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Pinning Lately

house 1 house 2 Untitled-1 I’ve had a little thing for pinning gorgeous home exteriors lately.  It’s got me inspired to actually start thinking about the style of the house we plan to build one day and I think I have a very, very clear cut style! Modern Farmhouse anyone? More of these farmhouse revivals here!  Have a happy (and inspiring) Wednesday, everyone!   Sources: 1 | 2 | 3

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How To Keep Your Hydrangeas from Wilting

prevent hydrangeas from drooping

Tell me this hasn’t happened to you… You buy some gorgeous fresh hydrangeas only to have them wilt just hours after you get them into your favorite vase. It’s so frustrating! There are tons of ideas out there about how to pep them back up, and I’ve tried them all.  I have found that only one trick works for me and keeps working through the life of the flower.

how to prevent hydrangeas from drooping

I actually have one hydrangea stem that is three weeks old (the one from yesterday’s post, actually).  There is one big thing that most people do wrong which causes the wilting. Ready for it?

Don’t use scissors!  That is the first step.  Scissors actually crush the cells, pinching the bottom of the stem so that they can’t take up as much water. Stop using scissors to cut flowers and they’ll live double the time.

Secondly, and specifically for hydrangeas, you have to slice the stem at a very very aggressive angle. The white pith on the inside of the stem is what helps wick the water up the stem and into all of those tiny blooms.  Expose as much of the interior pith to the water as you can to help it ‘drink’ more.

how to cut a hydrangea stem

How to keep hydrangeas from wilting hydrangeas

After a few days, if you see them start to look a little wimpy, give them fresh water and a fresh angled cut.  I go from a tall vase to a lower and lower one as the stems get shorter throughout the weeks.

If you don’t have a floral knife, you can buy one cheap this is the one I have.  If you have a pocket knife of another sort, feel free to use that as well.  Just ensure the knife isn’t serrated.

So go!  Run to the nearest store and try this new trick!  I know you’ll love it!

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Sunday Brunch with Sangria Bar

sunday sangria bar

Everyone loves a good Sunday Funday, right? For me, there is something about a sunny sunday that makes me want to lounge around with friends and indulge a little.  Indulging a bit means letting the food and drink be easy, but good with a little help from the store. I’m a big fan of using bought items to ease the stress of a get together, especially one of this sort.

To create an easy, but still stunning fete, create one (all you need is one) focal point that creates a memorable and interactive feeling. Here, I’ve created a little sangria bar to be the main attraction.  Since we’re keeping things easy here, I used store-bought Yellow Tail Sangria and posted a handwritten sign encouraging everyone to try the sangria a few different ways!  Juices, sparkling water, fresh herbs, and champagne are all wonderful elements to mix and match, enabling each person to find their favorite way to enjoy a custom sangria.

Since sangria isn’t too heavy in alcohol, it can be enjoyed throughout the afternoon without a full hearty meal, but instead with a few brunch favorites to nibble on.

sangria brunch

easy bruch menu

I’m a big believer in serving just a few things and serving them in large amounts to people feel like they can really dig in.  I think that unless you’re having a potluck, there shouldn’t be a gazillion choices. Too many items increases the work you have to do and creates the same anxiety for guests as being in a restaurant with too big of a menu.

One big, savory quiche was the only thing I made at home, but I made it a big one!  All of the other treats were purchased, but presented on pretty platters and in abundant quantities.  Fresh fruit, bakery pastries, and a full cheese plate are enough to create a big meal for anyone.

sangria bar brunch

sangria party

sunday bruch with sangria

You should enjoy your own gathering!  Planning a quick, easy, but still polished event can be done with a little planning, a narrow menu, and the help of a few purchased goodies.

Savor every element of your next brunch!

 

Disclosure: I participated in this sponsored campaign on behalf of One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

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Friday Faves 7.11

Friday faves 7.11

ONE need to find your way?  This gilded twinkle star looks much like a north star to me – a very elegant, strong take on the starburst we’re seeing in decor. $118 from Plaid Fox. TWO ceramic and driftwood spoons are each handmade of local driftwood from The Owl Perch in Vermont. $25 each. THREE grazie! After spending the last week reading the newest Dan Brown book which takes place in the Italian city of Florence, I’ve found myself wanting to immerse myself in Italian. Grazie porcelain sign from Waiting on Martha for $16. FOUR a little wood-legged stool is simple, but elegant – perfect for slipping on your shoes before you slip out of the door. The Algoma small stool is just $75 from Plaid Fox. FIVE faceted wooden bangles painted in subtle mint are a total fave! $45 from Little Lamb Craft. SIX Do What Matters (forget the rest) are wise words to remember.  Make the remembering easy by hanging this gold foil art on your wall.  $20 from Design Darling Boutique.

 

Happy Friday, guys!  We’re already midway into July and summer seems to be moving too quickly.  Being on the road or in the air for the past five weekends have left me really craving some quality at-home time.  I feel like I haven’t seen my friends in forever, so I’m eager to see them tonight at the Summer Movie Series we’re hosting.

Aside from preparing for the movie tonight, I’ll be taking care of the garden, weeding my flowers, and doing all of the laundry that builds up after a months’ worth of traveling. Anything exciting on your weekend agenda?

 

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Home Inspiration from an Antique Dairy Farm

ajf designs 2

I love looking at houses. I know that’s a pretty obvious statement coming from a home & decor blogger, but it’s not always the inside that I love peeking into.

Last week while in Nashville, we spent a little bit of time just driving around the countryside, looking at homes.  I always start to dream about if I had all of the power (and money) to build exactly what I loved, what would that home look like? It’s easy to look at a photo or drive by a house and simply ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ certain aspects of a design. But I always think about how hard it must be to just start from scratch.

Many of you know that Matt and my long-term plan is to build a new home on our property.  For years, I’ve envisioned what the house might look like and what design style I might adopt. It’s houses like this one by AJF design and Tendenze Design that start filling up my idea bank. I was enamored by this gorgeous home. It’s the property of Andrea Filippone who is a landscape designer in New Jersey.  The property actually started out as 4 different barns and outbuildings, then Filippone worked to string them together into a gorgeous home. I was struck by how many beautiful details just one residence can have.  It seems that around every corner, there is something to take note of or to jot down in my memory.

ajf designs

ajf design

I love how sprawling and continuous this home is, all while using pretty clean lines and classic farmhouse design.  The landscape plays such a huge part in the whimsey of the property, but strip that away and there is clapboard, cedar, and stone. Loads of gridded windows in every shape and size are really the wow factor for me.  Is there anything that stands out to you?

 

 

Have a happy happy Thursday, guys!

 

Photos: AJF Design

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DIY Fringed Kimono

diy fringe kimono

You know how I said that I don’t wear scarves? Well, I suppose I do now! We spoke last week about the things in life that we want to like, but just can’t and I confessed that although I continue buying scarves, I just never ever wear them.  This particular scarf is one of my favorites.  I wanted to look all ‘Bohemian Erin’ in it, but instead it just looked forced.  That is clearly until I had the idea to turn it into this fringed sleeve kimono.

I actually have had this idea wandering around in the back of my brain for at least 10 months.  I saw a gorgeous silk fringed kimono at an art show last September and after seeing the $300 price tag, I thought there had to be a better solution for me.  And now, I’m happy as pie that I waited to create this.

diy fringed cardigan
make a scarf into a kimono
diy fringed kaftan

You know I hate sewing, right?  Like, I despise sewing. I still have a tiny little sewing machine from high school and have banned anyone from getting me a new machine just so that I have a better reason to avoid it completely. Only once in a blue moon is there something I want to make badly enough to break out the machine and this was one of those moments.

You don’t have to have a machine, however, to make this kimono.  In total, there are two very straight stitches and a bit of seam tape (like stitch witchery) which fuses seams together with just an iron. If you want to go the extra mile and add fringe, you can do so by hand, and it wouldn’t take you that long at all!

But, if you do have a machine, and do want to speed things along, this project will take you all of 30 minutes, so I know you can make one! Here is how I did it!  Continue Reading…

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Summer Movie Nights!

movie night

I am home in Ohio and am going to hit the ground running after spending a relaxing weekend in Nashville.  This week we are starting something which I hope will be very fun and grow to be a friend favorite.

We are beginning a ‘Summer Movie Series’ which we’ll have every week at exactly the same time, outside in our yard.  We were throwing around the idea loosely at first, and then we just kept going further and further with elaborate treats to eat, high tech (or low tech) ways to put together the outdoor sound, and of course, what movies we’ll watch and how they’ll be picked.

Since I’ve been out of town for the last five weekends, I haven’t started the planning phase, but I’m jumping in this week.  Of course, I’ll keep you on the up and up with the decorations and how I’ll organize the lounging.

The men, however, have been feverishly putting together desired titles and genres. Everything from horror to comedy to chickflicks is involved, but the one commonality is that every movie we’re choosing is somewhat of a cult classic (to our generation, at least). Everything we were throwing out fell under a few categories:

chick flicks from the 80s horror nostalgia

My biggest stipulation is that the movie must be appealing and attention grabbing for both the girls and the guys to avoid one of the groups peeling off one by one and congregating at the bar, turning the night into just a plain old party and the movie falling off the radar.

Although ‘Nostalgia’ is a pretty big category, it’s mostly the male version of chickflicks and some general all around goodness. We didn’t even hit the tip of the iceberg here, but it’s not as easy as it seems!

Take a try!  Which movie would you love to see during an outdoor movie night?

 

 

p.s. we start this Friday!  If you’re local, email me and I can give you details!

 

photo: The Urban List

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Done in Nashville

 

nashville

I’m kind of to the point where I just skim the top of all of the wonderful things there are to do in Nashville.  I lived there for four years through college and still today (10 years later!) half of my family and a good seventy five percent of my friends still live there. I’ve done and seen a lot of the action, so when I go now, I lay pretty low.

There are so many fabulous things to do, but this holiday weekend was spent mostly with family – floating around in our Aunt and Uncle’s amazing pool, sipping on cool drinks, and eating about once every two hours. We left the house three times.  Once to go to the Loveless Cafe (where I can’t help but get fried chicken and sandwich it in their famous biscuits with some strawberry jam); another outing to go downtown to Tootsies, Roberts, and the Stage where we listen to young musicians all trying to make it big; then another time to get brunch with my college girlfriends and catch up on life.

It’s totally an indulgent weekend, and after over a month of being on the road, it was nice to relax a bit.  I even found a pair of pretty amazing cowboy boots which are bound to be my new favorites (now just to break them in!)

I hope you all had an amazing holiday weekend as well!  Did you travel?  OR stay right at home?

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Grand Old Flag

flag

She sure is a grand old, high flying flag, huh?  All around the world there is political unrest, there are varying opinions on politics, and there is unease that might accompany the decisions of our country and other countries.

Still, however, I am proud to be an American.  I’m proud of the strides we take each day to become more progressive and more tolerant.  If watching a lot of the buzz surround the World Cup has taught me anything it’s that no country is perfect, just as no person is perfect.

I’ve learned that we are really all in this together, this quest to make the world and the country we call home a better place.  That doesn’t happen by one person believing, but by a country believing.  Just over 300 years ago our founders believed that something wonderful could be created in this place and today we’re here to continue a legacy that was started for us.  So today, on our anniversary, here’s to our Country, and our united effort to make it as good as we want it to be.

Have a happy 4th of July guys!

 

 

Photo: Rachel Halvorson

 

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Something I want to love

scarf - atlantic pacific

Do you ever just have those things that you want to like?  Those things you buy thinking that you’ll love it – even if it kills you? For me it started with coffee (odd considering yesterday’s post).  I wanted to like coffee so bad.  I wanted to be a woman who drank coffee. I attacked this goal like I would any assignment.  I started small with the Dunkaccino’s from Dunkin Donuts and worked my way further and further toward real coffee right up until I was drinking espresso black. I just wanted to be a coffee drinker.  A cool black coffee drinker.

There are different things in life that I’ve tried to force myself to like – one big one being scarves.  I love to buy scarves. I think they’re gorgeous, and I when I see beautiful scarves on other women, I’m jealous.  “I could be a scarf wearing woman” I usually think to myself. This leads me to buy all sorts of artistically wonderful scarves, but I can’t wear them. I don’t like the way they feel on my neck with my hair all bunchy and un-chic. I think I can wear them, and I want to wear them, but I never ever do.  Similar to how I want to be an espresso drinking woman, but I’ve regressed and now I must have my coffee with milk and sugar.

All of this to say there are people we want to be, and there are things we try to force ourselves into because we just want to like that thing…. we think we should like that thing.  It is interesting to think about the absolute difference between liking something and wanting to like something, isn’t it? Isn’t it strange to think we can want something so badly, but it just doesn’t suit us?  There are so many iterations of this phenomenon, and there are many more that apply to me, but these two come top of mind for me. Two things that would make me so much chicer in my mind, but we all have our limits.

 

So tell me, what are your limits?  What is something you’ve tried tried tried to like but just can’t?

 

p.s. I will make use of my endless drawer of unworn scarves in one of next week’s DIYs!!  Stay tuned…

Photo: Atlantic-Pacific

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