May 24, 2015

View to my left. View to my right.

I hope you all had a fabulous Memorial Day Weekend, whatever that means to you. Since Matt was away, Grace and I spent lots of quality time together doing our favorite early Summer things. We even made it to the local beach for a few hours and one of my favorite moments was her soaking her feet in a bucket of salt water enjoying a heart shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I think a sandy PBJ is one of my solid beach memories and I feel so fortunate that we live in a place with easy access to the beach - even if the timing is ohh so short here in New England. ♥

May 21, 2015

Packing Light: A Tutorial

A Guest Post from my sister, Jessica

Packing Light: A Tutorial

I actually really like packing  - and I like strategically packing even more.  For this trip I was determined to pack as minimally as possible and only have a carry on.  When I pack, I don’t pack individual items – I plan outfits.  I am a planner.  I envision what activities I might do, what situations might call for certain items and what the weather is going to be.  For optimum flexibility, I generally opt for neutral tones with a few pops of color.

Trip I’m packing for:  4 days in Istanbul, Turkey in May
I just spent 4 days in Istanbul Turkey where the weather was in the high to mid-60’s every day, and in the mid-to-low ’50’s at night. I packed only what is on the list below and was able to fit everything into my backpack and handbag.  My vacation was comprised of sightseeing, a cruise on the bosphorus, lots of walking and going out to dinner.

1 pair of gray jeans
1 pair of gray trousers (wide leg for comfort, wrinkle free for low maintenance)
1 pair black trousers (wide leg for comfort, wrinkle free for low maintenance)
1 pair of cotton pajama bottoms

1 green tee shirt
1 fuchsia tank top for layering
1 long sleeve black shirt, thin, thin cotton (great for layering)
1 long sleeve pin-stripe button down shirt, soft and comfortable
1 cotton tee shirt pajama top

Raincoat (very thankful I brought this as it POURED the first morning)
Scarf (both for chilly nights and as a head cover to visit Mosques)
Blazer (a casual sweatshirt material – I literally wore this everyday)

Euro-sneakers (slightly higher fashion than typical running shoes)
*Hiking Boots (actually had to buy these in Istanbul because the Euro-sneakers were not supportive enough for all the walking – stylish, but nowhere near supportive enough)

Day Pack
Handbag/camera bag (dual purpose of my camera bag and purse)
Packing Cube (a great way to organize clothes, it’s even 2-sided so you can put your dirty clothes on one side and clean clothes on the other)

Techie Stuff
Kindle  (I actually didn’t even use this)
iPhone (The hotel had wifi, so I could stay in touch with everyone back home each night)
Digital SLR Camera
2 Batteries for Camera
Battery charging pack (to charge my phone and Kindle without having to use and adapter)

1 pairs of sunglasses
Sun Block (it’s pretty expensive to buy this in Turkey, so be sure to pack some and arrive prepared for the strong sun)

I was fairly restrained with what I bought, but I couldn’t resist one of the beautiful scarfs that you can find at many of the shops around town. I also bought a necklace, some tea and (of course!) Turkish Delight.

Snapshots from Istanbul

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Kick off the summer with a new canvas tote

Memorial Day Weekend = Unofficial Start to Summer, which is kind of crazy to think that there's still almost a month until "official" summer starts.

It also means it's time to switch out my bag and I love a good canvas tote! Here's the tote I bought last year. Huge.

Outdoor Sale: Save 15%

May 14, 2015

Our Renovation Story: Stair Design

When it came to the stair design of our 2nd floor story addition we honestly didn't give it much thought. Who knew it would be one of the features that makes me smile the most every day!

Here's a look at the entry before we began construction - on moving day actually as you can see by the brown paper on the floor. To the right of our front door there you can see a tiny little knob that belongs to a door that led up to the attic.
Original Entry

My only explanation for why we didn't have an initial opinion on the stair design is that we didn't worry too much about what they'd look like because they were always neatly tucked behind a door, surrounded by lovely beadboard.

Until one day I came home from work in March to find this:
Renovating Stairs

Boom. Oh yeahhh we have stairs in our living room... And soon after we were living with the reality of a second floor (up until now all that construction was tucked neatly behind the former door), our contractor started asking us about our stair design preferences. Which balusters do you want? Colonial? Pin top? I was so confused! I had to do some googling just to understand the terminology.

Here's a refresher for you stair experts or a great tutorial for the non-stair aficionado.

Understanding Stair Terminology
Stair Terminology 101
Our Contractor kept it pretty simple and suggested a few balusters and newel posts to use, but I decided to put my iPhone to work and research stairs on Pinterest. And then I really got into it. I formed my opinion and brought Matt on board. Colonial didn't really feel right with the house, even though our house was turning into a Colonial with this renovation... Downstairs we have a lot of squared-off features with the nice clean lines of the beadboard so what I ended up discovering was actually more of a Mission look. I ended up finding this image on Pinterest and left the Contractor and Carpenter to work their magic.

Mission Style Staircase from Pinterest

Keep in mind that this image features the pre-painted/stained staircase and ours below is the finished product, but there was a time when our stairs looked almost exactly like this!

Here is our final product. I'm so happy with the newel post (the front part) and the square balusters. Love ♥

Mission Style Staircase

The carpenter did an amazing job on these stairs to take it from post-apocalyptic to Mission style coastal. What I love most is how it flows with the rest of the downstairs. It works with the beadboard, matches the wood floors and looks nice and open. Believe me, I never thought 50's era attic stairs could look so good!

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50's era attic stair update
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May 8, 2015

5 Best Things About Being a Mom of Preschoolers

This Sunday is Mother's Day which means I get to celebrate 3 years of celebrating motherhood!

Way back when Grace was 18 months old I created my masterpiece, 25 Best Things About Being a Mom and I still crack myself up over it. Although most of these are still relevant (hello Target Shopping by myself), raising a preschooler has its own particular joys. I found no better metaphors to those joys than through Toddlers and Tiara gifs. Behold.

 When she shows off her dance moves at preschool.

Bribery actually works. Sometimes. 

The art projects are next level.

Coming home after a day out with Grandparents

The other parents are still crazy.

Now, we all know there are way more than 5 best things about being a Mom of Preschoolers, but honestly I don't have the time right now :)

Happy Mother's Day!

May 1, 2015

5 Kentucky Derby Recipes

5 Recipes to Try for the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow and I wouldn't necessarily care if my Mom didn't throw an awesome annual party. See, I'm not a "horse-person" per say. At all. Which is weird because my Mom and Sister. They are HORSE PEOPLE. Owned horses, rode horses, interested in horses as a general species...

Anyway, Kentucky Derby parties are fun! They include a twinge of nice weather (being the first weekend in May), great food, and mint juleps. Also hats and bowties as a close fourth and fifth place.

Last night my husband made me feel guilty that we had to bring something Derby related so here are some options that I might bring.

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