Thursday, November 24

Saturday, October 15

It's Fall Y'all!!!

My mother just read that title and felt faint. I am Canadian born, New Jersey bred, Chicago educated but now fully ensconced in the SOUTH, and this DC mama has adopted the term y'all! Can't help it. I always absorb the accents of the places I've visited and lived. It's a bad habit but funny as hell. Just ask my sister about my excellent British impression when I visit her. It's somewhere between 007 and Dick Van Dyke. Brilliant!!!

Anyway...back to the topic at hand. IT"S FINALLY FALL! Wooo hooooo. Here's to crispy weather and falling leaves and new beginnings. And most importantly to some not-so-spooky decorating. Despite having to lug about 30 giant tupperwares out of the attic, I really do love putting up holiday decorations. I am still trying to convince my hubs to turn one of the rooms in the basement into my dream room - lined with shelves filled with the tupperwares! Alas, he has not folded yet. Give it time.

Here's how it came together this year. ENJOY! And Happy Halloween!











Thursday, October 6

Dining Room Makeover...Again!

As promised...it's time to get back to the fun, fluffy design stuff. Real life is still complicated and hard but one way to get over it is for me to make our living spaces pretty. And then to completely redo those same spaces a couple of years later. Ha! So about a year or so ago, I went shopping to finish decorating the office for Mr. Difficult (OH...which, because of my extended hiatus, I still haven't shown you...more to come on that!) at our local Restoration Hardware outlet store and found this - our dream table on super sale for less than $1,000!

I literally hopped on it and bought it without hesitation. Big mistake. First, I found out it was way too big for our room. Later we realized the reason for it's ridiculous markdown (normally more than $5,000) was that the beautiful reclaimed hardwood was warped, which makes for a fun nightly dinner game of "who can avoid spilling their drink on the curvy table" each night. But did I mention it was like 1,000% off? Oh and that I am the world's most impatient person? But you know that by now.

Anywhoooo...it seated more people than our old, very banged up black Pottery Barn table that we bought for our first apartment and it is gorgeous, so we overlooked it's flaws. When it was delivered, I realized a total dining room makeover was necessary. Yay! And recently, I decided to finish the room. Here it is....ta daaaaa!!!




I love love love the way it came out! It's cozy yet still kind of formal. It's useable without being worn down looking. So let's break it down...You already know about the table. The chairs are all from Homegoods and were a steal! I was really iffy about chairs in this room. I wanted fabric but I have a 9 year old son who is MES-SY. So finding these chairs on sale means that if he messes them up (which he will) I won't be heartbroken. Ok...I will a little bit.

The bookshelves are Restoration Hardware  and are called the Parisian Cornice Single Shelving. And get this...if you join their membership program (like $100 for the year) you save a TON of money on everything on their site. These were normally $850 but as a member they were reduced to $637 each. You can do the math...totally worth joining. Here's a pic from their website. You can see that it's not really a typical choice for china but because the table is so darn big, I couldn't fit a huge cabinet. So I thought there were perfect.


As for styling them, that was easy. I finally broke out all of my china and crystal that we got...ahem...17 years ago when we got married. And while I'm living on the edge when soccer balls tend to fly around my house, it's worth taking the chance to have them on display.



The curtains were the biggest challenge for me in this room. I have purchased, no exaggeration, 8 different sets of curtains and then returned them all. The dark ones made the room feel small and the light ones made it feel like a hospital room. Some were expensive and some cheap. Just couldn't get it right. And just when I was about to give up, I found these panels at my favorite place on Earth....Target. Alas, because nothing is ever easy, they didn't come in the length I needed. So I ordered 5 panels instead of 4 and cut the extra panel into 4 and sewed them on the bottom of the others. And by sew I mean I used that webbing adhesive stuff and ironed them together cuz nobody got time to really sew. Here's a close up. Can you tell????


After all the pieces came together, I added the orchids and candles that I had elsewhere in the house and purchased a great platter (is that the right word?) on super sale from Pottery Barn.


And here is the evolution of this room. I still really love the most recent look - the teal blue with the black table but as I said before, the table wasn't big enough and had been rehabbed so many times it was starting to fall apart. The blue geometric chairs were cute but totally impractical because you couldn't sit on them and squeeze under the end of the table.


After we moved back into the house (2014)




Before construction (2012)


During Construction (2013)


When we first moved in. (2005)

How it looked when we bought it (previous owners)

So there ya go! ANOTHER version of this room. Former versions are all pasted below. Let's hope it's the last, but I think we can all agree it won't be.

Sunday, September 4

Designing on the side.....of real life

From time to time, I stray from talking about design on this blog. It's usually when something major happens in my life and I need a place to vent. I have always found solace in writing and so after a few days of feeling really lonely and lost...I am turning again to writing with the hope that it will help me find a way forward.

OH MY GOSH...that sounds dramatic doesn't it? Seriously? Where is the funny, fluffy girl who talks about paint colors and perfect houses? She's here. Trust me. And she'll be back soon, I promise. But tonight, I want to talk about something tough.

Miscarriage.

Wait? What? Holy crap! You were pregnant? You were PREGNANT? Aren't you over 40? Yep. Don't you have...like a soon to be teenager? Uh huh! Were you guys trying? Heck no! Did you want it? Oh yeah. With all our hearts.

Here's the scoop. Frankly, it's been a crappy summer. My father in law is literally fighting for his life. A brilliant, faithful and young 68 year old otherwise healthy man is in a battling lung cancer and it has been truly devastating for our entire family. Mostly for him and for my mother in law who has been at his side for 47 years, but also for my husband and his sister who are navigating this awful journey with incredible strength. We all went to the beach together to try to get past the initial shock of his diagnosis and soaked our sorrows in a gorgeous ocean front hot tub (see previous post!) and more jalapeno margaritas than I can count. It was a great trip full of beautiful memories.

When we got back, I was late. I was pretty sure it was early menopause but I bought a pregnancy test at Target anyway and laughed at myself all the way home. Let's just say when the two little pink lines showed up on the test, I said my fair share of curse words and ran several laps around my house before I burst into tears and then hopped in the car to go buy five more tests. There was no question...I was preggers.

In total shock and denial and fear, I called my husband at work and waited for him to freak out. But he didn't. He was giddy and soon I was too. We couldn't wait for our kids to come home to tell them. Being the impulsive, passionate and trusting person that I am, it never occurred to me to wait. We had no problems with our first two pregnancies and I had no fear of issues this time. I had cute shirts made letting them know they were going to have a baby brother or sister (a bunch of you reading this just said Of course you did!). We recorded their reaction. We told our families and our close friends. The joy and genuine surprise was palpable. We started making plans.

And then this Tuesday at almost 11 weeks, in dramatic fashion that included a trip to the ER and a middle of the night surgery, it was over. No more pregnancy. No more baby. No more joy. A miscarriage. It was awful.

My biggest fear when I woke up from the anesthesia is what long term effect the news would have on our kids and everyone we told. I instantly regretted telling anyone. Why didn't I wait? Why do I always have to tell everyone EVERYTHING? Why am I even writing this dumb blog? Good question.

Despite the flowers, texts, calls, and all the comforting words I have heard this week, I have never felt so alone. And yet, here's the thing...since it happened, I have learned that at least five friends have gone through this exact thing. How on earth did I not know that? Why is miscarriage seemingly a secret? Why do we suffer alone?

If I'm guessing, it's because, like me, women who go through this feel a deep sense of guilt. Is there something else I could have done? Did I cause this to happen? Should I not have told anyone? For me personally, I wonder if I have made the situation in our family worse by telling them before we were sure it was going to be ok. Will my kids ever recover? And then there is this sense of weakness and failure which is especially hard for me.

I pride myself on being a tough chick. I keep saying I am ok. I keep telling myself that so many others have had to deal with this, and so much worse, that I just need to get over it. It doesn't seem like a totally legitimate reason to grieve. We never even heard the heartbeat. We weren't even trying to have a baby. We have two gorgeous, smart, healthy, athletic kids and a great life. Our marriage has never been stronger. We both have successful careers that we love. We have an incredible support system of family and friends who love us. I am ok. I must be ok. It's not that big of a deal.

And yet, I'm not. I am in a lot of physical pain and even more emotional. I woke up in the middle of the night last night sobbing and promptly got mad at myself for doing so. It's your hormones stupid....get over it. You have a soccer tournament to watch tomorrow. And I sat through that tournament in a ton of pain and misery, pretending like everything was fine. Catching up with friends I haven't seen all summer, repeating the line "Our summer was great! How was yours?"

And so, dear bloggy friends, here I am writing this tonight to put it out into the universe hoping that maybe by doing so, I will figure out how to stop faking it and really be ok. To give myself permission to be sad and in real pain a little longer. To reinforce what the doctor told me - that there's nothing I did to cause this. And to reiterate to myself what I already know, that my kids are resilient and amazing beings who will indeed recover. And I am putting it out there for all the other people who will go through this too one day. You are not alone. I have been where you are and it just plain sucks. Miscarriage should not require quiet suffering.

Life is a story and this is just one chapter for us. I know that I'll be able to look back and find a reason for this to have happened. And soon I'll be posting about finally finishing our dining room (yay!) and our plans for turning the basement into a man cave. Until then, I'm gonna keep letting the tears flow. I think I've earned it.

- Me