Sunday, May 30, 2010

A time to remember

I know I have been neglecting my little blog lately. Unfortunately, there have been some difficult things going on in my life, and the lives of people that are very dear to me. I want this blog to be a place that is a breath of fresh air, so I don't always talk about the difficult things. But friends, sometimes life is just hard.

However, I believe in a God who is sovereign over all, and He is still working in our broken world. And for that, I am thankful.

I hope and pray that you all have a good Memorial Day weekend, spending time with friends and family and basking in the beautiful Summer sun. I will hopefully be back soon with some more DIY projects and fun stuff.

Friday, May 28, 2010

a day in blurry photos

A mid-morning snack.

A pair of earrings re-discovered.

Soft gray leather kitten heels.

It's Friday, and my mind is everywhere but here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A sweet summer makeover

Well, it seems that Summer is finally upon us! Even though it is only May, the temperature (and humidity) has been steadily rising.

With the bright, sunny weather outside, our bedroom was starting to look a little bleak. In order to bring it out of the winter doldrums, I decided to make some summery changes!

In case you don't remember what it USED to look like, here's a little reminder:

Old bedspread, mis-matched lamps, see-through curtains. Yep, definitely a candidate for a makeover.

And now, for the after:

The details:

I bought a new duvet and pillow sham set from IKEA for a whopping $14.99.
The lamps are from Home Depot- a little more expensive at $49.99 each.
New curtains- also IKEA- were only $19.99.

After hemming and hawing over my lamp situation, I finally decided to just buy new lamps. As much as I love thrifting and finding inexpensive things, sometimes it's better to buy new! For instance, if you are trying to find identical lamps! I really felt like we needed 2 matching lamps to really anchor the space. I'm so happy we went with the ones from Home Depot, they are great and could work well in almost any setting. Definitely worth the price!

The little alarm clock is also from IKEA, but I bought it a few years ago.

We also invested in a new plant. I'm hoping it will last at least 3 months this time! But, if it doesn't, at least it was only $4.99.

Here's another close-up of the lamps. Aren't they pretty?

Well folks, I'm off to bed. But not before I link up to Kimba's DIY day. Did you know it's her last weekly DIY party? I was sad to see that, it's been fun seeing all of the other projects every week. You should definitely hop over there to see some of the other Do It Yourself projects!

I am also linked up to The Shabby Chic Cottage's "Transformation Thursdays" here!

Home sweet home

Well, after a somewhat involuntary blogging break, I am back!

I was out of town all last week in Des Moines for a business trip! Sadly, I ended up getting one of the worst sinus infections I have ever had in my entire life too, so it was not the best trip ever. Being sick + in a hotel + 4 hours away from home + on my birthday= NOT COOL.

But guess what? My hubby sent me some beautiful flowers. I didn't even have to ask him to do it, he just sent them all on his own!

And also, my Dad decided to drive down to visit me on my 25th birthday!!! It was pretty awesome. We had dinner together and walked around the city a little.

I got home Friday afternoon, and then on Saturday Josh and I drove up to Duluth to a wedding! One of my roommates from college got married to her sweetheart, and I was privileged to be her personal attendant. I ran around all day in 4 inch stilettos that absolutely killed my feet, but it was completely worth it!

The bride was lovely, and everything went so well. I'm so happy for her!

So that's about it. I'm glad to be home, and happy to be blogging again. I've definitely missed it!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A perfect Saturday

Some days just have that perfect "glow." Do you know what I mean? It's like, from the moment that you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, life is just good.

Could it have something to do with the sunshine after 2 weeks of rain? Maybe. Or the fact that it's a Saturday? Hmmm, perhaps. Or maybe because my hubby let me open a b-day gift early? Hehe. It was a lamp. What kind of person asks for a lamp for their birthday? Me, apparently.

After breakfast, we went to buy some plants for our porch! Here's what we came home with:

After getting dirt all over ourselves and our porch, and stealing some questionable "planters" from around the house, the porch is now starting to feel like a place where I could drink my coffee every morning!

I love flowers. They are so photogenic.

Sadly, even these perfect days have to come to an end. But not before we eat some delicious hamburgers for dinner! How are you celebrating these first few, warm days?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Just Dreaming a Little

Someday, when I have a house and buckets full of cash, I want to build a kitchen just like this one.

I can picture myself baking scones, sipping tea, wearing cute aprons and singing duets with Frank Sinatra in this kitchen.

(Disclaimer: The following pictures were saved to my inspirational file and their original whereabouts were promptly forgotten. If they belong to you, feel free to issue a warrant for my arrest. Or just tell me to take them down).

I could probably skip the creepy doll heads with plants growing out of them, but everything else (creamy white cabinets, glass-front doors, beautiful window with dotted swiss curtains) MUST STAY.

Also, this couch and picture-frame wall seriously gave me a heart attack when I first saw it! I rarely ever see something that grabs my attention like this did, but it makes me want to run out and buy a yellow couch and completely redecorate my living room! (Hubby, if you are reading this, please don’t cry. I was not actually serious about that).

Hello, Yellow! I think this is a perfect example of Vintage Eclectic. Notice the design of the couch is more classic, with some modern pieces like the drum shade on the lamp and the round table in front. I also love the color combo- the creamy walls with the bright punch of yellow and bold black frames! Somehow, it’s light, airy, full of depth, classic, and a bit quirky all at once.

Even though I love bright colors, I have a hard time buying big furniture pieces that aren’t neutral. But this is a great example of how well it can work with the right accessories! What are you inspired by lately?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Things you can't buy at Target

A picture of my Grandparents: David and Bertie Lou Harrison on their wedding day.

Hand-painted candlesticks, $7 from a street vendor in Kiev, Ukraine.

A paper star, crafted by my brother-in-law Ben.

The "big sister" in a set of 3 nesting dolls, the other two are with my sisters. $3, Kiev Ukraine.

There are some things that you just can't buy at Target.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Little me

(Nicki and I, circa 1998)

Little Me.

If I could talk to her now, I would have a lot to say.

Things like, "It really doesn't matter how knobby your knees are, or how bony your elbows look. Don't try to hide them in baggy clothes, it just doesn't work. Besides, being skinny is IN (no matter what your so-called friends say)!"

"No matter how hard it is to listen to your mom, remember that some day she will be your best friend."

"And that boy you have a crush on? Please just forget about him and move along. No one who has a fake, stuffed squirrel-friend named Cedric is ready for a romantic relationship at any level."

Little Me was a worried one. She constantly worried about what other people thought of her. She thought about her hair a lot, trying (and failing) to make each strand fall in place like it was army boot-camp. I would say, "Don't worry about it. Let your hair be natural and PLEASE put down the Aussie Mega-Hold spray. You have enough to think about without being a walking fire-hazard."

I would tell Little Me to spend less time trying to fit in, and spend more time discovering the ways that God made her unique. Little Me cried many bitter tears over the fact that ALL of her friends had Doc Martens and all she had were old sneakers from Target. The same friends all saw the movie Titanic 5 times each and Little Me had to fight with her parents for months until she finally got to go see it once. With her dad. Then she cried for a month following because JACK DIED. She would squeeze her eyes shut and picture his frozen face sinking into the icy depths, white hand extended as if it was reaching out to her. Apparently, Little Me was a little out of touch with reality.

If I could swing back in time, I would take Little Me out for coffee, and I would take her hands, look into her worried eyes and say,

You won't believe what is in store for you! You will graduate from the college you dream of, travel the world, sing on stages in sparkly dresses, meet so many different people.

You won't get your first kiss until you are the ripe old age of twenty-three (and it certainly won't be from someone who thinks a stuffed animal is a valid conversational partner). It will be from the man you will spend the rest of your life with (and yes, it's going to be AWESOME). You will experience more heartbreak, more fair-weather friends who drift in and out of your life. But through it all, you WILL survive, and you will become a stronger person.

If only you could see yourself at nearly Twenty-Five! You are madly in love with a man who makes you feel treasured and beautiful. You are surrounded by a family that loves and supports you. You have a network of amazing friends who only grow dearer with time. You have a job that makes you feel needed and appreciated and gives you countless opportunities. Some dreams and hopes are realized, and some new and entirely different ones are glinting on the horizon.

And best of all, the God who is there through every trial and heartbreak will never change. He will still be there, holding you together, giving you hope and peace, guiding your footsteps. And He will answer every prayer your little mouth has whispered, in ways you can't even begin to imagine.

Your Iowa Travel Guide

Ok, I have to admit. When I first heard that my next business trip would be to Iowa, I was less than pleased. I figured, if I have to be away from my husband for a week, and over my birthday, it should at least be somewhere warm and farther away, like MIAMI!

Little did I know, Iowa is awesome! My wonderful Iowan friend Ashley left a comment suggesting some fun places to visit, and I thought I would post about them here in case anyone else feels a hankering to check them out!

#1 Des Moines Arts Center

A museum featuring exhibits that span the decades as well as an outdoor sculpture park. This museum looks gigantic, and their collections are extremely diverse so there is something for everyone to admire! If you have kids, what child wouldn’t love to run through a sculpture park like that?

(Photo found Here)

#2 Salisbury House and Gardens

As a self-proclaimed History Geek, I have to admit that this house makes me want to shriek with sheer joy. Not only is the architecture modeled after King’s House in Salisbury, England, but it has been meticulously preserved and has a number of historic collections. Sadly, it’s only open until 5 pm. I’m seriously hoping we get out of training a little early at least one day so I can visit!

(Photo found Here)

#3 Living History Farms

A “living” museum featuring 5 different sites. The sites are connected via walking trails and tractor-carts so people can easily get around. It features the progression of farming techniques and (best of all!) a civil-war era community. Visit their website here for more information.

I find it amazing how much history is right underneath our noses at times. I know that Minneapolis/St. Paul also have a variety of historical sites, but I usually don’t think to visit them because I live there. Now I’m thinking it will be fun to be a “tourist” in my own city, and check out what Minnesota has to offer! How about you? What are some cool places you have discovered in your hometown?

Monday, May 10, 2010

An update

It's been busy around this house the past few weeks. Josh's car broke down two weeks ago, so we've been dealing with that. And by dealing with it, I mean it sat in our garage for two weeks while my husband, father, father-in-law, and grandfather tried to figure out what was wrong.

Thankfully, the fuel-pump is finally replaced and Josh is able to drive his car again instead of his motorcycle. I have not personally experienced this, but apparently driving a motorcycle in 40 degree temperatures is rather uncomfortable. Also, when it's cold and rainy you can actually get very sick. Needless to say, it's been an eventful 2 weeks.

I have been trying to keep up with my blogging, but sadly I feel like it's taken a back burner to everything else that's been going on. Also, I will be out of town for a business trip next week so I most likely won't be posting at all then! Anyone know of some fun places to visit around Des Moines?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Design evolution

I am a big fan of letting a room evolve. I love just living in a space and constantly reworking it until I find what feels right. That being said, finally the area which we used to refer to as "the armpit of the living room" is finished. Well, at least to the point that I can glance over there without wincing. Let's start at the beginning, shall we, and just see how far it has come?

#1 (Please try to ignore that girl drinking coffee in this picture. I really have no earthly idea who she is, except for the fact that she drinks unseemly amounts of coffee. Who does that?)

Notice please the puke-green chair coupled with the yawn-inducing shade of beige on the wall. It was definitely time for a makeover.

2) Here you can see the new wall color: Dynasty Celadon by Behr. Love it! Sadly, the puke-green chair looked even worse next to this color, so it had to go. Now you can also see the sad excuse for a TV stand that we had inherited from my Grandma (who had inherited it from someone's dorm room at the college where she works, I'm sure).

#3 Then in February, we found a new TV stand! I was way too excited to be able to hide the speakers and have something that was a little more easy on the eye.

#4 Then, in March we found a fun chair at a thrift store and decided to reupholster it:

#5 At my mom's suggestion I added a fun new pillow that I whipped up. She thought the chair needed something to anchor it and help it compete a little better with our new (larger) furniture. I think it worked pretty well!

#6 Finally, it is (somewhat) finished. I don't think I will ever be able to pronounce it completely finished, because I really like to move things around and change them up for fun. But for now, it's (sort of) done.

Sometime in the future (when I have won the no-spend competition) I will be purchasing a new lamp for the table (something a little chunkier and more modern), and probably adding some more artwork to the walls.

So there you have it. Even though it can be frustrating to have things halfway done, I think letting the design of a house "evolve" just makes the end result more unique and more suited to the personality of the homeowners. I'm pretty sure that when people go out and buy everything for one room at the same time (furniture, accessories, etc.), that's when it starts looking like a hotel. Unless you are Ty Pennington. In which you are totally excluded from that because you are incredibly talented and have awesome hair.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The usual

Today, I got to work at my usual time.

I had my usual mug of coffee, sat down in my usual chair that has formed perfectly to my (somewhat larger than) usual rear end.

I went to log in to my usual website (blogspot, of course) to keep my usual blog updates handy for when I need a moment of respite from my usual work.

And lo and behold, something was very UN-usual.

Blogger is now on "the list" of websites that is blocked on government computers due to "Social Networking." Apparently anything that falls under that category is nothing but pure, unadulterated evil and must be stopped. Watch your back, Twitter. Look what happened to Facebook. Now Blogger. Will it ever end?

For this reason alone, I am greatly looking forward to the day when I will be SELF employed. And it is coming. Oh yes, it is coming soon. But not soon enough.

Vintage Eclectic

I stumbled across a fun little quiz you can take at If you are like me and are always trying to figure out what "style" you gravitate towards, this just might be some good insight into your tastes!

Just for the record, every single time I take a quiz that has anything to do with style of clothing, decorating, organizing, you name it, my "style" always has the word "eclectic" in it. So basically, I never know what style of anything I am. I am one confused little housewife.

So guess what style I ended up being?

Yup. Vintage Eclectic. But honestly, I think it describes me pretty well!

To quote the website, Vintage Eclectic is:

A rich, layered look combining flea-market finds, furniture designs from various time periods (including Victorian pieces and 18th-century French styles), and a diverse collection of accessories and artwork. Dusty colors, timeworn or handmade textiles, and collected objects create a lived-in feel. Think Paris flea markets, Granny’s teacups, the film Grey Gardens.

Um, Hallo?!? That is totally me to a T! (Well, sometimes).

Some elements are definitely my style: the wallpaper, green/blue colors as neutral, funky and interesting pieces that have history. The only thing I'm not super crazy about is when it gets to be too vintage. I'm not a huge fan of sitting on an old couch and watching the plumes of dust puff into the air... So maybe I would refine it as Vintage Super-Clean Eclectic.

But as far as the furniture goes- I'm loving the unique quirks and historic vibes. Like this awesome side table:

And this gorgeous settee- it looks like it belongs in Marie Antoinette's bedchamber! I would totally faint ALL THE TIME if I could fall onto one of these:So, if you want some definitions for your style, you should head over there and try it out. I would love to hear what your decorating style is!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flowers for Decoration

It's amazing to me how one cheap, little grocery-store bouquet of flowers can make such a huge difference. For $6.50 I was able to get one large arrangement, and 3 small arrangements of flowers for around the house and already it is feeling more like Spring!

Honestly, I think fresh flowers are a great investment. How else can you brighten up your house for so little?

Also, if you invite someone over who just happens to have a lilac bush in their backyard...

You just may get some lovely flowers for free!


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