Exciting News!!



Hi! I've been waiting to tell you guys this, but I think its ok now. We have some exciting news...Paul and I are expecting our first baby!!!!!!! ****insert happy dance here****

Woo hoo! We are currently 16 weeks 5 days along, due September 9th. We've been waiting almost 3 years for this (including one earlier miscarriage) and we had to have help to get here (if anyone has questions, let me know). We will probably not stop worrying if everything is alright "in there" until the little one actually pops out, and then we'll have to start worrying about a whole new set of things! But for now, things are going along really well and we are extremely thankful, super psyched, scared, nervous and hopeful:)

Because we like to make fun of each other and try to guess which traits this child might inherit from each of us (P insists that he/she will end up a "nerd" like me!!!) and what's a good post without some pics, here's Paul and I when we were kids:

{I'm on the right, my sister Laura on the left...nice fountain hair!}

{that's Paul...the one in the middle - no glasses - poking out from behind his sister...don't mind her funny faces or knobby knees, she'll kill me if she knew I was posting this on the internet!!!}

So, this is my excuse for not updating the blog as much lately! Sorry! I just can not stay up as late at night like I use to, which was when I got a lot of my extra work done.

Any advice for an expectant mother? Is anyone else out there expecting (congrats)? Struggling with infertility? Thanks for just being here to share in the good news:)

Dark Hardwood Floors



We have almost resolved the Great Floor Debate (read about it here and here)...not the actual work, just figuring out what we are going to do about it. So, since I'm pretty sure we are moving on to dark hardwood floors (more to come when we've really decided), I went in search of some inspiration pics. Here's the first few I found on a quick spin through DecorPad and Country Living.

{Country Living...reinventing a 1795 Connecticut house}

{decor pad...Candice Olson living room}

{decor pad...Peter Wilds, Style at Home March 2010}

Do any of you have dark hardwood floors? Care to direct me to some pics? Have any complaints or do you love them? Thanks!

The Office Closet



So I mentioned that I'm taking things slowly when it comes to cleaning out, organizing and decorating our office, right?! I got a little more done this weekend. Really, we're focusing on the cleaning out stage now, because well, the floor was covered in supplies and other stuff, the closet was jammed full of...well, you'll see...and the room is just not very functional in its present state (probably why I do most of my stuff at the kitchen table instead, oops).

I think first I need to get rid of alot of junk in here, while figuring out what I need to keep, then sort of put it away and lay out the room, then worry about making sure everything looks "pretty" (the mason jars are a good start, but I'm going to need a lot more boxes and jars and shelves and containers). Know what I mean? Baby steps.

This weekend (and ok, a little bit of last weekend - see, I work slow) we tackled the closet. Uhm, this is what it looked like before (drops head in shame, wondering if I should even show you):

Yuck! (Please tell me you have a closet that looks something like this in your house!!) Not very functional, more just like a dumping ground. And yes, I need all those empty boxes and bubble wrap...for shipping.

After a little work and some purging, it looked like this:

Yay! Much better. I mean, its not going to win any awards, but for now it does the trick. Look, I freed up the whole top shelf! Still managed to fit all the boxes I need. And moved those 2 ugly black filing cabinets (taken from work when we were moving offices) from in the room to in the closet (this means way more floor space in the actual room). We tried to fit the 2 cabinets next to each other, but they were too big and only one cabinet's set of drawers cleared the doorway and could open.

Now that I had that upper shelf free, I was able to move a bunch more of my stuff/supplies from a closet in another room back into the office where they belong:

So this after looks a bit less amazing because of all the chaos on the top shelf, but at least now everything belonging to the office is actually in the office. This is a big step for me:)

How do you guys go about organizing and getting lots of clutter to look good? Do you run out and buy tons of cute containers and then try to fit everything in there? Or do you lay out all the stuff you have that needs to be contained and then run out and buy storage for them? Is there some other strategy that I don't know about? This part seems very intimidating to me.

Memories of Ireland



Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm a ton Irish on my mom's side and Paul's mom came here from Ireland when she is in her 20s, so we definitely celebrate this holiday.

I thought it might be appropriate today to post some photos from our trip to Ireland in April 2007. It is a beautiful country...its landscape, its people, its history. If you ever get a chance, you must go. I can't wait to go back there again...someday:)

Paul, my sister Laura and I took the trip together and we had a blast. We flew into the Shannon airport on the west coast, rented a car and drove south along the coast. We hit up Limerick, Dingle, Killarney. Then made our way to County Cork to see Blarney and started north to Kilkenny, staying at a few B&Bs along the way. We ended up in Dublin, where we returned the car and stayed a few days/nights in a hotel, then flew home from the Dublin airport. We also visited Paul's family while there and his aunt gave us a tour of the town (north of Dublin along the coast) where they grew up. So we basically did a U shape of the southern half of the country...gotta go back to see the rest!

Driving on the wrong side of the road is hilarious..it takes a bit of getting used to, but its fun. And the roads are very narrow there, there's always something encroaching on the road, like a tall hedge, a stone wall, sheep, cliffs or houses that you have to be careful of.

Ok, enough blabbing, on to the pics:

{Cliffs of Moher, on the west coast, County Clare...looking South}

{looking North}

{white visiting P's cousin in Limerick}

{on the road to Dingle}

{our horse Creagan that pulled us through the Gap of Dunloe on this trap}

{after the pony and trap ride, we took a boat tour down the 3 Lakes of Killarney}

{Blarney Castle}

{from the top of Blarney Castle...look at those amazing yellow fields! That's gorse its everywhere over there and so pretty.}

{on a walk around the B&B where we stayed in Kilkenny}

{a rainy Kilkenny Castle}

{at Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin...that cross marks the spot of the execution of the leaders of the 1916 uprising}

{outside the St. James Gate Guinness Brewery in Dublin}

{sunset over the River Liffey in Dublin}

Are you Irish? How are you celebrating today? Anyone else been to Ireland?

Paint by Room



Let's talk one of my favorite subjects...paint colors!!!! Are you a light or a dark fan? Bold and bright or soft and neutral? Earth tones, deep jewel tones?

I like them all. Which can be a slight problem. I mean, you only have so many rooms. I could never just have one or two paint colors throughout my entire space. Although this is a completely valid approach. Anyone out there using only a few paint colors in their home?

Our colonial does not have a true "open floor plan"...each room definitely has a its own space, with a clear dividing point between it and the next. This to me means that I can have each room a different color. Yay!

I definitely didn't want the rooms to feel unconnected though, or jarring as you walk from one to the other. So for our downstairs, we went with a sort of overall feel...light and soft and neutral. All of the paint colors we used are the same saturation (intensity of color) and value (how light or dark they are), they just vary in hue (actual color). Here, I made this little visual for you:

{disclaimer....these colors (that I eyeballed of course) look great on my monitor, hopefully they look ok on yours!}

-Kitchen: Benjamin Moore Barharbor Beige
-Bath: Behr Nurture
-Living Room: Benjamin Moore Smokey Taupe
-Family Room: Benjamin Moore Sweet Spring
-Dining Room: Valspar's Gravity and Polar Star (next to each other on the paint chip), color matched by BM
-Foyer: Unknown cream color painted by previous owners

All of the above colors to me are "neutral"...that is I could use more than one color palette with each of them. And when I put up my holiday decorations (or any other seasonal decor), everything still looks like it belongs. In fact, most of the time when I buy random accessories at Home Goods, etc. without exactly knowing where I'm going to put them (yes, its been know to happen!!), I come home to find that they could look good in more than one room.

So, what kind of paint color person are you? Anyone struggling with choosing a color? Anyone want to share their favorite color?

Little Changes Make a Big Difference



Hey!! I've been trying to clean/organize/decorate our office/studio a little at a time. Because really that's all I can manage to get done....I started back in at the beginning of the summer (yes, last summer, 2009!) and am still going...slow and steady wins the race:)

Recently I made a couple of quick, small changes that made a big difference. First, I emptied a lot of my art supplies into mason jars...because that gets rid of boxes and big ugly packaging taking up space, and let's face it, everything looks better in a mason jar!

I just started saving glass jars from things like spaghetti sauce and salsa...let them soak in hot water to remove the labels and then run them through the dishwasher. Now I can transfer a ton of supplies to them and they'll look great on a shelf or my desk:)

I also recently found these really cool graphic print file folders at Target. These make me want to file away receipts and orders!

They came with these cute little stickers for labeling, I like the pop of the chocolate brown border.

12 folders came in a package, 4 each of the 3 designs...the orange Greek key, blue lattice and green quatrefoil.

There's nothing like functional and stylish!! The office is looking so much better now. Anybody else working on their office/craft room? Anyone have any other tips or tricks for getting all this clutter to look good?

Walking in Maine



Thank you so much to everyone who joined in for the Mood Board Monday McLinky party this week! We had 18 participants (including me), the most ever!!! And lots of first-timers too, which is awesome (we are so glad you came!). Let me know if anyone has any ideas for what they'd like to see in the next round.

You know I usually don't post alot about our personal comings and goings here but this weekend I actually happened to have my camera with me, happened to take pics, and there happened to not be any bad ones of me, so I thought I'd share. Plus, these 2 cute little faces are just too adorable not to show:

On Sunday we drove to Portland, Maine (about 2. 5 hours away) to visit our good friends Suzanne and Zach and their 2 girls, Phoebe (who's 4) and Piper (who's 2). Are they not the cutest kids you've ever seen (besides your own, of course...and besides my nieces and nephew)!!??

Even as far north as Maine it was super nice out this weekend, so we all decided to take a walk around the neighborhood, girls in the wagon.

We ended up at this really beautiful cemetery down the street from their house (Mount Sinai Cemetery).

Do you think J.K. Rowling had ever been there before?

We had a wonderful time catching up, eating lots of good food and playing with these guys.


{Piper and Buddy, the farmer}

Mood Board Monday Party: Bold and Bright Area Rugs



Hi, there! Hope everyone had a great weekend! Welcome to the 5th Mood Board Monday McLinky Party. Glad you could make it:)

This blog party is all about seeing how different people are inspired differently by the same things.
This week's challenge was to design a room (of your choice) around one of these two bold and bright graphic area rugs (I think we could all use some color in our lives right about now!):

1. Andalusia Rug from West Elm

{Exotic pattern from a traditional silk scarf is reinterpreted for the floor in Horizon and Ivory}

2. St. John Striped Indoor/Outdoor Rug from Dash and Albert


Here's my mood board for the week. I was completely inspired by the Dash and Albert St. John Striped Rug. As soon as I saw it, I thought "This would look awesome in my parent's summer house on Cape Cod!" To me this rug just has that coastal, light and airy, sea and sky feel that would be perfect for a beach house. So I approached this challenge imagining using this rug in one of the guest rooms at my parent's house (probably the girls' room). I wanted plenty of storage, twin beds (fairly often we have mom's lady friends over, or my sister and I, so its more individual guests as opposed to couples), and a coastal cottage vibe without going overboard (no pun intended...lol!).

At first I thought I'd keep the room in all cool tones, but then I found this really pretty Eliza floral bedding (from PB) and I loved the mix of the warm creams and oranges with the soft aqua blues and greens. So then I headed in a bit of a different direction with the palette and added some pops of that lovely persimmon for a more funky and contemporary feel.

1. The palette: I'd paint the walls in a soft warm wheat color from the floral bedding, something like Benjamin Moore's Cream Fleece or Summer Harvest (its like the sand to the rug's water tones). Cool muted blues and greens are made more vibrant with the addition of persimmon orange. Lots of white for that cottage vibe contrasted with the dark brown bed frames.

2. The inspiration, the St. John Striped Rug from Dash and Albert

3. I searched and searched online for twin beds that I liked, but then I remembered that in one of the real guest rooms already at the house, my mom has these great family heirloom antique pineapple beds from the early 1900s. (My grandpa slept in one when he was a kid and then they were used in the house my mom grew up in as well.) So I decided, why not use those? I like that the dark espresso stain would tie in with the dark chocolate in the rug, and give some contrast to the white furniture that I chose for the room.

4. The bedding that inspired the addition of pops of warm tones in the room...Eliza Organic Duvet Cover and Shams from Pottery Barn.

5. Love the idea of some bold geometric throw pillows in contrasting colors on the beds, especially this Kelly Wearstler Imperial Trellis Pillow in Mandarin from etsy seller
milk and cookies.

6. I would use this Southport Bachelor's Chest from Basset Furniture in white for a nightstand in between the 2 beds.

7. The coordinating Southport Double Dresser from Bassett Furniture in white for lots of storage and a great surface for everyone's toiliettries, jewelry, sunglasses, etc.

8. This Round Silvertone Mirror from Target for over the dresser.

9. The Alexis Ceramic Table Lamp in Porcelain Blue from Pottery Barn.

10. I've used these classic books with beautiful covers designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith before in another mood board, they're just so pretty. And books are a must at the Cape, we do a lot of reading there. Just because these books look so good, does not mean you can't bring them down to the beach...books are for reading!!!

11. Hancock Bookcase in Lobster (how fitting for a beach house!!!???) from CB2 (more storage and a great addition of orange in the room).

12. For wall art, I'd definitely emphasize the coastal vibe with these shell prints from art.com (Coquilles de Mer II, I, III and IV ).

13. And these awesome coral prints in blue also from art.com (Shades of Aqua I, III and IV ).

14. I'd want some natural texture in the room, and large woven baskets like these Shayne Baskets from Pottery Barn would do double duty as extra storage.

15. I also think some large colored glass vases or jars would be beautiful...they could be found at yard sales or flea markets, but for now these Found Oversized Vintage Bottles from Pottery Barn would work.


Now its your turn! Here's what you do to join the party:

1. Create a mood board using one of the above inspiration chests.
2. Write a post about it, including sources (with a link back to this post so others can come look).
3. Add your name and project to the MckLinky here on this post (for example - Sarah's Coastal Guest Room).
4. Then add the link to your SPECIFIC MBM POST, not your general blog address.
5. Have fun checking out all the other wonderful rooms.

Thanks so much for joining the party!!! I'm hoping we're going to have some of the regulars back this week, as well as some new faces:)

  1. Modern Sunroom @ Decorating Obsessed
  2. My imaginary entry way
  3. Sunny Spring Sunroom @ Comfort and Luxury
  4. Living Room by Emily @ Timeless Paper
  5. Bedroom & Outdoor Room - Your Decorating Hotline
  6. Living Room @ Twenty - Six To Life
  7. Sun Room at Project Balancing Act!
  8. Jenny Frees Cheery Modern Home Office
  9. Odi et Amo - - Purple & Brown Nursery
  10. Jen Js bright & beautiful sun room.

  1. Family Sunroom over at Maddies Nest
  2. Sea - Inspired Nursery @ Our Portable Home
  3. Outdoor Oasis
  4. Funky and Cozy Living Room
  5. Sarahs Citrus Shaded Living Room
  6. Jess - Bright Whimsical Dining Area
  7. DIY Show Off - Cozy Guest Bedroom

  8. This linky list is now closed.

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