Modern Traditional Mudroom Makeover

Are you ever inspired by the design in the places you visit? Even if it is just a hotel bathroom? I am. It is so much fun to see different design elements put together to create luxurious accommodations. Speaking of luxurious, our laundry room is the opposite. We live in a 1920’s home. Apparently in the 1920’s, laundry rooms were in the dungeon basements and mudrooms were non existent… Continue reading Modern Traditional Mudroom Makeover

Inexpensive Flooring: How to Stencil Concrete Floors

Inexpensive Flooring How to Stencil Concrete Floors

Yes, this is still a travel blog. I just am grounded and started a basement laundry/mudroom project back in February that needs to be finished asap. I hemmed and hawed about the flooring, looking into a million and one different options for our ugly, uneven concrete floor. They were all not technically going to work or were too expensive for a room that, let’s face it, only I’m going to see. I looked into everything- wood, vinyl, laminate, large tile, small tile, stamped concrete, stained concrete, etc., etc. I was disappointed that the Portuguese tile I really wanted wasn’t going to work out. How fun would it have been to have a tiled floor inspired by travel! Dreams dashed… Continue reading Inexpensive Flooring: How to Stencil Concrete Floors

Winter 2017 Giveaway Time!!!

It’s Giveaway Time! I want to know… what is the biggest risk you have taken? What was your motivation? Inspiration? Any plans you are unsure of for 2017?

Whatever it is, I hope that your 2017 is off to a fabulous start! And I want to give you this sign to remind you to stay positive. I hope you all find your wings and fly this year. 

Tag a friend over on this photo on Instagram and subscribe to our updates (it’s over on the left side by the menu), and, just like that, you are entered to win. 

Only caveat…. you must have a shipping address within the continental USA.

Winner will be announced on Friday!

Oh, and one more thing, if you already subscribe to our updates, as a Thank You, you are automatically entered to win 😉 If you’re not interested, that’s a-okay too. Just shoot me a quick email or say No Thank You should your name be chosen. 

Wondering who the talent is behind this sign? It’s Angela from Angtiques. She is awesome to work with and I would highly recommend her. You can check out her store over here on Etsy or her Instagram feed here

Decorating with Travel Trinkets

Full disclosure (again): just the word “trinket” makes me cringe. And, yet we find ourselves tempted to buy souvenirs or street art all the time. Luckily, my inner voice often stops us. That said, we have found ourselves in possession of said trinkets because they do remind us of a fabulous beach vacation or a memorable experience. Here is how we have decorated with them…

We have tried to be somewhat discreet. I almost feel like it is more fun for guests in our home to “find” these trinkets than to walk into a room and have them front and center. (I promise, we won’t make you play too many games if you ever come to visit.;)  We have our Indian elephants that we picked up at the Dillihut on our desk in the corner of our living room. I also have a tea cup that my grandmother purchased for me from the Bahamas in our butler’s pantry passthrough. Again, in full view, but not front and center.

We also have decided to leave some things for our own enjoyment. While we love telling people where the elephants and tea cup came from, it is also special to us that we keep some of our “treasures” to our more private rooms. We just moved my husband’s home office into the children’s previous playroom on our second level. It houses, well, another wooden elephant (I think we may be slightly obsessed) and a chess board my husband got from India that he and our daughter have enjoyed playing with lately. We have a framed sketch of India Gate from Dillihut in one corner, too. While we gladly show off his office, it is also a space that is mainly for our family and our special “trinkets.” Oh, and there is a password to enter, too… of course.

Some “souvenirs” are readily identifiable, clearly the elephants are from India and the tea cup with the huge hibiscus flower is from the Bahamas… but did you know that the anchor hooks and sea creature decorations in the kids’ bathroom are from New Orleans? Yep, I went all the way to NOLA just to choose some bathroom decor. In all actuality, it was a bit of a fluke. At the time I had a 4-year old and 1-year old at home, so shopping by myself was, well,… AMAZING!!! I had been looking for something for this small space and found it on a trip. Bonus? Every time I’m giving the kids a bath, I think of our New Orleans trip.

I’m embarrassed to even admit how many photos we have saved on our computer… for our computer’s enjoyment maybe? But we have managed to pull a couple off and find time to have them printed. We have our Lake Michigan photos scattered throughout the house as well as some favorites from our jaunts to Chicago.

How do you incorporate your travel “trinkets” or “souvenirs” or photos into your home?

Feel any of this is pin-worthy? I have a pin for that 🙂

**As always, this post contains affiliate links, meaning that, if you click on them, I may receive some compensation.

Christmas House Tour 2016

 

Well, as the picture above may indicate, this is not really, truly a travel post, and, yes, I will stretch it to make some connections, but in all honesty, this is a house tour. And my first one at that, so there are two things to forgive right there. While I’m apparently confessing, come on in, let me show you around, and share some decorating admissions, one for each day of Christmas.­­

Admission #1: I love wooden signs! And just discovered a new small store in town that sells these made by local sisters. Aren’t they great?

Admission #2: I am a plant killer. However, since discovering the beautiful benefits of jasmine, these mason jars aren’t even moving for the Christmas decorations.

Admission #3: I’m not crafty. But one year, I tried. I bought travel-stamped burlap and cut a runner and placemats.  I also spray painted the bases of the topiaries. And then settled down for a long winter’s nap.

Admission #4: Dasher lost his head on the first day we put up the stockings courtesy of the 3 -year old’s inability to “just look” at his stocking, and I think it’s just an Oh Well. Dancer and Donner have been on their best behavior ever since.

Admission #5: I love white feathered trees but love the family tradition of cutting down our tree even more. So, this beauty on the mantle will have to suffice.

Admission #6: I’m not good with small decorations. I get nervous our house is going to look kitschy. But for reasons I can’t explain, I love these elephants from India and think they go perfectly with the other decorations on the desk.

Admission #7: I’m a new fan of ornaments from places we’ve traveled. When I put them up, I’m reminded of our travels, far and near.

Admission #8: I love a nice smelling house but am cautious with candles. Herein comes this lovely, wintry mix.

Admission #9: I’m crazy for wooden signs (did I already mention that?). I really had to cut myself off this year, but not before I purchased this sweet nativity. Bonus: no risk of losing Baby Jesus to the aforementioned 3-year old.

Admission #10: My love of signs also carries over to metals.

Admission #11: But back to the wooden signs. I love this JOY sign. It will probably stay up past Christmas just to keep the joy going. I also love and have read the interior design books under the sign. Isn’t it great when purchases can pull double duty?

Admission #12: The jingle-bell wreath will end up being used as toy more often than a decoration.  Oh, and I kept my Lake Charlevoix pillow out this year to help me think happy thoughts to get through our 5-month Michigan winters.

Happy Holidays!

 

The List

Wooden Signs (Christmas Trees and Nativity)

Gather sign

Watercolor Burst art

Habitat, Modern Mix, Styled

**This post contains affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

Global Christmas and Holiday Traditions in 2 hours or Less

global-traditions

 

This week we headed to our local gardens to check out their annual Christmas and Holiday Traditions from Around the World exhibit. If you happen to be in the Grand Rapids area, it is well worth the trip to Fredrick Meijer Gardens. And, I’ll be honest, I had a 3-year old with me, so it took us far less that 2 hours.

Whenever I’m with my kids, I try to remember to give them a “job”; otherwise, they tend to find their own “jobs” that don’t always jive with what I had in mind. Today, the task was to find all of the displays from their 5 nationalities. All information shared comes from the information signs provided by Fredrick Meijer Gardens. There was considerably more information than I am sharing, so head on over and check it out.

Italian Nativity

Italy– The most important symbol of Christmas in Italy is the Nativity scene. A presepio is a 3-dminesional nativity scene, and Meijer garden’s presepio was created by Francesa Niccacci in the maiolica tradition.

Netherlands Tree

The Netherlands– Santa Claus is known as Sinterklass in the Netherlands. Gifts are exchanged on St. Nicholas’ Eve on December 5 while Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are reserved for church and a family meal in the evening. December 26 is called Second Christmas Day and is a holiday of relaxation.

Diwali

India– Diwali is a five-day Hindu celebration, also referred to as the Festival of Lights. Occurring between mid-Ocotber and mid-November, it includes fireworks, lights, and special worship (puja). Diwali’s true meaning is rejoicing in the inner light. It is often celebrated with rangoli; the one pictured above appears to be made of colored sand.

English Christmas Tree

England– Kissing under mistletoe is an English tradition. It is thought to date back to ancient times when the plant was a symbol of peace and indicated that enemies must maintain a truce until the next day if they met under it. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe remains an indication of friendship and goodwill. Another English tradition, began in the 1840s by Tom Smith, is opening Christmas crackers, which are cardboard tubes holding small gifts or trinkets.

Spanish Christmas Tree

Spain- In Spain, it is not Santa but the Three Wiseman who come bearing gifts. On January 5, the Eve of the Epiphany, children fill their shoes with straw, and the Three Wiseman come by, leaving gifts in the children’s shoes. Christmas is a very religious holiday and the most noticeable decoration is the Nacimiento, or Nativity scene.

What a great way to spend the morning! Looking at Holiday displays and learning about different cultural customs is quickly becoming a tradition in our family.

Popular Travel Gifts

populartravelgifts

I always struggle with what gifts to purchase for our family and friends when on a trip. After opening my parents’ cupboard to be greeted with an inordinate amount of travel mugs we had given to them, I decided we really needed to branch out. Wandering around, trying to find the perfect gifts, and then ending up buying something in the airport just wasn’t working for my Type A personality any longer. So, I felt a good list was in order (naturally). Oh, and this isn’t researched; these are just gifts that are popular on my list. 

1.) A coffee mug. I know! I just said that was the entire reason for this list. However, my husband’s family collects the Starbuck’s mugs (and uses them). And, since we are generally in a Starbuck’s at some point in our trips (have I mentioned we love a good chain?), it is just a given. (And, as an aside, I also love when my in-laws bring us a good Starbuck’s mug as a gift. Having some uniformity of mugs, but still including the fun of choosing which one to use goes over well with me.)

2.) Soaps, Lotions, and Candles. Obviously, I don’t just go buy a pump of Jergens (although, that might be just a little funny). We were recently in the Rocky Mountains, and, as such, bought some Rocky Mountain Soap products as gifts.

3.) Consumable Products specific to the region you are visiting. While in Canada, we purchased some Canadian maple syrup (with a maple leaf on it, of course) as gifts for everyone. Any sort of consumable relevant to the region you are visiting would make a great gift. It kind of takes the pressure off of the gift receivers. They don’t have to worry about where to place a non-consumable gift or remember to wear your I LOVE NYC shirt the next time they see you. My parents always bring us a rum cake from their spring trip, and I can tell you, we look forward to it every single time.

4.) An item purchased when the receiver is there. Okay, this obviously warrants further explanation. Last fall, we went apple picking with our large-ish family (my parents-in-law, my parents, my brother-in-law’s parents, two sisters-in-law and their husbands, my kids; you get the picture). It was a beautiful day. One of the stops was a super-cute shop in a barn. It had quite a good representation of Fixer-Upper- esq products. Knowing my style, one of my sisters-in-law purchased a wood block M decoration for our home. I love it! It not only works perfectly on our mantle, but every time that I look at it, I am reminded of a gorgeous fall day with our family.

5.) Coasters. This is going to shock you, given my earlier admission to being Type A, but I love a good coaster. I really just think you can’t go wrong giving a gift of a coaster. Clearly, it should match the interests of the person to whom you are gifting it. My other sister-in-law gave us a set of coasters from Charlevoix on one occasion and a set of coasters with the Michigan mitten on them a different time because, well, she knows that I love Michigan and I love coasters. Win-win.

There you have it. My quirky love of coasters and coffee mugs, and, hopefully, some tips for the next time you are looking for a gift while traveling.

populartravelgifts

*Please note that I may be compensated through the above links.

Growing and Decorating with Jasmine

decorating-with-jasmine-2

 

Hello there!

Just a quick little back story. My mother-in-law has always had Jasmine plants in her home. She has grown all of her children a Jasmine plant for their homes. It is really quite beautiful and symbolic. She has grown each of our plants from her own.

Our Jasmine plant is healthy. Very healthy. It grows and grows and grows. I prune and prune and prune. And by “prune,” I mean, I randomly cut branches off of it so it doesn’t look so massive. It is a lot of work for my non-green thumb. It spends a lot of time outside in the summer where it can catch some rainfall and sun and adds to the greenery on our patio. I read that Jasmine is a good purifying plant, so I bought a ceramic pot at a local greenhouse and brought the plant inside as the weather became cooler. But where to put it?

Just another quick aside:  I want to like the look of plants inside so badly.  We live in a house built in the 1920s, so it can use a little purification every now and then. I also want to remember to water the plants and take good care of them. I don’t. As such, having house plants is super intimidating for me.

Anyway, I brought the plant in the house and strategically placed it in our living room in the back by our bookshelves but also where it could get some light from the door going out to the backyard. And basically ignored it.

Then, one night, I fell in love. I was sitting on the couch, typing away. Trying to make this blog a go. And it smelled like someone had lit a candle behind me. Or maybe even sprayed some exotic perfume. Except it wasn’t a candle or perfume. It was Mother Nature. It was my Jasmine plant. It was perfection. It transported me to somewhere tropical, relaxing in a garden filled with this sweet scent. Oh, the elusiveness of it all.

 

decorating-with-jasmine

If you are thinking about adding plants to your decor, these would be my inexpert-gardener-decorator tips:

  1. Choose a plant that requires little maintenance.
  2. Choose a plant that needs less light to give you more flexibility with where you are able to place it.
  3. If you are unsure about the look of house plants, stick the plant toward the outer edges of your room and maybe not even in full view.
  4. Place the plants strategically throughout your house. Don’t overcrowd just one room with plants.
  5. If you have pets, research whether or not the plants are poisonous to the animals.
  6. Choose a plant you will enjoy. I truly love my Jasmine plant and the sweet scent it releases when it blooms. It makes all the watering and cutting truly worth it.