{ Things I’m Currently Obsessed With }

Hello, lovelies!

It’s been an intense last few weeks trying to get settled into the new home. I will say, today was a monumental one as we had our blinds installed! Although this may not sound too exciting, we have 26 windows in our house and none were covered when we moved in – so having this little addition has made quite an impact. They’re beautiful 2.5″ white, wooden plantation blinds and they certainly add some charm to our colonial style house. Speaking of houses (since it seems to be the hot topic of the month), I’ve decided to share with you a few home decor pieces that I’m currently obsessing over. Enjoy!

1. Safavieh Lucretius Bar Cart in Gold 

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This is definitely the item that I am most excited about. To make a long story short, I won this very bar cart on an Instagram contest from one of my favorite home furnishing and decor companies, Safavieh. If you haven’t heard of them, I would recommend checking them out because their items are absolutely stunning. While you’re at it, follow them on social media as they run various contests on a pretty regular basis. Just recently, they were offering their Instagram followers a chance to win multiple pieces of furniture and home accents of their choosing – from headboards to tables to chairs. In case you did not know, I am a big fan of social media…not just on a personal level, but from a business standpoint (perhaps it’s the marketing that runs through my veins). I think the companies that utilizes social media to engage their customers are hitting the nail on the head. When I entered the contest initially, I never expected to actually win. In fact, I never win anything. Ever. To my surprise, I was contacted by Savafieh through Instagram and then via email where they provided me with a few different bar cart styles to choose from. I ultimately chose this gold number because I loved the traditional elegance it encompassed. Not to mention, I thought it would look fabulous on top of our Persian rug. Stay tuned as I’ll be styling this bad boy up soon!

2. Chinoiserie

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I am an absolute sucker for the color blue and even more, the chinoiserie style. From a design aspect, I enjoy mixing old and new and love anything and everything eclectic. Chinoiserie really adds an element to the home that makes my heart skip a beat. It’s really picking up some momentum in the home decor world and you can find the style practically everywhere – from Ralph Lauren to Macy’s. However, my favorite pieces are typically found in antique shops. I currently own a few pieces but plan on adding to my collection gradually. The vase pictured from One King’s Lane is definitely one that I’ve been swooning over lately.

3. Cognac Leather Furniture

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I can tell you exactly when I started falling for cognac toned leather furniture. I had been scrolling on Instagram back in December and stumbled upon this very picture shown above. That couch. I needed to have that couch. I was sold. West Elm always tugs at my heart strings but really, it’s been months now and I cannot stop thinking about this couch. As much as I hate to admit that a piece of furniture has rented so much space in my head, I have to own up to it. So there you have it. This beautiful Hamilton leather couch from West Elm comes as a sofa, love seat and sectional. There is something so warm and cozy about this style. Did I mention that it as on my “must purchase” list? *Le Sigh*

4. Wrought Iron Chandeliers

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There is no denying that I’m a fan of both silver and gold, but I’ve been recently turned onto the oil rubbed bronze/wrought iron look, particularly when it comes to light fixtures. Perhaps it had to do with moving into our new house – I just find it to be suiting for the look and feel of the home. These chandeliers from Pottery Barn are freaking gorg. I love the warm, rustic and classic feel it encompasses. Beauties, right?

5. Gallery Walls

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I have been a big fan of gallery walls for some time now and am officially over the moon that I can begin our very own! There are so many directions you can go in with a gallery wall. From oil paintings to sketches, to color schemes to themes, to pictures to prints – the world is your oyster. As mentioned before, I have an affinity for an eclectic style and will probably end up going with a mix of everything to satisfy that yearning. I’m slowly collecting my pieces and using Pinterest as an inspiration. This lovely set up pictured above can be found here.

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Bar Cart Basics | The Anatomy of Styling

Good evening lovelies and happy weekend!

It was such a wonderful past week for me because I just started a new career in my coveted marketing field and am absolutely loving it! I am working for a company with a special mission with a very friendly, fun and supportive marketing staff. In the midst of getting acclimated, I wanted to do a post this week but was far too pooped to get crackin’ on the blog until now.

This week, I wanted to highlight the art of bar cart styling. Why? Aside from the fact that I am obsessed with them, they truly add a unique component to your home. However, some people fear tackling the bar cart for a few reasons:

a. They cannot figure out what direction to go in (from an aesthetic and functionality stand point).
b. They may not know how to style one appropriately.

I am here to solve that problem! Alas, I am providing you with some Bar Cart Basics! Enjoy!

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First thing’s first: choose the style direction you wish to go in. I’ve decided to go with gilded neutrals and pops of color (in this case, a deep, rich blue). Overall, I personally like classic elegance – it’s chic, simple, and will never go out of style. Even if you purchase a few trendy pieces, you can always change them out as your taste changes.

1. Essential Element: Cocktail Glasses. What bar cart would be complete without some beautiful glasses? First and foremost, you need them. But more importantly, you can have a little fun and be as eclectic as you want to be. I like the idea of using touches of gold, particularly because it correlates with my overall look. Instead of choosing one type of glass, why not try several? Personally, I love rocks glasses and instead of using just one style, I’ve decided to mix and match with keeping my gilded theme in mind. Check out the Mingle Bar GlassLex Bar Glass (I own these bad boys) and the Greet Bar Glass – all $9.95 a piece from Crate & Barrel.

2. Design Element: Small Figurine. Of course the functionality of your bar cart is key, but you can add little touches to personalize it and make it fun! I have an affinity for pineapples (not to mention they symbolize warmth, welcome and wealth in a home). Add a small figurine to your bar cart such as this 9″ Brass Pineapple Candle Holder I discovered at Chairish.com for $185.

3. Design Element: Books. Much like coffee table books, they can be used for functionality and/or a way to accessorize. Have some drink recipe books that are relevant your bar cart? Throw them on there and use them to style it. Looking at it from more of an aesthetic stand point? Add some vintage books to tie in your pop of color or to provide it with some timeless elegance. Since blue is my pop of color, I found this eclectic Set of Five Vintage Books for $30 from Etsy.

4. Design Element: Flower Vase. If you’re a sucker for flowers like I am, try adding a vase of them on the top of your bar cart. It creates a soft, feminine feel while giving it a more polished look. If you enjoy grabbing some fresh flowers at the Farmers Market and like to change them out weekly, you can certainly go in that direction. However, if you are looking for something that requires a little less maintenance, purchase a vase of faux flowers that stay fresh forever. I really fell for this mercury glass vase full of Faux Peonies for $99 from One Kings Lane.

5. Design Element: Apothecary Jar. Another great design element to incorporate is the use of apothecary jars. Glass is a popular material used but I have grown a wild infatuation with chinoiserie inspired ceramics – particularly anything blue and white. It also happens to tie into my pop of color. Even if you want to go in the direction of a small bowl or ginger jar rather than apothecary, you can go to any antique shop and pick one up for a very reasonable price. I’ve found several for around $20-$30 a piece. However, I do love this Ming Lidded Apothecary Jar from Frontgate for $79.

6. Essential Element: Whiskey Decanter. This is another fundamental piece of a bar cart, especially if you are featuring rocks glasses like I am. You can find them just about anywhere but this Flamant Home Interiors Leona Decanter from Amara is a beauty and priced at $113.

7. Design Element: Straws. This may not be necessary, but it does add a fresh look to your bar cart. It’s an inexpensive way to add a touch of whimsy to the overall feel and ends up tying everything together quite nicely. These striped straws come in an array of different colors but I personally enjoy the classic black and white. You can pick up a 25 Count from Party Source for just $3.49!

 8. The Bar Cart Itself. Speaking of bar carts, this post would not make much sense without the bar cart itself! Here’s the deal: there are numerous bar carts out there at different price points, styles, colors, materials…essentially, the world is your oyster here. Going for a more rustic look? Anthropologie has some beautiful wooden and metal ones, for example. However, I adore this one to tie into my gilded/classic theme. I also really love this bar cart because it is reasonably priced. There are bar carts out there in the thousands, but this Meredith Bar Cart from One Kings Lane is just $210!

9. Design Element: Monogram Letter. If you scour Pinterest like I do, I’m sure you’ve noticed the increased popularity in implementing the letter of your first name or last name in design. Being a newlywed and my last name starting with an “A”, I’ve been collecting “A’s” at every chance I get. Adding a monogram letter to your bar cart adds a little personality to it while also personalizing it. You can find them practically everywhere, particularly Etsy, which has some that even light up for a more retro feel. However, this Acid Etched Letter from Urban Outfitters priced at $14 is pretty inexpensive, vintage-inspired and well, gorgeous!

 10. Essential Element: Cocktail Shaker. For those of you who enjoy a good cocktail, a shaker is absolutely mandatory for your bar cart. I’ve seen some made of sleek brass or hammered metal and also some that are more simplistic. This Madison Collection Cocktail Shaker from Sur La Table is $50 and can be used for many years to come. I love that it is both European-inspired and timeless.

 11. Essential Element: Coasters. Trying to protect your wooden table? No one likes the dreaded ring left from a drink! Coasters are absolutely essential in regard to a bar cart. These beautiful coasters are made from natural agate and play into my neutral color palette. This Set of 4 Coasters by Shiraleah can be purchased from Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th for $57.70 (originally $71).

 12. Design Element: Prints. I’m a art enthusiast and lover of good prints. Adding a piece of art to your bar cart whether it be physically on the cart or hanging on the wall above it pulls everything together. The print you pick truly depends on your style – it’s a very personal thing. You could add your favorite artist’s work, something illustrated and funky, or a letterpress print that relates to the bar you are essentially creating. The Blue Pineapple Print I fell in love with ties into both my pop of color and pineapple trinket and is an instant download priced at just $5. The Gold Foil “Pop Fizz Clink” Print ties into the gold and metallics I’ve been using, directly relates to the bar cart and is priced at $25. Both were found on Etsy (one of my favorite places to shop of all time).

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Gift Guide | Stocking Stuffers for Everyone

It’s glorious December and the time has finally come — the holidays! Bring on the hot cocoa, the perpetual (and shameless) display of Christmas music on my Pandora station, the hunt for the “perfect tree”, the warm glow of twinkling Christmas lights, flannel shirts, holiday cheer, snuggling up with a good book by a cozy fire, Christmas movie marathons on ABC Family, and of course, the chaotic mayhem of gift purchasing that we all secretly adore. But whether you enjoy the pandemonium of Black Friday sales (or just being in a 1 mile radius of the mall during the month of December) or not, picking out the “right” present for someone can be difficult in itself. So why stress over the smaller things, like Secret Santa gifts or stocking stuffers?

Below is something I cultivated with some fantastic stocking stuffer/gift ideas that will please just about everyone – depending on their area of interest. Hopefully it can at least help you get inspired – it’s definitely made my wheels turn! Everything in the gift guide below is priced under $100. Enjoy!

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1. For the Work Out Queen. For those who enjoy hitting the gym or going for runs, a water bottle is very much a necessity. The ones I’m seeing right now from Victoria Secret are seriously AMAZE because they all have clever phrases and sayings, like the one pictured (“I Just Can’t”) which I actually say on a fairly regular basis. { Water Bottles, $14.95 from Victoria’s Secret }

2. For the Business Gal. I cannot think of too many girls who do not love Kate Spade – and these monogrammed business card holders are so lovely. This gift would be perfect for the busy business chick who is always on the go and attending networking events. { One in a Million Business Card Holders, $30 from Nordstrom }

3. For Host with the Most. Okay, if you have not already invested in Cards Against Humanity, it is about time you do. They are hilarious, fun and…okay, yeah they’re definitely inappropriate, but they make for a great time! This gift would be perfect for the friend who has a sense of humor and enjoys hosting parties and events. { Cards Against Humanity, $25 from Amazon }

4. For the Outdoorsman. So there are actually people out there who absolutely love camping and didn’t just go for their very first time in 29 years like I did. But all joking aside – there are so many outdoor enthusiasts or just people who enjoy gadgets (like my husband, who is a little bit of both). This LED Pen Light is one of the hottest on the market right now and has received rave reviews. It’s compact, lightweight and conveniently clips anywhere. { Streamlight MicroStream LED Pen Light, $24.99 from Cabela’s }

5. For the Style Savvy Guy. If there is one thing I love on a man, it’s plaid and flannel. It also happens to be a very trendy/fashion-forward look this season. This knit scarf from The Rail is extremely well priced for the excellent quality you are receiving and would pair perfectly with a structured military jacket or peacoat this Winter. { Red Check Knit Scarf, $20 from Nordstrom }

6. For the Tween or Teen. Do you have someone a little younger in the family and have no idea what to get them? I run into this problem time and time again. This Essie nail polish collection is seriously adorable and perfect for a small gift or stocking stuffer! { Essie Winter 2014 Mini Four-Pack, $17 from Nordstrom }

7. For the Man Who Enjoys the Finer Things. Do you have a father, brother, friend or significant other than enjoys grooming products? There is no shame in the game because any man that takes care of himself gets an A in my book! The Art of Shaving is a prestigious mens grooming retailer and they have some of the best products out there. This starter kit contains pre-shave oil, shaving cream, after-shave balm and a shaving brush. Aside from unscented, it also comes in an array of different smells such as Sandalwood, Lemon, Lavender, Ocean and more. This would make the perfect stocking stuffer for him. { Starter Kit, $25 from The Art Of Shaving }

8. For the Whiskey Drinker. To me, this seems like the best gift ever for those who enjoy a glass of whiskey. These whiskey stones bring a new meaning to “serving your drink on the rocks” because instead of using ice which will ultimately water down your beverage, the stones will stay cold and allow you to enjoy the flavor of your whiskey without diluting it. { Whiskey Stones & Gift Set, $20-$58 from Uncommon Goods }

9. For the Beauty Aficionado. One of my best friends has gotten super into makeup and has been learning various application techniques via YouTube Channels and bloggers – apparently it’s this whole subculture that I was completely unaware of. At any rate, I credit her to getting me into things I never even knew I needed or wanted! I just got my first eyeshadow palette and it was pretty much the best decision ever. Eyeshadow palettes are a great gift or stocking stuffer because you get a lot of bang for your buck. These Urban Decay Naked Palettes have been getting a lot of positive attention – they’re so pigmented and pretty!  { Urban Decay Naked Palette, Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette, Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette – $54/each from Sephora }

10. For the Fashionista. Hellooo – I am obsessed with this (first and foremost). How adorable is this Kate Spade iPad folio? Great for the fashionista – just pair with some killer heels and bright red lips – you’ll be a force to be reckoned with. { Kate Spade New York Speak of the Devil iPad Case, $85 from Nordstrom }

11. For the Newlywed. Who doesn’t love a sweet, little trinket dish? Particularly if you are a newlywed (or soon-to-be Mrs.) so you have a safe place to put your ring and other jewelry when you are not wearing them. There are so many trinket/ring dishes out there but I just love this one – which one of my bests just so happened to purchase for me when I got married.  And may I add, it looks fantastic on a vanity! { Mr. & Mrs. Ring Dish, $12.95 from Crate & Barrel }

12. For the Pups. Come on, we could not possibly forget our beloved fur babies, right? If your pups are practically your children and have stockings like mine do, they deserve a little something special as well. If you’ve grown tired of just giving them treats and toys, how about a swanky new collar? I am so in love with these bow tie and flower ones from the SillyBuddy Etsy shop! There are literally over 200 choices available and they seriously the sweetest things I’ve ever seen! { Bow Tie and Floral Dog Collars, $45-$57 from SillyBuddy Etsy Shop }

13.  For the Vintage Lover. If you are looking for something special and unique for someone with a kindred spirit, how about a special, vintage item? You can hit any antique store, but I do also enjoy scouring Etsy for my handmade and vintage gifts. I’m not sure where my random brass pineapple trinket obsession recently came from, but goodness – they are pretty! { Vintage Brass Pineapple, $76 from OrchidandUrchin Etsy Shop }

14.  For the Sports Fanatic. Purchasing a gift for someone that eats, sleeps and breathes sports? Getting them something related to their favorite team is always a safe bet. I mean after all, one cannot have too much sports memorabilia! This knit hat is very suiting for the Winter – ’tis the season, right? { Mens Dallas Cowboy New Era Black Sport Cuffed Knit Hat, $24.95 from NFL Shop }

15.  For the Sugar Junkie. Wanting to stuff someone’s stocking with candy? Maybe you want to purchase something a little different or more sophisticated than what you would typically find at a store? One of my girlfriends recently shared this site with me and everything looks AMAZING – particularly the champagne gummy bears. YES, you heard me. Champagne. Gummy. Bears. No further explanation needed. { Champagne Gummy Bears, $20 for a 12.05 oz box from Sugarfina }

16.  For the Chef. If you know someone that really loves to cook, a custom meat or cheese cutting board would make an excellent gift choice! You can find custom cutting boards on Etsy but I just happen to know a guy named Andy (owner and operator of Handy Andy of Charlotte) that does the most beautiful and intricate work. He makes each of his one-of-a-kind cutting boards by hand and with lots of love.  He’s based out of Charlotte, NC but is able to ship all over and can be reached at alehman39@gmail.com. { Handy Andy Custom Cutting Boards, 9x12x2 board, $79.99} *Contact Andy for other size and price options as he can build made-to-order pieces but also has several that are complete and ready to ship.

DIY | Vintage Dresser Makeover

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

I thought I would break up my Fall posts with a little DIY action. This was actually a project I worked on well before we were even fully moved into our new home. I’ve only waited this long to share the project because I so wanted to decorate it prior to posting, however, I have not yet found exactly what I am looking for…so stay tuned because there is definitely more to come!

If you remember my DIY china cabinet makeover post a few weeks back, then you may remember that Shahin’s dad and step mom provided us with that beautiful vintage china cabinet that I was able to update. I had only mustered up the courage to take that project on solo because I had exposure to this one first with a little help from my friends (cue in The Beatles song). And by a little help from my friends, I actually mean a LOT of help from my friends. I truly could not have taken on this beast without some of my closest girlfriends along for the ride – Stephanie (check out her blog here), Jennifer, and Ashley. See, no one should believe that a DIY project is a daunting task, rather, something extremely enjoyable – make a day or evening of it! After indulging in a few glasses of vino, a slice of Fuel Pizza, and some good ol’ catching up, we got right to work.

Below is an image of the original piece we were working with. Shahin’s dad and step mom also let us take this old dresser to revamp for the new house. When I initially looked at it, I knew exactly the direction I wanted to go in as I saw the great potential it possessed. It’s no secret that I am a lover of vintage things. I like anything that is rough around the edges but still encompasses elegance and character.

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{ The dresser: BEFORE }

I decided to scour Lowe’s for the perfect paint colors. I had a vision and needed to see it through – I wanted to get a vintage/worn feeling and knew that crackle paint was partly the answer. I had some experience using this medium in the past (when I worked on the vintage door for our wedding), but a good bit of time had elapsed since the last time I had touched it. So, what is crackle paint, you might ask? Pretty much the best thing ever. It’s a paint medium/faux painting technique used between different layers of paint that once applied, crackles on its own and can be easily distressed to provide an “old” look with layers of different colors peeking through. After purchasing a couple of paint cans (color choices shown below), a can of crackle paint and some sanding blocks – I was in and out of Lowe’s in less than 30 minutes. Done and done.

After removing the knobs on the dresser, we used my first color choice, Valspar’s Coastal Villa, for the bottom layer of the dresser. With four of us, we were able to knock it out pretty quickly. This is actually the same color I used for my china cabinet as I had paint left over and absolutely adored it. It may look beige here (the image does not do it justice), but it’s actually the perfect shade of greige (grey/beige).

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{ Valspar’s Coastal Villa – the color chosen for the bottom layer of the dresser }

After we let the Coastal Villa paint layer dry, we applied the crackle medium. Any crackle paint should do but below is one by Valspar that you can easily pick up from Lowe’s or order online here. Otherwise, you can always pick some up at any other home improvement store or craft store such as Michael’s.

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{ Valspar’s Crackle Glaze Medium }

Once the crackle medium was applied, we added the top coat of paint about an hour later (the minimum), but if you’re trying this project out – do not wait any longer than four. The second color I chose was Snowcap White, also by Valspar.

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{ Valspar’s Snowcap White – the color chosen for the top layer of the dresser }

Once we painted this on the dresser and allowed it to dry some, we could see that the paint was really starting to crackle on its own. However, I wanted to distress it even more. My friends and I used various tools such as screwdrivers in addition to the coarse sanding blocks to really rough it up, particularly around the edges. The finished product turned out BEAUTIFULLY – especially when I purchased new knobs (about $4/each from Lowe’s). That’s when the dresser really transformed.

TA-DA! Below is our finished/custom/one-of-a-kind beauty that I am so proud of! Y’all, no lie – it’s everything I could have hoped and dreamed. I love the distressed, old-timely feel mixed with a touch of classic elegance. The contrast between the grey and the white is ridiculously amazing and what I treasure most is that the original warm wood color is still somewhat visible through the crackling.

To finish it off, I put a lace runner on top of the dresser (which I upcycled from our wedding), and am now in search of the perfect set of gold or vintage brass lamps…oh, and of course some little nick-nacks and decor. Check out all of the lovely details below.

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If I had tried to purchase this piece somewhere, it would have cost me a small fortune. The DIY route was the best decision ever and even more, we now have a unique piece that can not be found anywhere else! I have to admit, I am one happy girl!

Interested in using the crackle paint medium? Here are a few very important pointers to remember:

  • Make sure that the two different colors of paint you choose have enough contrast. If you pick colors that are too similar to one another, the crackle/distressing will not be very obvious to the naked eye. Play with different color combinations – the possibilities are endless!
  • When applying the crackle paint medium, be sure to use it modestly.
  • Ensure that you are covering everything as the crackle is clear and can be hard to see.

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