Holiday Gear

Just a smattering of fun new holiday goods from West Elm. I love WE and these things get me in the mood for cold days, warm fires, and the holidays. Enjoy!
I am loving these wood trees. Awesome.
And also these for good (and obvious) measure...


Three Is Four

This week was that our baby turned FOUR! Three is four! It's sort of nuts. When she was a tiny puppy and arrived to us at just 8 weeks old, it seemed we'd never get her potty trained. Then when she got spayed, it seemed she'd never get past the 2 weeks of cone-wearing and healing. Now she's FOUR! What?!?! Here's a short look back at our sweet sweet love muffin.

Here she is straight off the plane from Missouri. This was at Uncle George and Auntie Leigh's house when Three met Rotunda. It was love at first kiss for me.Here she is after getting her first bath in the big garden tub. She was none too thrilled with the experience, as you can see from look of pure "WHATWASTHAT?" on her sweet little face.And here she is after her first big girl haircut lounging on the front step of our townhouse watching all the people go by. To this day, I love when she gets her haircut. I just can't get enough of her.Most recently, she can usually be caught snoozing with me on the couch: And I took this close-up of her sweet paws last night: She was wiped out from her birthday fun on Sunday night. But I couldn't let her birthday go by without giving her some kind of special treat...so I shared my fudgecicle with her! Slurrrrrp!
In other news, things have been slow to non-existent on the home decor front. We've been budgeting so that keeps me out of the stores and sometimes uninspired. I'm not good at the "design on a dime" thing. I never find those hidden treasures that others seem to stumble upon. I guess it takes more time and hunting than I've got or am willing to give at this point. So, I've just been doing lots of thinking about projects to come.

At work, I've been training and gearing up to make the move from the front to the back. This Friday, I'll officially be on the clock as an Examiner and I'm looking forward to getting settled in my new fancy cubicle (riiiight).


Another New Adventure...

I have been holding this news inside me since the beginning of August and now I get to share....


Still in the same office, this is more of a promotion. I'm so excited! I'm getting a 19% pay increase which makes it all the more sweet.

It's such a pleasure to work around kind, supportive people who actually WANT to see me grow and move forward and give more to the office and of myself. Right now, I'm the "front woman" and I greet visitors and answer phones and basically keep the office organized, filed, and keep the incoming forms, money, and reports flowing back to those on our team responsible for filing and processing them. In my new duties, I'll be one of those team members that file and examine and process! YAY.

Wow, a "promotion" after being here just 9 short months. It's nice to be appreciated, and it's nice that others value me as an employee enough to allow me to move on and up. Much more than I can say for others I've worked for.


New Adventure

This post is off the topic of home decor. Know it. Love it. Keep reading.

Let me give you a tad bit of background before I tell about my new adventure. Seth and I have been going to church together since very early in our relationship. We go to the same church as my in-laws because that's where Seth was going when we met, and well, you know, it's just hard to find a new church. We've mostly been regular attenders to the usual 11am service, but have never delved into Sunday School or any outside activities, except Seth playing on the church softball team.

This has left us not really knowing any of our fellow church-goers or having any way to get to know them. We have started feeling like it's just too late to try. Recently, though, a nice girl who usually sits in front of us up and introduced herself to us and has continued to say hi each week. This past Sunday, she invited me to a women's Bible study that meets each Tuesday night. This was my chance! I stressed over it and wanted to go, but was scared at the same time. I didn't know who would be there, how many, how long it lasted, what I could contribute, and I didn't yet have the book. I ALMOST chickened out. I came so close. But my husband's disappointment and clear deflation at my not going gave me a second boost and I just went. I got in my car with my Bible and went. And it was fiiiiiine.

While I was new to the group, there were only 7 others there not including me. The group was lead by the pastor's wife. Our pastor is young and fun and only a couple years older than me and Seth. I feel lucky that's the case, because the seem accessible and Seth and I need that. She was welcoming and not intimidating and while I felt the natural feeling of not being one of the group, by the end of the night, I felt the slightest bit more included. I even shared! And it was relevant! YAY ME!

If you know me, you know I'm not one to be all chatty Cathy around a complete group of strangers. I'm more of a listener until I get to know you and get to feeling more comfortable. But I shared because I felt God pushing me to do so. Just like I felt Him pushing me to go to Bible study. I've been in need of some friends other than those at work and at home (Seth and Three) and I hope that this will be the push I needed to start meeting new people at the church we've been "using" for all these years.

I was just so proud of myself for going, and being OK, and talking, and feeling. I hope throughout the coming weeks that things just get better and that I feel like opening up and learning to be a more confident Christian and a more involved regular attender of the church. We need this. I need this.


What up, Restoration Hardware?

As a devout shopper of Restoration Hardware, I feel it within my jurisdiction as a consumer to send them a big ole WTF??? Have you been in their stores recently? Have your perused their catalogs recently? If so, then you'll (hopefully) understand my shock and total disappointment at their new merchandise.

Before I go on, let me just say that during my research for this post I was astounded at the number of google images that a search for "restoration hardware" produced. Who are these weirdos that take a picture of an RH in a mall? Just seems like an odd thing to do. I'm just sayin'...

Maybe the store at Crabtree Valley Mall just got really unlucky, or perhaps they aren't finished yet, but in any case, their store is HORRIFIC. It's the polar opposite of what it used to be and I won't be surprised if RH employees are given Prozac as part of their benefits package. Let me see if I can set the scene for you. Here's a pic from their website: I kid you not when I tell you that the paint in the new store is the color of the banner in the above photo. I mean walls, trim, they even ripped up their light wood hardwood floors and traded it for the equally dark, cold polished concrete floor. It's like a tomb. And there are spotlights everywhere lighting up the few floor displays they have. It's like walking into Abercrombie & Fitch - only without the blaring music - you'll be damned if you can actually SEE anything you purchase.

Here's what most people think of when they think of Restoration Hardware: Ah yes, the good ole days. The days of crisp, white, glossy trim, hardwood floors, stained and sanded furniture, classic chrome hardware, and a rainbow of the most luxurious paint colors in the world (*No really, they have GREAT paint), and let's not forget the Turkish Towel.
Now it's all gloom and doom and dark and cold in the store. The merchandise looks like it was found in some dusty old carriage house from the 1600s. It's french vintage, but not sensible vintage. It's like "even-the-French-wouldn't-buy-that" vintage.

For example, here's a few mind-blowing pieces they currently offer:I mean, really? REALLY? And this floor lamp is HUGE. It absolutely towers over you and is more like adding a full-on column to your room. No.While a beautiful picture, something about those beds make me feel like I'd be a first class passenger living it up with Leo in Steerage on the Titanic. They just don't beckon me to come have a nap.Do I even NEED to say anything here? Who needs a sleigh in their house? Hint: NO ONE.And this...well, while I understand it's historical inspiration point having studied a little bit of furniture design history, I just can't imagine anyone having this in their home. Except people with money to burn. People who have more than 10 rooms in their house. People who can probably afford to buy everything in RH just to match this ONE chair. It's just not sensible.And I saved the best for last. An Aviator Chair. Yes, it's wrapped in riveted metal sheets and the seat is inspired by the cockpit of a plane from yesteryear. REALLY?!?!?!

I hate to hate on RH. I have an entire bedroom suite from them and I LOVE it. We have a coffee table, too, and several of those heavenly turkish towels. And we've used their creamy paint and curl up with their great couch throws. But now...now it's not the same. It's sad and cold and dark. And don't get me wrong. I appreciate the era they were pulling from when designing this new stuff, I just don't think many people are going to actually BUY it - especially in a down economy. I miss the old RH. The one with all the fun throw-back toys to play with, the one with the glossy white trim and endless beds and sofas on display that would virtually hug you when you sat on them. I just don't know why they took of in this new direction, but I sure hope they turn back soon.



I've been bouncing the idea of stenciling around ever since I finished the stripes project. I've been searching to the ends of the internets (both of them) for wall stencils and inspiration. I've found many wonderful options.

It's hard to figure out...
Which room to stencil?
What colors to stencil?
Which stencil to use?
Which paint finishes to use?
Stencil a whole room? Part of room? Feature wall?

I'm not sure where or when to start but these 2 pics are my inspirations. Sorry for not crediting the black foyer...it wasn't credited on the site I found it on. Give me a holler if it's yours and I'll gladly give you credit.Whose ever foyer this is, it's stunning. I LOVE it more than any other stencil project I've seen. I *might* go black in our guest bathroom with a pop of color on the ceiling. Since we've got plate-rail-height wainscoting in the bathroom, I think I can get away with the color. Plus, we've got black and white tiles and a black vanity.

I'm also totally loving this hand-painted wallpaper/stenciling by Jones Design Company. I have already printed out the stencil and test drew the design on a tiny part of my laundry room. It's so pretty. Again, with the plate-rail-height wainscoting in 2 rooms, I can see taking on such a task. Amazing work, I tell ya.

Stay tuned to see what I come up with. I don't want to commit to wallpaper yet, so painting it on is the way to go for me!