a study in CONTRASTS »

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Bedroom – The Final After

Two years ago I posted before pictures of our bedroom. A year and a half ago, I posted the mood board. A year ago, I posted a sneak peek. This year, I’m going to finally show you the finished product! I mean, seriously. Who takes two years to complete a project? To be fair, I have had a baby since then, so life’s been a little crazy. Next week, I’ll do a full before and after, showing pictures from what the house looked like when we first moved in, but for today, I’ll just show you this one before shot, just to give you an idea of what we walked into when we bought this house.


Now listen. I know that this isn’t a fair “before” picture, but it’s all that I have. We were getting ready to remove the wallpaper (note the steamer on the floor) when I realized that I should probably get a couple of pictures of the room before we took it down. We hadn’t decorated it one bit, it’s night, and I’m using flash. Still though, you get the idea, right?

Ok and nowwwwwww the after…. TA DA!


Simplify, simplify, simplify.

I made these canvases for Dustin for Valentine’s Day last year. They’re the lyrics to our wedding song, “Thank You” by Led Zeppelin.


I’d searched for what felt like forever to find the right lighting. The tables (similar here) that I ended up with are really small (too small, if I’m being honest here) & there really wasn’t room for a lamp. Plus, there was still wall space that really needed filled. Every time I searched for pendant lamps though, they were either the wrong style or wayyyyy too expensive. Then, voila! Enter these babies from Urban Outfitters. Unfortunately, I just checked & they don’t carry them any more. Bummer.  I actually painted the flowerpot on the right, believe it or not. It’s just a cheapie terra cotta pot that I painted pink then added a gold triangle using painters tape and some Martha Stewart gold paint. I painted the one on the left too, I’ve just never got around to adding a design. Also, after looking at these pictures, I realize now that I need a new light switch cover. Ignore it, ok?:)


The awesome pillows are from Goods by Grinn, which I’ve just discovered is now called Stay & Co, & I think they’re just the most fun. On a side note, if you know where that phrase is from, congratulations, we’re now BFF’s. The bed is from Pottery Barn & it’s one of the fanciest things we own. I love that when I want more color in there someday I can just paint it. How fun will that be?


This chair. Oh man. Ok, so I originally bought this massive, darker wicker, peacock chair that was also much more ornate. It’s gorgeous & it was a good price. Plus, I hadn’t seen any around here, so I grabbed it up instantly. Two weeks later, I find this one for less than half the price. It’s small size and lighter color work so much better for this space. So, if you know someone looking for a peacock chair, well, let’s just say I know someone who might have one to sell. On a side note, if that poor little fiddle leaf fig there is still alive come spring, it’ll be a miracle. I killed two last year when winter came along, so we’ll see if I can save this one. Fingers crossed! The basket that the plant is in is from Target (similar here & here, although they did have the same one in stock at my Target).


The felt balls strung up on the windows are from Hello Maypole. I made that garland myself too. Maybe I’m crafty after all!


Alright, here’s the reason why this room hadn’t been posted yet. These dressers. I bought them with the intention of painting them. They’re the perfect size & I just can’t justify buying new ones. Although I just saw this on West Elm’s Instagram today & about died. Anyway, back to reality. If I’m being completely honest with myself, there’s no way I’m ever going to have time to paint these. At least not until Matilda’s in school. So, I finally decided to just suck it up and show it to you with them as is. I want to get a big canvas printed to hang above the dresser. There’s a picture from our vow renewal that I just love and I think it’ll be perfect there.


This Land of Nod lamp was supposed to go on the bedside table, but the design was too similar to the shape of the table, plus they were just too big for the table too. So, one went on the dresser and one ended up in my office. I’m definitely not complaining. The LOVE print is from Made by Girl & it’s just so great, you guys. That’s our wedding invitation in the gold frame & the flower crown from The Scalloped Window is what I wore for our vow renewal. Isn’t it pretty? I should wear it all the time.


Alright, that’s it for now. I’ll show you the full transformation from before to in between to now here soon. I promise.

Gail - This is INSANE. As in, insanely awesome. Incredible!

Patience B - Where did you get the Thank You artwork??!! I need that above our bed asap! absolutely love the way its scripted and placed on the three canvases.

Behind the Scenes

With fall heading our way, the sun’s going down earlier and earlier each night. Ergo, I’m having to start taking pictures earlier in the evening. No biggie, right? WRONG. I happen to have three kids who think it’s super cool to “help” or something along those lines. Sometimes it’s fun, like when I had Finn hang out with me on the sunrise post & also help with the coffee bar post. But, when it’s 45 minutes before bedtime? Well, things get a little tricky. Here are a few outtakes from last weeks post

It all started out great. I was able to use Finn to test the light & he thought it was fun to pose with the (oft-repaired) Minecraft pickaxe. He’d already changed into half of his pajamas, in case you’re wondering about his attire.


So, I thought to myself, “Sure. This could be cute. Let’s do it, Finn!” Then he decided to have a seat & just stare at the camera.


Finally he decided to move his cute little booty & we were in business. Untillllll he almost took out my camera. Game over. He was sent inside to brush his teeth.


If you look closely in the window there, you’ll see the blur of a screaming 18 month old. She’s a total Daddy’s Girl, but for some reason, she really wanted to hang with me that night. Maybe she was jealous that she didn’t get to show off her outfit.


Soooo… lesson apparently not learned, I thought I’d let her come out and make her blog debut. So far so good, right?


WRONG. Again. Not only did she decide to make the craziest of faces, but our dog, Max, decided to get in on the action too. SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS?!?!??? Obviously, the picture on the right shows she’s over it. About 30 seconds after I brought her outside. No exaggeration.


I don’t have any pictures of it, but Jack called me over “Hurry!” to see a grasshopper family. “Look! The mommy is giving the baby a ride on it’s back!” Pretty sure that was a daddy, not a baby, but I kept that knowledge to myself. So, yeah. Basically photo shoots are about to get more interesting around here. Maybe I can bribe them with candy……

Mix it Up

I love pattern mixing. Like, really, really, love it. I think it can take something a little boring & make it more interesting. Not only that, but it can help give an outfit depth. Could I have worn a solid color shirt with this skirt? Absolutely. I have, as a matter of fact. But it always felt “meh” whenever I did. After I bought this shirt, I realized that it could work great with this skirt. I tried them on together and Boom! a new outfit was born. Day totally made. If you’ve never mixed prints before, this outfit is a great example of a baby-step. Both pieces are the same colors, not only that, but the colors are really subdued as well. Except for my screaming yellow purse & earrings, the accessories are simple and neutral. Let your prints do all the work for you:)

For years, I’ve loved the celebrity fashion site Go Fug Yourself. One of my favorite statements of The Fug Girls is, “Everyone looks better in sunglasses”. Agreed, ladies.



Do I always match my earrings to my bag? Only when it’s this awesome. Speaking of this completely insane, but awesome, bag, it was a recent find from TJMaxx. Rebecca Minkoff. Clearance rack. Yes. (In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have used my yellow front door in a post with this purse. Too late now)


I look angry here. I’m not. Although getting these pictures was an exercise in patience what with three kids and a dog trying to get in on the action. Anywho, the lipstick here is from the always fantastic Nars, specifically, Schiap. Perfect name for a perfect color.


I added the belt to help define my waist. It tends to get lost sometimes. Oh, let’s be honest, I think I really lost it somewhere around 2006 after I had Jack.


This skirt was made to twirl.


Shoes off. Shoot over. Time to go put some kids to bed….



Shirt – Target (They’re sold out online in the blue, but they have an olive version and also a red plaid that I’m in love with. If you love the print, here it is in a popover style)

Skirt – JCPenney (old. Here’s one that’s at Target though. It’s black and white & a different material, but it’s the same idea. I may actually go grab it myself. Shhhh….)

Belt – So old that I have no clue. Sorry :/

Shoes – Payless (old. I couldn’t find a replacement, but if you were to go with the Target skirt, these Zara shoes could be fun.)

Earrings – Target (old, but here’s another bright button style. They’re more traditional than my spikes, but really cute)

Eyeliner -Maybelline Master Kajal in Onyx Rush

Mascara – DiorShow in Catwalk Black

Eyeshadow – Stila in Kitten

Lipstick – Nars in Schiap

Bag – Rebecca Minkoff via TJMaxx

Sunglasses – Target

Can’t Touch This

Hammer pants, Harem pants, whatever you want to call them, I bought a pair. I actually bought them right before I was pregnant with Matilda & never had a chance to wear them. I remember being doubtful when I bought them & then thought, “Oh, why not?!” I’ll be honest, I’m still doubtful. They’re pretty comfy though, so at the very least, they’re a stylish alternative to sweatpants. They’re also a verrrrry low-key version of this style, so that helps make it a little less scary. Their biggest drawback is actually the fact that they’re a silky material that’s really staticky. Staticky pants = not good. The first time I tried them, I wore them with an ivory crop top. Don’t worry, it was the loose kind that ends at the waistband, not a skin-baring one. I mean, give me some credit here. It looked great, but I was couldn’t figure out how to lift my arms without showing skin. It probably goes without saying, but if you have three kids, you need to be able to lift your arms. So, I pulled out one of my favorite shirts of the summer, my New York tee from Madewell, and it was perfect. The tee was a big splurge for me, but the minute I tried it on, I knew I couldn’t leave without it. I’ve worn it so many times, that it’s definitely paid for itself. Don’t you love when that happens?

On a totally random note, I tried something different photographically with these pictures. Normally, I like to shoot with the sun behind me or to the side, preferably in open shade. For some reason, I decided I wanted to play around with me facing the setting sun. It’s definitely a different look than I normally go for, but it really made the graphics on the pants pop, so that’s fun.



Every summer it seems like I have a new go-to hairstyle. Ponytails are always a classic, but it’s nice to feel like you put a little extra effort into you hair, even if it’s something that only took 30 seconds longer than a ponytail. Last year was the side braid that wrapped around the back of my head. This summer is the year of the milkmaid braids. Two braids on either side, pull them across you head, pin in place & voila! Instant “hairstyle”.


These sunglasses were a spur of the moment purchase from Anthropologie last winter. I’m kind of obsessed with them. The lipstick (subtle that it is) was recommended by my cousin, Aquila, who just so happens to run an amazing blog called Haute in Texas. She’s tall & gorgeous & a talented writer. What more could you ask for in a blogger? Definitely check her out when you get a minute! Anyway, the lipstick. It’s Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon. It goes on smooth & is a nice, subtle color. Also? It’s only about $6. Score!





Sunglasses – Komono (I just saw that the style name is Urkel. Ugh.)

Shirt – Madewell (sold out, but here are their latest graphic tees)

Necklace – Stella & Dot

Pants – Mango for JCPenney (sold out)

Shoes – Target (sold out)

Lipstick – Revlon (I bought mine at Target, but here’s an Ulta link)


Aquila - Oh wow, thanks so much for the shout out! Glad you like the lipstick! Love this look so much, you rock so many different styles so well!

APRIL - You’re so welcome, Aquila! Thanks for the sweet words. I really do love your blog, so I hope everyone checked it out!

Coffee Bar Command Center

A couple of years ago, Jack & I bought Dustin a Keurig for Christmas. The plan was for him to take it to his office, but, well, that never happened. Up until that point, I wasn’t a big coffee drinker. It was such a pain to measure everything out, just for the one, maybe two cups that I was going to drink. Once the Keurig came into my life though, it was a completely different story. It’s perfect for someone who only drinks a cup or two a day. Add that to the fact that I found the perfect creamer & it was a life changer. I wish so much that I could drink my coffee black, but it’s just so gross. I’m working on it though! I use half as much creamer as I used to, so I’m on my way. After trying to figure out counter space & trying to find the perfect space for everything coffee related (Dustin still uses a real coffeemaker most of the time), I finally came up with the idea of setting up a sort of coffee bar area. I love having everything right there within reach. Once we hung up the pegboard and put all of our mugs on it, it was perfection. We have a bulletin board right next to it (that I keep swearing I’m going to paint) where I keep all of the current need-to-know info & it’s made my life so much easier than having everything pinned to the limited space on our refrigerator. Hooray for organization!


I’m going to have to beg you to ignore my crazy floor. It’s one of the last things that we need to replace in this house. We actually found this cabinet in the loft of our barn when we lived in Michigan. A few coats of paint & some new knobs & it was good to go. It used to live in my office, until I decided to steal it for the kitchen.

I love, love, love this vintage Coffee Break mug that I found on Etsy. The bottom of the mug, on the inside, reads “Now Back to Work”. It’s adorable. Unfortunately, it’s too small for even the smallest setting on the Keurig. So, it gets to hold my fun gold spoons from Furbish (I couldn’t find them on their site, but maybe they’ll be back soon). I’m also a sucker for all of the special travel mugs that Starbucks does. The Band of Outsiders one with the paint drips is especially great. It’s gone online, but you may still be able to find one in an actual store.

Finn loves to help make coffee. Finn is the reason I need coffee.

Mugs. So many mugs. Dustin once threatened to divorce me if I brought home one more mug. Then, I came up with the pegboard idea & saved our marriage;)

I just need Finn to get a little taller so that I don’t have to assist him when it comes to coffee making. Then I need to train him to bring it to me in bed. Baby steps. Oh & those last two pictures? Once he’s pressed the button, he yells “Go, go go!” & jumps down into my arms. It’s fun.

Jen - That peg board turned the mug collection into a wicked cool art installation! Love the coffee bar idea. I wonder if I could find a space to do that in our home. Hmm… Thinking….

Dustin - First pillows… Then lamps… NOW coffee mugs!!

APRIL - Thanks, Jen! I really love the way it looks. Plus, it clears out cabinet space. Double win! Our coffee bar is in a small corner that would’ve gone unused anyway because it’s in a weird spot. Hopefully you can find a place for one!

APRIL - You forgot shoes ;)

Sunshine Fromkin - Hi there! I love your coffee bar! I’m trying to figure out how to store and display my Starbucks mugs collection and I think your peg board idea will be perfect. I have a couple questions for you:

1. What did you use to attach the peg board to the wall?
2. Did you attach it directly flush to the wall, or was it necessary to affix it to something else first and then attach that to the wall? (Like, is it difficult to hang the hooks/mugs with the peg board flush to the wall?)

Thank you so much!