's hung and I love it. Need some brighter bulbs and some cute little shades and I'll call it a day on my light fixture.

Room details: paint; Cuban Plaza by Valspar; table: Bjursta in brown-black from IKEA (we bought this when we moved into our previous home; chairs: Target (I don't think they carry these exact chairs anymore); buffet: Crate & Barrel (no longer carried).

Most of the other things are inherited pieces. The china cabinet is in ROUGH shape. It was my grandmothers and she didn't take care of it. Then a tiny Westie I raised, chewed the MAHOGANY feet to smithereens and I haven't a clue how to repair it. I want to paint it out, though...another project for another day. The buffet lamps used to be candlesticks and my mom had them made into these fun lamps. I love them.
That's all I've got for now. I should've taken bedroom shots, but I'm waiting for the new Fall West Elm stuff to come out because I've got my eye on one of their duvets. Yeah, yeah, I know I said I was sticking with what I have on the bed now, but I just can't help myself. MUST. HAVE.

Whale-coming Baby Boy Overton!

This weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting a baby shower for one of my college girlfriends. It was a great success and so much fun hosting in our new crib (pun intended).

Here are the adorable sun-kissed parents-to-be, Elizabeth and James (and my big, fat arm on the right):
Our group of girls lives all over the state, so it's not often we all are free to get together at the same time on the same day. When the stars align we try to take full advantage, especially when it involves celebrating the newest baby addition.

I had so much fun decorating, and it all came together once the yummy food arrived! I grabbed some things I had around the house and made this cute little baby boy appropriate vignette on the coffee table.
The centerpiece, this adorable Swank cake (which they gave me credit for designing) made the table shine! I was so pleased with how it turned out and it tasted sinfully delicious. Seth and I polished off the last of it for our Sunday morning breakfast in bed. Shame on us.
I picked up these beautiful blue-tipped hydrangeas and Merry Alice brought some fresh blue ones to mix in (and I assume they came straight from her yard). Lucky me, I get to enjoy these in my house the rest of this week.I love hydrangeas. They are poofy and colorful and unpredictable and I'm looking forward to planting some in my own yard and seeing what kind of color my soil produces.

We had several extra-special guests at the shower (besides our honorees!). Miss Bell Brady came! For some of us, this was the first time meeting her. She was a cutie pie and just discovering her hands. She was smiling, happy and content to be around all the crazy people!
Merritt tagged along, too! I can't remember the last time I saw Mere-bear, but she was well-behaved and sweet as pie. Our Three was with her grandma during the party, but she sniffed and sniffed the house looking for the dog she smelled when she got home on Sunday. I know they would've had a blast together.And then little Elizabeth Bennett made her debut. At just 10 weeks old, she was a little angel and came sporting the cutest little headband!
We pigged out on all the delicious food everyone brought and FINALLY started opening all the gifts when we remembered the occasion was not just for eating.Purnie got lots of great gifts and motherly advice along the way.
Even James tried on some of the gifts, but I think he'll need his own elastic tie to be a tad longer...
James got a little baby holding practice in, too. I think he's a natural.
The party was great fun and we said good-bye to our last guests around 7:45pm! We know how to make a baby shower last! It was so great catching up with the girls again. Even though we don't get together often, we always seem to pick right back up like we were together just yesterday. I guess that's the sign of true friendship! I look forward to our next get together. Seth and I are only ones still childless so who knows what the future holds.

Purnie is a beautiful Mama and I can't wait to see her James III! I know they will make the funnest parents!


Of Interest: OWLS

This Saturday, I will be hosting a baby shower at my house for one of my college girlfriends. In planning for the shower and ordering the cake she told me her nursery theme was "sea creatures" and that led me on the hunt for a theme-specific gift/table decorations.

I ended up sort of latching on to the whale and can't wait to show you pics of the cake from Swank! However, in an odd turn of events, during my search and coming across all sorts of animals, I realized that I really LOVE owls. Like cartoon-y owls, not like real-life-scary-hooting owls with giant claws with which to pull your scalp off. Like this kind of owl: Isn't he adorable? I found him living here.

And this one, I just HAVE to have. He's so cute sitting there all round-like in that chair. He needs to come live with me. I found him living here.
I love the fabrics and colors of this little guy who I found here:
And this little baby needs a mama to hold him and tell him he's beautiful. He was living here:
These next couple crack me up. This guy is PISSED off. I mean TOTALLY. His name is Gaston and he and his family live here: His family just stands beside him with eyes wide open wondering, "Oh crap, what did we do to piss off Daddy Gaston this time?"
And these two pillows I just love. One I featured in a previous post, but here's the full view of it's cuteness. I swear I'm going to buy it from here:
And this one is awesomely cute, plus comes from an etsy shop named "giggles & toots" so who doesn't love that?!?
Saved the best for last....Mr. High Owl. hee hee heeeeee Love, Love, LOOOOVE this owl. He's really sleepy owl, but don't you think he just looks high?

So that my newest thing. Owls. Love them. Show me your best owls if you find any cute ones. I sense a gender-neutral nursery theme here. Not that we have reason to set up a nursery, but one day. Maybe.



I updated the previous post with photos so go check it out!


Weekend & Progress

So much has been swimming around in my head that I've not blogged about any of it for fear of posting a 50,000 word essay or something. It's Monday, I'm bored at work and feeling like I can make a nice, concise and to-the-point entry so here we go.

We've made some good progress in the house over the last couple of weekends. I'd love to show you lots of pics, but somehow I continue to forget to take any. Perhaps if you're lucky, I'll insert some later to make this post all the more delectable. pshh. Last weekend we had big plans and started by going to Lowe's on Friday night to gather supplies in preparation for a work day on Saturday. We got 3 gallons of paint, and a closet system for the master bedroom closet. I planned to paint the living room, kitchen and dining room, and we were going to install closet space for Seth since the house didn't come with a lot of closet organization in place.

However, we went to Dog Days in Cary on Saturday morning. We took the MIL and Wyatt, their Basset Hound, and Seth and I took Three. It was so humid and hot it really zapped my energy for the day even though we only stayed an hour (if that). I ended up napping on the couch and staying cool in the house and all we really accomplished was hanging the closet system. I will say, however, that I was pretty proud of us for getting that done and getting it done right. We found studs, we pre-drilled holes, we got everything level and straight and it came out just as I had hoped. Now, Seth has his own hanging space in the closet and I have the rest :) We also moved our old glass desk (which I love for some reason) into the closet and bought a large monitor to hook up to the laptop. So we have this cozy office space tucked up in our master bedroom closet (which is large enough to be a small nursery anyway) and it's just so fun.
THIS weekend, we got down to business. During the previous week, I finally got started painting the living room. I was taking my time but I eventually finished it up on Saturday and we like it! I describe it like creamy peanut butter, but I think it shows up much more yellow in these photos than it is in real life. Just deal, OK?

Sunday, I stayed home from church (bad, I know) and got started priming the dining room. The nice thing about the dining room is that the wainscoting comes up so high, it's a quick and easy paint for the most part. I got it all primed and got one coat of the paint color up before 2pm. YAY ME! The color is "Cuban Plaza" by Valspar and it's quite bold. It's like a watermelon coral and it's growing on me. It looks gorgeous with the fabric I'm covering my chairs in, but I didn't get enough for curtains - which is what I need to really pull the room together (and a rug).

We also managed to hang a wire shelf in the laundry room and had plans to hang 2 smaller ones until we realized they were actually add-on shelves to a system of shelves. So that was a no-go and we'll have to get new shelves to complete that project. So now the "to-be-ironed shirts" have a proper home like this: instead of this:
I've been finding things that I love and can picture in each room and pull things together. It's just finding the space in the wallet to get these things purchased. Here are a few ideas:

I love these curtains for our living room:We have this duvet from IKEA:I want to paint the wall around our master bedroom windows a lovely shade of red (We also have an IKEA quilt and euro-shams that go on the bed and they are a gorgeous deep red. Hence, the red wall. Against that red wall I want curtains like one of these: I'll repeat that fabric in (what will be) our sunny yellow master bathroom. I love navy, red and yellow. It's so happy and fresh.

Also, I must have this preshush pillow from Etsy. I have a new addition to cute little owls. I just love them:
I'm on the hunt for rugs. I love rugs. They can totally transform a room. It's great fun. I just need a new one for the dining room right now. I'd love some for the kitchen, but I've got a couple in there that we had at the other house, but I'm worried with my newly-coral dining room, they clash. Not sure.

I promise to insert pics later!


NYC - Day 3 and ADIOS!

Day 3 in the city was low key (ish). The plan was to see the Guggenheim.

First, we tried another place for breakfast. This one was on the opposite corner from our hotel, Lou's Cafe. It was a different place and the waiters spoke broken English, were sweating, and running around like their lives depended on it. However, the restaurant had high ceilings, was light, bright and airy, and completely contradicted the emotions of the waiters. It was interesting.

We all ate something delicious and decided to walk a couple of blocks before we caught a cab up to 88th street where the Guggenheim was. We started out on 52nd street and decided to walk on Madison Avenue. What a treat! Just store after store after store of designer duds. Chanel, Michael Kors (where mom got a buttery leather purse), Hermes, Fred Leighton, Prada, Vera Wang, Louboutin, oh, the list goes on. Too bad they were all closed (oh, and out of our price range), but it was fun and before we knew it, we had walked all 30+ blocks to the Guggenheim even though we all said "there's no way I'm walking 30 blocks!"
The Guggenheim is a sight to behold. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, you know it's interesting and it didn't disappoint from the building standpoint. We couldn't take pictures past the first level so I have nothing cool to share with you other than this:
Inside, you just walk and walk and walk up a spiral ramp to view all the art and, on your way down, there are small side galleries in which to stop. I have to say I didn't "get" most of the works in the Guggenheim so my trip to the top and back was fairly short. The gift shop wasn't great either. But glad to have seen the museum. I can check off the Met, MOMA and now the Guggenheim from my NYC art museum must-sees.

I have to throw in this cute little (I say little, but I'm sure this is a multi-million dollar residence) townhome near 5th Avenue. I died over all the hydrangeas in the window sills. and then we rounded the corner to find these beauties:
Aside from the Guggenheim, Day 3 was low-key. I was super-tired and not really up for much sight-seeing. The 2 groups of mothers and daughters split up for the afternoon. Skye and Brenda went walking around in the East Village and my mom and I hit 5th Avenue for some shopping. I got a watch and purse at Juicy Couture and we went in to sticker shock when we went in Louis Vuitton. It was packed in there with eager buyers, but $700 for a wallet - I'll have to pass.

We had dinner at the Stage Deli on Broadway. I've been there on every trip to NYC and it's delicious. Nothing really fancy, but it's good and I love that their sandwiches are named after celebrities. I took it easy and had a grilled cheese with tomatoes and my mom and I split a mini cheesecake with blueberries on top.

Outside the restaurant was one of those tourist trap souvenir shops and we all decided we needed something tacky. I found this among all the crap! To find a Westie in NYC was a sign. Even though this silly key chain cost $8 I bought it anyway along with some other small goodies. As we exited the store, this group of hunky sailors were headed our way. They were so nice and posed for a picture. One of them was especially flirtatious and my mom insisted on taking a picture with him. Then some skank came out of the store calling my mom a "cougar" and the sailor told her what was what. What a jealous hussie.

We headed back to the hotel for a good night's sleep and set our alarms for 5:00am. Enough time to get up and ready and leave the hotel by 6:00am to catch our 9:15am flight back to Raleigh.

Bye bye NYC! Helloooo Raleigh & Apex! Good trip, but it was so nice to come home and see my Westie and my hubby again!

NYC - Day 2

The plans for day 2 were semi up in the air. We knew we wanted to go to Top of the Rock at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, but other than that, we weren't positive.

First, we stopped in at the Astro Restaurant for breakfast again and after that headed to 30 Rock. It was really windy that morning and looked like it might rain so we didn't waste much time. I'd been to the top of the Empire State Building twice so I was excited to see a different view of NYC from above. Other than it being overcast and hazy, the view didn't disappoint.

Here's a view of Central Park:
A view of the Empire State Building:
and my mom, Brenda and me in the indoor part of Top of the Rock:
As we were leaving 30 Rock, we stopped in the Swarovski store and drooled over all the jewels. Most notable was this gorgeous bench in the back of the store covered in millions of crystals. It was amazing. Then we decided to head south to see what we could see. We stopped in at Fishs Eddy where I was so overwhelmed with wanting EVERYTHING in there, I bought absolutely nothing. Still, it was a glorious store and I wish we had one in North Carolina. As we walked outside the store, we crossed the street to a Starbucks looking for a restroom. After seeing that the line was too long, we left Starbucks but paused for a second on the sidewalk to figure our plans. Skye spotted "Pete Hornburger" from 30 Rock and made eye-contact with him, but I only got a glimpse of the back of his bald head. This would be our only celebrity sighting of the trip. Lucky Skye!

We hopped back in a cab and went to Ground Zero. At first we weren't sure we were going to make the trip down there, but I decided that everyone should see it. I'd seen it several years ago, but it's sort of a don't miss when visiting NYC. You just have to experience it and see what's left and...remember.

We went to St. Paul's Chapel first. It's the most glorious place. It's this gorgeous little chapel right next to where the towers fell and somehow it survived. Its little cemetery and all, still standing, still providing a place of worship for all kinds. I just think this little place is amazing. Here it is post-9/11: I had never been inside so it was nice to take time to go in and look around. This tiny chapel was a refuge for the workers of 9-11 and is now full of children's art work, police badges from around the world, and signs of encouragement from across the nation. Outside, I captured this Sailor paying her respects. It was Fleet Week in NYC so there were Sailors and military folks everywhere! There's this beautiful little headstone for all those who died on 9/11 right in front of the door to the chapel. The one simple phrase says enough, "They are in Peace."

After Ground Zero, we stopped at a little deli, grabbed some lunch and took it to a nice and shady area in Battery Park. I took a stroll down by the water. I'd never been down there before and it was gorgeous. I wanted to sit on a bench and watch the water for hours.

I saw Miss Thang off in the distance: and found this quiet memorial for the fallen NYPD Officers nearby:

Then we got on board our ride......and then I woke up from my dream.

We caught a CRAZY cab back to our hotel and rested for a couple of hours before our exciting dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill that evening. Sorry for these next pics - they are blurry because it was QUITE dark in the restaurant and I couldn't see if I was focused or not! I've been wanting to go to a Bobby Flay restaurant forEVER so finally, we made it happen. Dinner was SO GOOD. We started off by sharing an appetizer, Goat Cheese "Queso Fundido" with rajas and blue corn tortilla chips. Two words. SO. GOOD. Seriously, never had better cheese dip in my life. The rajas made it. The goat cheese added this insanely good tang. It was just awesome. I was eating so much, I didn't take a picture.

For my entree I ordered the "New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Ancho Chile Sauce and Sweet Potato Tamale with Crushed Pecan Butter." OMG. Also, SOOOO GOOD. The thing about eating at nice restaurants is that while you're paying a lot, they actually serve you a proper portion. Not too much so as to get stuffed and hate yourself and perhaps the restaurant, but just the right amount leaving you wanting to come back again. Dinner was great. Everyone had good food, no complaints and we all shared a slice of Bobby's Toasted Coconut Layer Cake which beat out a South Carolina competitor on Throwdown. I don't care for raw coconut, but even I liked this cake.

After dinner, we walked across the street to Anthropologie and shut the place down. We walked a few more blocks before we caught a cab and saw beautiful twilight views of the Empire State Building all dressed up for Memorial Day:
And one of my all-time favorite buildings, the Flatiron.

Then we caught a cab, went back to our hotel and snuggled in for the night. We had big plans to "sleep in" the next morning in preparation for Day 3, our last full day in the city...