a study in CONTRASTS »

Masthead header

Everyday Sequins

I bought this skirt at Express in the spring, before it was warm enough to really wear it & it was killing me waiting for it to warm up. Even though it’s covered in sequins, it’s super comfortable & not heavy at all. I wanted to keep it casual, so I threw it on with my favorite chambray shirt from J.Crew. My friend Hollie & I both have this shirt (total coincidence) & agree that it’s perfection. I just looked on their site & didn’t see this exact one anymore, but I’m guessing their latest version is equally great. Definitely splurge worthy. Now if only I would’ve ironed it…..

Skirt - Express  |  Shirt – J.Crew (similar) | Shoes – Bamboo (last year) | Clutch – H&M | Ring – BaubleBar | Watch – Anthropologie | Necklace – Francesca’s – (no longer available, here’s a similar style at Bauble Bar)

Stephanie O'Connor - Love! Love your style!

APRIL - @Stephanie – Thanks! Likewise :)

Hollie - Aah!! so happy to see this, now why don’t I own that skirt too?

Kid (or adult) Made Modern

I’ve loved Todd Oldham ever since I used to watch him on House of Style waaaaaay back when. His stuff is just so fun & colorful, as is he. When I heard that Target (everyone’s favorite) was teaming up with him to release a line of art supplies called Kid Made Modern, I flipped. I have his Kid Made Modern book & love it so I figured his art kits would be equally great. Thankfully, I was right. They’re so great, that I bought probably 75% of them. Crazy, right? Most of the kits/supplies were for Jack & Finn, but I bought a couple for myself. The first one that I decided to tackle was the Charlie Harper wooden birds painting kit. I’m not really very coordinated with a paintbrush, but I still had fun with this. Is it perfect? Nah, but it was fun & relaxing, so I consider it a win. They’ve replenished a lot of their online stock, so I highly recommend checking it out. The paint-by-numbers kits are fantastic, and my personal favorite is definitely the Comic Book kit. SO cool. Oh & the different tapes they have are super fun as well. Now do you see why I couldn’t pick just a couple? Plus, just check out the great boxes that they come in. Yeah, I’m a sucker for good packaging & this stuff is top-notch.

Hollie - Beautiful photos! as usual. My kids loved the paint by number too. I wish I had the birds to paint! So cute.

APRIL - Thanks, Hollie! The birds were actually available online the other day, believe it or not!

Jen - That line is the best, isn’t it? I think your bird looks perfect!

Inside My House – Living Room

Next up on my home tour… my living room & let me tell you, there’s a lot of living that goes on in here. This is the room that we spend the majority of our time in. For that reason, it’s always an evolving work in progress. What you see is the latest version (minus the cardboard box that my kids have been playing in for the past week), but I’m sure it’ll look slightly different next month. I try to change out the toys that we have down here to keep it interesting for Jack & Finn. We used to have a coffee table in here, but with all of the tumbling & wrestling that goes on in a house with 2 boys (& a playful husband) it seemed safer for everyone if it went away for awhile. Even though it’s usually a little crazy looking, this has always been my favorite room in the house, well, until the bathroom came along, that is. The only thing that I’d change is the wall color. This was the very first room that we tackled when we moved in & my tastes have changed a ton since then. I’d love for it to be grey instead of tan, but it would be an overwhelming task to repaint this room, what with the bookshelves and all. So, tan it is & tan it shall stay! Ok, I’d also change the denim couch, but I’ll be honest, it’s the perfect couch to have in a house with kids. It looks better with some wear on it & it washes up beautifully. Once Jack & Finn get older, though, I will definitely be investing in something new!

This is one of my most favorite things in the whole house. It’s from IKEA & although I think it’s still available in black, they stopped making the yellow quite awhile ago. It’s the one piece of furniture that I’m terrified of something happening to because I have no idea how I’d repair it. That being said, this probably isn’t the safest room for it to live. Oh well….

Another of my favorite things is this light fixture from Pottery Barn. It replaced an ugly old ceiling fan & it makes me happy, happy, happy every time I look at it. It was a total pain to hang, but now that it’s up, it was totally worth it. Two of the bulbs have recently burnt out, so I’m on a quest to find replacements. Fingers crossed! On a side note, I’ve had that map of South America since I was a kid. It’s hung in every house we’ve ever lived in & people have always asked why I have a map of South America on my wall. It’s pretty funny to me that they’re in style now. My bookcase is getting unreasonably full. The plan is to buy two more & place them where the kitchen play set is. I just have to have a day to spare to drive to IKEA & pick them up. Much easier said than done…

And finally, our “famous” gallery wall. When we had our family pictures taken, the picture of us reading on the couch, with this wall behind us, was pinned & repinned on Pinterest a crazy amount of times. It was pretty surreal. This wall took probably 2 years to completely be at the stage that it is now. Most of the frames are ones that we had just lying around in the basement/attic. I ordered some Montana Gold spray paint from Dick Blick & went to town. I added in some wood, white & metal frames along with some canvas prints & mirrors to keep it from being too colorful. Not that this is sedate, but it’s less crazy than it could be. I was going insane trying to decide what pictures to put in the frames so I decided to get some colorful paper to put in them as placeholders. If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m not a huge fan of the papers, but they do the job for now. Also, they’re all hung straight, but I used a wide-angle lens to take this picture so it looks like they’re not straight at all. Didn’t want you to question Dustin’s excellent picture hanging skills;)

Since this room was the first room that we did, I didn’t get a chance to take any before pictures until it was under way. This is what 3 of the 4 walls looked like. That’s a tiny floral print on the wallpaper, in case you were wondering. On the fourth wall? A cream & burgundy toile pattern. Yeah.

Jen - I’m in love with your windows. So much beautiful natural light. *le sigh*

The whole room is gorgeous!

Aubrey - Love all the wonderful pops of colour throughout this room, it makes me happy just looking out it. Totally want to covet that light fixture as well!!!

APRIL - Thank you guys so much!

Lemon Crush

 

 

I saw this Zara jacket on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago & had to have it. I’m not normally prone to rash purchases of such substantial items, but I bought it right away. I’ve learned by now that if I see something I like through Pinterest to not take too long thinking about it or it’ll be gone. It’s so ladylike in both color & fabric that I knew I had to toughen it up a little, although the awesome zippers already help with that by themselves. So, I threw on a pair of my old ripped jeans & voila! Tougher indeed. The wedges are another Zara find (yes, I might be obsessed with Zara) & they’re pretty great with one caveat. While comfortable & easy to walk in on flat surfaces, they’re nearly impossible to walk in on uneven surfaces such as carpet, gravel or old sidewalks like the one I’m standing on here. I almost bit it a few times but luckily Dustin was there to help me out. He also helped me out by taking these pictures. Such a nice guy, right?

Details:

Blazer – Zara

Top – Francesca’s

Jeans - Gap (similar)

Wedges – Zara

Sunglasses – Ray-Ban

Rings – H&M (in-store only)

Lipstick – Nars in Schiap

Earrings – Renegade Handmade, sadly no longer in business, but the craft fair is still alive & well!

Nail Polish – Color Club in Age of Aquarius (I received this in my Birchbox sample box that I blogged about in April)

Gail - Are you freaking KIDDING ME?!!! HOT HOT HOT!!!

Tina - You look AMAZING in this outfit! I wish I had one tenth your sense of style:)

Hollie - I’m blown away!! You’re a natural! You look awesome!

Misty - I love it?! You look so AWESOME and take GREAT pictures! Very sweet of your hubby to help you out..good job Dustin!

APRIL - Well, you guys are awesome. You totally know how to make a girl feel special :)

@Tina – Puh-lease. I’ve seen your cute outfits on Instagram, you can’t fool me!

@Misty – Wasn’t that nice of him?

Jen - GORGEOUS!

Brown Paper Packages

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most crafty person in the world. I mean, I like to do little things here & there, but overall, it’s just not me. However, something I do love to do is wrap presents. I just think it’s fun to give people something that’s really beautiful. Of course, don’t let this post fool you, I love traditional wrapping paper & ribbons, I just thought I’d try something different out this time around. I had this vision of kraft paper wrapped up with lots of yarn & here’s how I went about turning that idea into something tangible.

Step 1 – Find a great gift! My friend Gail recently found out she was expecting & considering she’s quite the world traveler & a voracious reader, getting her these books was a no-brainer. We have the New York version here & I absolutely love it. I gave Gail Rome, Paris, London & San Francisco, but there are even more titles, including the Moon. So great.

Step 2 – Find some fun yarn. Probably my favorite part of the whole job;)

Step 3 – Wrap your gift & tie it up with the yarn in a simple knot. I actually ended up using a kraft paper bag because the store was out of rolls of paper. It had it’s quirks, but ultimately, it worked just fine.

Step 4 – Make a pretty bow. This was actually how the present first turned out. It looked just fine, but I wanted something more fun. So, I decided to try something else.

Step 5 – Try another bow, er… pompom. Ah, there, that’s better. Look below for how I made this super easy pom. Seriously, it took about 2 minutes. It doesn’t really get much better than that, right?

There are few different ways to make a pom, but I just did it this way & it actually seemed the easiest. First, I wrapped a ton of yarn around a postcard. If you want a smaller pom, just use a smaller rectangle of some type of stiff paper/board.

Then, just fold the paper in half & slide the yarn off.

Next, slide a piece of yarn under your pom & center it. Then, just tie it all together. Finally, trim the loops & voila! A great big pom! I mean, c’mon, how easy was that? Just use the excess from the piece of yarn to tie it to the middle of your gift & you’re all set.

Tina - I LOVED the pom pom wrapping! So cute, and she LOVED your gift:)

Gail - OOOHHHHH April. I loved this gift so so SO much. It’s already a top contender for best baby gift I’ll receive. You are such a wonderful friend and, even more, so incredibly THOUGHTFUL for knowing how much these books have always meant to my little travel-loving heart.

Love you to Sasek’s Moon and back!!! xoxoxo

APRIL - Thanks, guys! I had fun making it & it makes me so happy to know how much you loved & appreciated the books, Gail. I love giving gifts :)

Maya - What a perfect gift for Gail! Loving your photography on this blog too April!!!

Happy Friday! - […] Kickin’ up brown paper packages tied up with string. […]

Amanda - perfect gift wrapping idea, i always seam to be late for a birthday party with no wrapping paper in the house… but we do have a crazy stock of brown paper bags on yarn! great blog
thanks