June 21, 2013

Dinner Date ~ Appareled Abode

This week's Appareled Abode is one I found a lot of fun.  I find designing fun all the time but this was especially fun because I was thinking I wanted to do a dinner date ensemble and decor, even if the dinner date is a fancy one in your own home. Those are sometimes the best ones!

I love the mixture of creams and golds with a pop of yellow. Very calm with a little unexpected of happy!  Of course you have to mix in a little texture.

This color scheme compliments all skin tones and with just a little candlelight the room would be radiant. Who doesn't look good in candle light? Even Jerry Seinfeld's "two faced" girlfriend could pull it off well! (Seinfeld fans will understand).

Dinner Date Apparel:

Dinner Date Abode:

Where to get the look:


First off I must state that I am obsessed with the shoes and they are on my wish list. Read that D? I would accept them for my birthday, Christmas (bday & Christmas combined) just because.  I digress....

In apparel design I mixed a bit  of high end and low end pieces. The room is a little more high end than low with all the pieces from Arteriors but their pieces never disappoint. (Little designer secret....Home Goods will randomly have some of their last season items so there is another excuse for you to make your weekly visit.) This room can easily be recreated with less expensive furniture and still get the same look. I have seen a table very similar to this at Jordan's furniture just last week. 

Every Friday I have a new Appareled Abode segment so make sure to check back! 
If you have a suggestion for an outfit or room you would like to see my create feel free to send me a message! 

Have a great weekend everyone!


June 20, 2013

Outdoor Living

Spring and summertime go by too quickly around New England and with only 4 full months to really enjoy the outdoors, we take advantage in every way possible. Derek and I try to eat outside at least 2 times a week (weather permitting of course). We have done quite a bit of work to our backyard as you may have seen on my previous post My (Not So Green) Thumb and we really want to enjoy it as much as we can.

I was working on a design board for one of my clients for a future construction project for their new pool that will be installed in the fall and I thought I would share one of the mock ups with you. I just love the table, rug and bar cart. All items in this board are listed below.
The pool is not the pool or the home but I wanted to give it that poolside feel so I added it into the design.  *Frenchie Not included.


June 19, 2013

Curly Hair Don't Care

We always want what we don't have, right. I don't mean in a materialistic way I mean in a, "what our mama gave us", kinda way. For example girls with a larger behind may wish it was smaller when girls with a smaller behind wish they had a little more "junk in the trunk", right?  Well the same rule applies to hair. The girls that have straight silky hair wish it were curly and full of volume when the opposite is true for girls like me. Curly hair can be unruly. That is why the straightening iron was invented and it is seriously one of the best beauty tools us girls have these days! My hair has been curly since the day I came out of the womb. Curly curly. My mother used to use an entire bottle of No More Tears on my hair just to brush it out and the only way she could style it was in pigtails or braids. Even then you would see the curls bing out like a slinky from the hair line.

Yes...this is me. Such a hot outfit for 1982.

So throughout my life this was a struggle. My hair wasn't just curly it was thick and very full so it was very hard to tame growing up. I used to use so much mousse and hairspray my hair was like a helmet it was so hard. 
As I got older, I learned through trial and error what products worked to help me have straight hair. It was a temporary fix.  Keratin never worked well for me (maybe it was the salon I went to but I lost interest) so I straighten my hair every other day. I blow it out and use a straightener with a protecting spray so that the damage is minimal.  It lasts for 3 days if I push it but all that heat dries out my hair so I have to wash and deep condition it. I still have a lot of breaking at the ends but that is a small price to pay for me to have smooth straight hair. I truly have it down to a science. So much so that a lot of people don't know my hair is naturally curly. 

Here it is straight. I swear I gain so much length with is straight.

The whole reason I am doing this post is because over this last week we had Derek's family in town Charleston and Paige (our cousin) has curly hair. It's beautiful. We discussed how hard it is for her to straighten it and that it is just easier for her to wear it curly. I was intrigued because I find it easier to wear it straight. So I asked her what she used because her curls were not frizzy and they were very defined. She said she used Cat Walk Curls Rock like this.

I thought that I should try that again. I thought I had tried it in the past because I feel I have tried every curl defining product on the market. My hair stylist had given me every product line he has for curly hair too.  Then looking it up to see what ingredients were.  I found it was very similar to a product I use every day..... Body Lotion. Yes. The lotion you slather onto your skin to help moisturize it. HELLO... that is perfect for course curly hair. So I grabbed my favorite body lotion and gave it a shot.

This stuff is the best. This happens to be Philosophies' Amazing Grace firming body emulsion version which I would not  recommend using all the time because it's a lot more money that the regular but it smells sooooo good and I already had it in my house so I decided to try this. I will be using  my CVS brand COCO butter moisturizer from now on.

I digress, so I tried it out and VOILA¡ It worked!

My curly frizzy hair was less curly and not frizzy plus it was oh so soft and smelt so good.  Us curly hair gals know we need a heavy conditioner or product to help weight the hair, this weighs it down but is still feels light and airy. Now this photo was taken at the end of a long day wearing it curly and half up but you can see the curls are still shaped (minus that strand hanging beside my face, that was up also).

I seriously can't believe after 30-ahem something years I finally found something to help tame my hair! My husband is thrilled because he LOVES when I wear my hair natural and I love that it's so easy. I will wear my hair straight most of the time because that is how I prefer it but I will say this is easy on a summer day or if I am rushing. 

So try it out! If you have curly hair and don't have a product you love try your body lotion and let me know what you think! I would love your feedback. Also if you have any other products you like for curly hair share those too! 


June 18, 2013

Happy Chic

I love great home decor finds on the cheap and I especially love when the decor finds are by some of the designers I love. The Happy Chic line Jonathan Adler created for JC Penney is exactly one of those fabulous finds.

JC Penney is revamping their look bringing fresh, new and modern designs to their store in the home decor end. I have always liked their off the shelf window treatments but they have really hit the mark by bringing in Jonathan Adler.  His bright and cheery designs fill the pages of some very prestigious design magazines but those designs also come with a price tag to match. Now you can get the same look for a lot less. It's like being a baller on a budget!

Here are just some the items I am loving from his line.

I recommend perusing the site. You'll be inspired by the bold colors and patterns of Jonathan Adler's design. 

"A chic home makes you happy and a happy home makes you chic" Jonathan Adler


June 17, 2013

This Past Week In Review...

This past week has been a busy one. It hadn't left much time for me to blog but it was nice to have a little vacation. The southerner's came to visit us from South Carolina and ya'll did we have a good time!

When I say "the southerners" I am referring to Derek's cousins. They live just outside Charleston South Carolina and boy did they bring a lot of fun up to Boston this week!  The weather hadn't panned out as we had hoped but we did get a few good 80 degree weather days.  Wednesday was the perfect day to spend in Boston. Derek and I took in the fun of being tourists, even in our own city. 

We had some lunch on Newbury Street and once we had our bellies full, we had our energy for the next 3 hours of shopping. We walked Newbury Street for a few hours and then the guys ditched us to go enjoy some sangria (there is only so much shopping Derek will do) as we continued onto Copley. Once our shopping excursion was over we hit the original and famous Boston Duck Tour. 

Boston from the Charles River on our Duck Tour.

 Then on Friday we had a Baran / Robinson Family Lobster Bake at our house. Derek went diving for lobsters during the day (we did a little more shopping) and when we returned they had just arrived home ready to start cooking.

George investigating a lobster for the first time. 

We mixed corn, mussels, little neck clams, sausage, potatoes, oranges, lemons and of course lobster into the 6 gallon pot and let it cook. There was one other recipe but it's a Baran family secret so I can divulge ;)

This the the Lobster Bake when it was done and ready to eat!

A photo of the ladies. L to R. Melissa, Margaret, Dawn, Page, Julie & I enjoying a glass of wine before the feast ( thanks for sharing the photo Paige!)

 Saturday was our day out on Day's Off.  We piled 11 of us onto Frank and Margaret's boat and hit the water. We went to Gloucester, down the Annisquam river, back out into the ocean into Salem to pick up some more family that were in from Florida and then to Marblehead for dinner.

So beautiful out on the water.

Sailboats sailing around Baker's Island

George passed out in my arms.

The Baran/Robinson Clan all together in Marblehead Harbor after a delicious dinner! Photo courtesy of Melissa :)
We had such a wonderful week ya'll!


June 7, 2013

Appareled Abode - A Touch Of Leopard

Happy Friday!  Phew, it's almost the weekend!  What a crazy busy week it has been! I must say I do like being busy but I don't think there is one night this week I stopped working before midnight. I am not one to sleep much anyway but I am definitely going to try to sleep in a little at some point this weekend. By sleep in I mean 8:00am. It's supposed to rain here in Boston and that's the best time to snuggle up in bed so I am secretly hoping we do get a little rain.

One of the projects I will be working on this weekend is based on a very neutral decor. My client's love browns and creams with gold accents (I must say I love that combo too, duh!) I love when I have clients that know exactly what they want. It makes it fun because they really can get involved in the process.  I am using their color palette as inspiration to create my Appareled Abode segment for this week.

I created the outfit based on something I would wear out with the girls, to dinner with my husband and even to a client meeting. It's very versatile. I do take my chances with white pants every single time I wear them but hey, that's what bleach is for! Just keep the red wine away! I am seriously a magnet for stains. No joke.



I am loving this neutral color combo. I picture it in a room with lots of windows and natural light with linen panels and espresso hardwood floors. (I adore the little bulldog statue).

Apparel: Top | Jeans | Shoes | Bag | Bracelet | Earrings | Rings | Necklace | Sunglasses | Belt

See, neutrals don't have to be blah and boring when it comes to decor & fashion. When in doubt just add a pop of color with fresh flowers or a bright lipstick :)

Enjoy your weekend everyone! Get inspired and Design Your Life!


June 6, 2013

Fresh Surroundings

Are you feeling blah about your home's decor and interior? I find that many people choose springtime to fix up their home and give it a fresh new look. You may put it off because you don't feel your budget will allow you to change up your space or you just don't have the time to put into it. I am here to show you it  really is very easy to do and without hurting your wallet, you can make some big changes to your home.

1. Clean

This is the most tedious but necessary step you can make.  Go room by room and take everything off your surfaces. You must dust all wood, wipe down all glass and mirrors with a good glass cleaner and vacuum. When you vacuum don't just vacuum around the furniture...move the furniture and get all the gritty dust and crumbs that have found their way into the small crevices (I am sure you'll find some change too).
Make sure you wipe down all your baseboards and doorway moldings with a wet towel. It will give that coat of trim paint a fresh clean look.

2. Put Accessories Back..with caution

The accessories you had on the coffee table, dining room table, and end tables need to be put back but which ones? I recommend only keeping on display the items that visually appeal to the room. If you have a picture in a frame out that you really don't like or a bowl of potpourri that hasn't released the scent in months, don't put it back. It will just take up space and frustrate you. That goes for magazines too. Recycle them! Only keep the ones you haven't read yet. If you are holding onto magazines because there was a great article or recipe in it you wanted to keep then tear out that page and place it in a folder.

3. Restyle Your Space

Go into other rooms in your home. Do you have a vase that would look great in the family room or on the dining room table but it's in a bedroom where it just collects dust? Move it! Same rule applies to furniture. An Armoire in a bedroom may hold clothes that you don't wear anymore, donate those clothes and use that Armoire to hold linens in a bathroom. This would also work for a burrow you have that is old and too large for a bedroom. Paint it the color of your choice that matches your decor and place it behind a sofa as a sofa table. It will give you more storage too!

4. Purchase New Decorative Pillows

Throw pillows are one of the easiest ways to update a room. You can bring in different colors, new patterns and even add lots of texture with just a few new throw pillows! Mix and match prints.
Not sure where to get new pillows? Well, your in luck! I make custom pillows and you can find them here with an array of colors and patterns available.

5. Replace Your Area Rug

Area rugs tend to stay stagnant in rooms for years, overstaying their welcome and really giving the room a drowning feeling. When purchasing an area rug for a dining room or living room space make sure the size is right. For dining room rugs you want to make sure the rug is large enough so that when all chairs are pulled out they are still on the rug. I usually suggest an 8x10 or 8x11 size for most rectangular tables. If you have a round table I would say 6"in diameter would be the smallest you should go. For living rooms it can be vastly different. If you just want the rug to sit under the coffee table then I would suggest a 5x8 but if you want it to ground your sofa area and make a bigger impact in the space then 8x10 or larger is your best bet. 
Pick a rug that has movement or texture but it's not overwhelming. One that compliments the colors of the room and will give the space a fresh bright look.

6. Give Your Bedroom A New Duvet or Comforter

A fresh set of sheets is the best thing for your bedroom. Clean, cozy and a whole new look to the room. I tend to lean towards duvet covers more so than comforters because you can interchange them each season if you want and they fold up nicely for storage when you aren't using them. Best part is you can wash them in your own washer and dryer! Anyone with a king size comforter that needs to constantly bring it to the Laundromat or dry cleaners knows what I am talking about..such a pain!
I like solid covers in brightly painted rooms &  vivid color in neutral rooms.  If you use a solid cover make sure you use patterned pillows and vice verse. 

7. New Paint

I know it's hard to paint your entire house and who really does that? Over time, yes but unless you are doing a complete remodel/ redesign or moved into a new home no one is painting their entire house at once. Most of my clients paint 3 rooms at a time and work their way from there. I suggest giving your main living spaces a fresh coat of paint. When I say fresh coat, I don't mean the same color you had it before...change it up. It doesn't have to be a bold red or green but you can add some color or take color away. There are so many beautiful paint colors out there. Neutrals are great if you aren't sure or afraid to take a risk.  Maybe base your paint off the new pillow covers you are going to get! Find a color you love and go for it!

8. Stay Organized

I recommend baskets and storage items for every room in the house.  Keep your kitchen cabinets and drawers organized with separators, shelving stackers and bins for the fridge. Closets can be neatly kept with no slip, slim hangers. Do you have a spot where all the mail goes? Get a nice basket and make that the place where the unopened mail goes instead of having it all over the newly organized tables. I am not saying you have to be Martha Stewart or be neurotic about it but if everything has a place then your home won't get cluttered so easily.

9. Last Step....Put out some fresh flowers

They are always an immediate mood booster!

I hope this gave you some guidance. Believe me, once you take these steps to clean up your home you will love your surroundings.  It will feel like a new home but your home and it doesn't take lots of money to do. All designing can be done on a budget. My advice, take your time. Decide exactly what you want your space to be and feel like. If you don't know where to begin don't worry just take the first step and clean up the house and that will get you motivated to do the rest. If you are too busy and really don't have time you should invest in a designer/decorator. I happen to know one ;) So when in doubt call me! 


June 5, 2013


Just like in designing a room, the little details can make a big statement as can the right piece of jewelry to an outfit. I am always in search of great new pieces. I love big jewelry as well as dainty pieces. I mix trendy with classic pieces. I mean who doesn't like a nice set of studs?

These are a few of my favorite pieces right now. Some I have and others I have on my wish list (hint hint Derek if you are reading this).  Of course all my favorites are gold :)

1. |  2. |  3. |  4. |  5. |  6. |  7. |  8. |  9. 

I die over this Tom Ford Bracelet...I mean it's only  $1,930.... You have to call to order it so I can't even put the link up. I immediately start singing "You fancy huh?" when I see this beauty.

I did settle for this little number though. I love the wishbone. It's really dainty.

So as you can see I love gold (white and yellow but mainly yellow right now) and I am really gravitating towards blush, emerald and other shades of green this season when it comes to bobbles. I am into layering necklaces and bracelets and will always love my hoop earrings, they are a staple!

What style jewelry are you loving for Spring/Summer 2013? 

On a side note. Have you checked out Glossy Blonde blog? Niki is a friend that I have known since our days at NAHS (I mean where does the time go?) and we have reconnected through blogging. I am so happy to have gotten back in touch with her. Niki is such a great girl and really has some great tips and styling on her blog. She even has a  YouTube channel where she has recipes, monthly favorites and hauls. Who doesn't like a good haul? She models some great outfits and the best thing about it is her husband takes all her fashion pics. Gotta love love! Check her out and keep your eye out for her on my Appareled Abode segment soon!

Speaking of Appareled Abode, I got the copyright and am thrilled.


June 4, 2013

Off The Rack

A big item when designing a space for a client is their window treatments. Window treatments can make or break the lighting in a room and the feel of the space. The wrong window treatment can give the wrong impression too so it is very important you pick the right treatment for the space.

There is a lot of concern when it comes to cost. Although the economy is slowly rising, many people are still very cautious when it comes to spending money on their home and honestly I can't blame them. Although my style of design is mixing high and low, many people want the look of a high end room on a smaller budget. It's not impossible, you just need to know where to cut. Window treatments are one place to start.

Just like paint, panels can easily be changed out when the decor changes so why spend lots of money when you can get a custom look without the custom price tag.

Here are a few of my favorite off-the-shelf window treatments.

The price range can vary on any panel. I also love searching Home Goods for a great panel. Whatever your style or budget there are really great options available now.

Window treatments are a great way to add texture and a print to an otherwise bland space. When searching for a solid panel I always recommend a twill, cotton or linen. It will give lots of definition and they hang the best. Another trick if you have shorter ceilings and an 84" standard length panel will be too long, check out shower curtains! They come in many different fabrics now and are 72x72 so they are wider than most panels (54") and they will fit perfectly in those smaller spaces.