Editorial Inspiration and Serendipitous Shopping Generates a Look For Less.

Do you find yourself flipping through the pages of fashion magazines lusting after a particular editorial that inspires your inner fashion Macgyver? With so many designs, trends, tastemakers, and shops at the ready it can be overwhelming to choose what you want to spend your hard earned cash on.  You also have to decide what is within your resources and budget. Do you want to pull off a straight up look for less outfit or make a trend your own by getting inventive with what you already have? Maybe you want to settle on a few pieces you’ve been coveting, get spendy and they end up being your go to pieces for the season. I fluctuate between all of these things. Sometimes I go out looking for things and sometimes they have a way of finding me.

Last week, I made the mood board pictured above.  A few days later I strolled into h&m and saw a blast of beautiful muted green much the same color as a top on said board.  After walking over to explore the apparel grouping  I found a single blouse in my size that essentially led me to writing this post. I purchased the blouse and returned home to study the picture. Then it occurred to me, “I have a dress that reminds me of that skirt and with a tomato red bag I could totally recreate the vibe of mood board outfit.”  I had been drawn into the colors and textures but the price tags, not so much. The inspiration blouse was over $600. My h&m blouse cost $35.  I frequently get inspired by imagery and then mimic what I’ve see in a personal way. Sometimes the look I come up with is so close to the original that it really ends up being a ‘Look for Less’, but often it’s the overall feel that I re-imagine and you may or may not make that connection between the inspiration and the result. Below is the outfit that produced a look for less as a result of what I stumbled upon, sought out then combined with what I already owned.* I hope you like it and have fun coming up with your own editorial inspired outfits!

Editorial inspiration courtesy of Vogue magazine.

*Note that this skirt is a sale item from h&m. The dress pictured is MYNE by Ashley Ann that I purchased at Anthropologie a few years ago. You could check ebay or Poshmark.

A second skirt option from ZARA

The second red bag option is stylistically different from the editorial and has a darker blue tone to it but I just liked this bag better so it’s the one I kept.

Thankful for: When things I don’t even know I want appear in my life.

Wanting: To have a good balance of inspiration from current trends while embracing my own personal style.

I’ve learned: I love the creativity of couture designers and respect their work but mostly I can’t afford it so I have to get creative.



















Extreme Play-Home Makeover.


Simple Scandinavian. So clean and modern, and not ours.

We bought a play house for the backyard off of Craigslist two summers ago.  It has been a source of great entertainment for the girls and their friends during the summer months but I have never found it particularly attractive, cute as it is. Then, last week, when we had a taste of summer sun and warm weather a little light bulb went off in my head.  I started Google image searching (one of my favorite past times) for ‘painted outdoor playhouse’ and discovered the handiwork of many like-minded parents and designers who had stepped up their playhouse game. Seeing these beauties made me want to start from scratch and build or buy a wood cottage.  What we already have happens to be plastic. Boo hiss. The project is to improve upon what we already have not to spend money on newer and “better”. Working with what you’ve got is often more rewarding than getting something new. Did I really just say that?  Besides, I need to save some money for the rest of the backyard which needs some landscaping love. For now I’m off to the hardware store for some paint samples so I can extreme home makeover our little shanty. Take a gander at these lovely mini homes and stay tuned for the reveal.


I like the black roof and the white detailing.


Someone takes play cottage building to the nest level for reals.


I love the black, of course, and the bi-level tree house effect. Don’t they just look so happy!

This reminds me of Hansel and Gretel.


I like the built out porch and the hanging basket.


Similar in color to our existing play house and very cozy.

And last…and least is the our storybook play cottage before the redo…


Thankful for: A backyard! It’s nice to have a space to landscape, set up play houses and fairy gardens and just hang out.

I’ve learned: There are lots of people out there with great experience to inspire and aid in DIY project development. Yes, I mean other parents who have fabricated things for their children.

Wanting: The playhouse to be done my next weekend. Eeek!!

BOLD Beauty.


The lip color! The hair!

As I get older (and wiser) I come across images relating to fashion and beauty that both excite and inspire me. I want to run out and replicate what I’ve seen then reemerge into the world transformed.

Shall I be specific? I shall. I want blue hair. I’ve wanted it for months, maybe even years.  I’ve collected and studied these striking images to take to the salon but the terribly practical part of me is not going to let this happen without a fight. Hence, no appointment has been booked. There are alternatives to the bleach and dye process. I could get some colored extensions put in, I could use hair chalk, I could just have a few portions of color rather than my whole head. Any of these options require much less commitment but none will give the all over color effect that I seem to be drawn to.

Sure, it could be a disaster.  On the flip side it could look AWESOME!  You only live once, right? I’m starting to feel like it’s now or never. While I deliberate about whether or not to take the plunge, tell me, what do you think?  Do you like these looks? Would you do this to your hair? More importantly should I do this to my hair?;)




Nicole Richie is here twice because our skin tones are similar so it’s a good indicator in that respect.


Some other options…


Oh Gwen, you’re So cool.

The 2013 EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA'S)

I just love Helen Mirren.


Too green for me but looks cool here.


Coloring only the bottom solves the roots issue.


Thankful for: The ability to transform myself.

I’ve learned: Decisions I make regarding my appearance don’t really affect other people.

Wanting: Clarity. To blue or not to blue? That is the question.




The Girl’s Room: Before And Getting There.


I snapped these before shots for personal reference and never did get back to styling them to be Pinterest worthy. Hey, It’s real life.


You know you want that air purifier.

You’ve seen the inspiration pictures. The virtual vision board in all its beauty. Now, lets turn our attention the actual room in flux. The photos above are admittedly not the greatest. OK, they are terrible but you get the idea.  Though the footprint is a decent size, approximately 9′ x 11′, there are slanted ceilings,  paneled walls and an abnormally large radiator which have each created significant design challenges. You’ll note in the pictures that there is a crib and a twin bed. We now have both girls in twin beds, and have for a while. There is not enough head room to accommodate bunk beds but truthfully I prefer the symmetry of a bed on either side of the window. I’ve grown tired of the vintage fabric that I used for the head-boards, the green shaggy carpet that gave the room some texture and the pink accent wall, much as I love pink. Even the geometric patterned roman shade (see below) that I had custom-made five years ago seems dated. It all feels too prissy and preppy.  I’m going for a modern, bright and whimsical bedroom as inspired by the plethora of  images I have put before you. Pinterest, you are a blessing and a curse.



Roman shade


Detailed shot of vintage fabric on headboard. I loved you, Goodbye.











Beneath the carpet are gorgeous white floors that I had installed (by my husband) when we moved in five years ago. I knew way back then that the room needed as much help as possible in the light department. I have to dig up a picture of this room from when we bought the house. Oh Lord. Green plastic tile floors, turquoise walls and wood paneling.  It’s painful to remember.  Hey, we wanted to make this house our own. We got what we bargained for. Any who, The light bounces off of the white floor and just illuminates the room. It’s bright, sophisticated, modern and simple. The new white walls have the same effect.

Much as I love before and after pictures we at not at the after stage yet. Below are some middle pictures. The work in progress. Old finishes have been removed The pink wall is now painted white (Glidden white on white from Home Depot) and I lay down a temporary fuzzy rug and made the beds with plain white sheets from Target. The blank canvas is ready!




Wallpaper sample.


Oh the Mess! The Pink Ikea dresser will work in here once it’s cleared off. There is the air purifier you love so much, and a humidifier for good luck.



Dresser trying to hide the enormous radiator. This will be cleaned off I assure you.


Wall waiting for more art.


Let’s break it down. We have the floors, we have the paint, we have the beds and dressers. What we need is:

  • New bedding
  • Fabric for head-boards if I re-upholster. Still undecided on this front.
  • Area rug
  • Window treatments
  • New placement of decorative items and art.

My plan and process.

  1. Compile inspiration pictures. Check.
  2. Write down the individual elements that I am drawn to.
  3. Pull together some items that represent the elements I want to use.
  4. Trial and error. Lay out the various bedding, window treatments, rugs and decorative elements that I acquire and figure out the possible combinations. This is the fun part.
  5. EDIT!!!! Always the hardest part for me. It really is a skill to design, write, speak, parent, pretty much anything, with restraint. When there are lots of great options it’s hard to choose a course and stay with it. I find other areas to use the items edited out, save them for my next project or just straight up return them and get my precious money back.
  6. Take after pictures and share them with you.

Thankful for: Pinterest!!!

Wanting: To take more risks in design and life.

I’ve learned: I can take inspiration and apply it to my life in simple, meaningful ways.

‘Til next time…




Interior Inspiration and Girls Room Redo.


WHAT A ROOM! There is a lot to love here. Color and texture and pattern oh my!

My current project is…you guessed it. The Girls bedroom. I’ve touched on my inability to be “done” decorating any particular space. You remember the playroom, right? With ever-changing trends, color palettes, my propensity for change and our family’s evolving needs, no room in our home will ever be designed and decorated for eternity. It would be emotionally, philosophically and even physically impossible for me to paint a wall, arrange furniture just so, select the perfect textiles and then leave a space never to be tweaked again. As much as I have come to love routine in the day to day (thanks kids) I need aesthetic movement. Not to be confused with THE Aesthetic Movement of the 19th century which championed beauty for the sake of beauty rather than as an aside to form and function as had been the case. I digress. The point is, I like to modify my surroundings. I am inspired by both beauty and variety. My concept of what is beautiful and visually pleasing constantly shifts but I always want my environment to reflect those perceptions. Kids thrive on routine and mom, that’s me, can’t function with out visually shaking things up every now and again. Moving furniture, hanging new art,  painting a wall getting or a new rug are not things that are going to have a ripple effect on the global community but each feeds a desire in me to create a vision and make it a reality. I get juiced looking at pretty things. Manipulating those inspirations into something tangible and personal is ultimately rewarding but the process can be challenging. Let’s start with the fun part! Pretty pictures.  I’ve captioned my virtual tear sheets with the specific items or elements that caught my eye for the girls bedroom. Enjoy!



















Thankful for: Having a home to decorate.

Wanting: To find the perfect elements within my budget and knock this project out of the park!

I’ve learned: Slow and steady wins the race.

Head on over to my Pinterest board to see more (yes, there is more and lots of it) for photo credits and links to original sites. These people deserve their props.



DIY Branch Light For The Guestroom

IMG_5964IMG_5967Before you think for one moment that I’m claiming this idea is my own,  I confess,  it is not. I was inspired by the DIY guru,  Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook. I have long admired both her blog and her ingenuity. This is not the first (nor the last) project of hers that has caused an impromptu trip over to Home Depot and Michael’s. There is almost always a can of gold spray paint involved.

Here’s the story. Our guest room had a huge, ugly and dusty (I guess that’s my fault), wooden fan that provided good light and a cool breeze but was a total eyesore. I removed it long before I had a replacement. When I say “I” you of course know that my husband did the actual removing. I don’t mess with hard wiring.  Temporary table lamps provided light but there was still that hole in the ceiling with the live wires poking out …eek!   I bought and returned multiple ceiling lamps of various styles and lengths but nothing really felt right in the room. A lot of that had to do with the fact that the whole room needed a once over so finding the right light was a challenge. With several visitors coming to town I finally got the push I needed to address the issue. As I was perusing Pinterest and Google imaging “brass ceiling light” for inspiration I ended up at Jenny’s post about the branch light that she made for her landing. It had the elements I was searching for; a modern aesthetic, an organic feel and glorious goldness. The fact that it was a straightforward, simple and affordable DIY project sealed the deal.  I was excited to use her idea and customize the lamp for my personal needs and style. To the Depot I went. I was happy to knock this one out in only a few hours. From inspired to mission accomplished in one weekend?  You can’t beat that with a bat.

Here are a few shots of the work in progress and the finished light installed.



Hmm. Which one shall I choose?

IMG_5966 IMG_5962 IMG_5963

I decided to mix and match bulb sizes and finishes. I chose a combination of 25 and 40 watt bulbs since there are so many sockets. I didn’t want to over load the fixture or have the room be obnoxiously bright.  I opted for the Rustoleum over the design master spray paint. Honestly the difference was slight but I felt the Rustoleum was a little richer. I’ve used it before, many times, and I’ve always been happy with the results. I ended up with a total of fourteen socket splitters but I did not put a bulb in each opening  because it made the room too bright and I was able to conceal the empty ones pretty well. I’ve never met a ceiling light that didn’t look better with a medallion so I chose this one from Home Depot. I love the contrast between the classic architectural element and the modern fixture. The most time-consuming part was deciding on the positioning of the splitters and the bulbs. Once I liked the configuration I removed the bulbs, taped over the electrical portion of the socket  (the interior part where the bulb goes) then spray painted the fixture as a whole.  I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

Check out Jenny’s step by step and take a gander at some of her other inspired projects while you’re there.  You’ll be amazed!


I’m Thankful for: How easy it is to access inspiration and information and make an idea into reality.

I’m wanting: A custom Lindsey Adelman hanging lamp.  Dreaming is free.

I’ve learned: Tiny steps can take you far.