Aug
01
2014
New Beginnings // Back to School Blues + Red Hot School Supplies

My oldest little guy is starting first grade in just a couple of weeks. To say that we all have mixed emotions about this would be an understatement. If you follow me on instagram, you might remember this from earlier in the year. Well this year will officially mark the first time he is away at school all day, for five days of the week.

New Beginnings // Back to School Blues

1 // Backpack 2 // Name Labels 3 // Reusable Sandwich Bags 4 // Binder 5 // Incredible Ideas Notebook 6 // Lunchbox 7 // Stapler 8 // Pencils 9 // Notebook 10 // Address Labels 11 // Glue Sticks 12 // Backpack 13 // Cute Notes 14 // Mommy Contact Card // Hanging File Folder 16 // Let’s Get Together 17 // Post-It 18 // Mesh Sorter 19 // Backpack

Aside from getting him all of the typical things that are necessary for school - like cool pencils and binders - this school year I plan to super-size the idea of back to school shopping and not only round up some fun items for him to sport to class, but to make sure these things are unique and personal just for him.

For those of you who have boys, I know you feel my pain when it comes to finding items for them - once they are elementary age - that are deemed ‘cool’ in their eyes, are fashion forward without being too trendy and still boyish by nature without having superheroes or weaponry all over them. So in my quest to make this experience extra special for him, I online shopped my heart out and managed to find some fabulous supplies that fill these requirements. From special notebooks that inspire him to cute notes I can sneak into his lunch, I hope to remind him that I adore him and that I am thinking of him while he is away for the day, without completely embarrassing him with uncool or babyish things, of course. I gathered up some gorgeous gear in blues and reds to keep things tough and boyish and then made it interesting by breaking that up with greens, yellows, and the uber-fab black, gray and neutral as a base.

New Beginnings // Back to School + Red Hot School Supplies

1 // Brilliant Thoughts 2 // Glue Sticks 3 // Lunchbox 4 // Colorful Comic Thank you 5 // Pencils 6 // 7 // Sharpie Gel Highlighter 8 // Red Backpack 9 // Desktop Organizer 10 // Eraser 11 // Reusable Sandwich Bags 12 // Slide Into Fun 13 // Worthwhile Notebook 14 // Backpack 15 // Hanging File 16 // Red + Yellow Notepad 17 // Post-Its 18 // Binder 19 // Tape

While he is certainly growing up right before my eyes, he is still very young and because of this there are a few things I can do to make both of our lives easier and also more fun at the same time – especially since most of his free time at this age involves his social life and school itself isn’t particularly homework heavy yet.

  //  I created a mommy contact card that he can carry with him, just in case he needs to get ahold of me while he is out and about.

  //  To help him during his pre-phone calling years, I ordered a series of ‘let’s get together’ playdate cards. He can give these to his friends and they can pass them along to their parents so we can set something up for them. Otherwise, it’s fairly difficult to arrange for playdates once the parents no longer need to pick their kids up and drop them off at their classroom. Six and seven year olds aren’t really able to coordinate this on their own yet. 

  //   I made a gorgeous ornament from Tiny Prints to use as a backpack marker and I’m hoping it will help him to know which is his. It’s no fun to come home with the wrong one when there are several that look similar, and these little guys don’t pay much attention to what they are grabbing. I can’t tell you how often this happened last year, eek.

  //   Cute name labels should help him keep track of his supplies.

  //   Personalized address labels should make it easy to keep in touch with his friends and family who have recently moved – there are quite a few, and having his playmates become his pen pals definitely makes the loss less difficult.

By helping my cutest guy get all stocked up on school supplies, whether he truly needs them or not, I think it’s made him feel like a big kid who actually does need them and it seems like he is beginning to get excited about joining the ‘big kid club’ of school-goers! He may still be a tad nervous about the whole thing, but I know once he is there and settled in on his first day, he will be just fine.I just hope my attempt at creating some fun around an otherwise not so fun series of events and new situations helps ease his transition a bit, because it is breaking my heart to see my independent little guy, prefer to be home with his family. He normally dives right in with gusto and loves every second of anything that involves other kids. Apparently even he has a limit on his fun meter.

This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints, where every choice is a stylish choice.

Jul
26
2014
Piet Boon Bath for Room Envy // The Bathing Sophisticate + 5 Things

Wow, what a summer it has been so far! I hope you all are enjoying this break from the school year and the warm weather is kind to you. Maybe you are even making the most of things and wandering with a carefree mind. Regardless, I hope you make amazing memories wherever you may go. As for me, I am knee deep in projects and living vicariously through gorgeous images on pinterest and a complete and utter room envy. The places I find myself drawn to most, right now, seem to bring the lovely tranquility of vacation and travel into the home environment.

Piet Boon Atrium View for Room Envy // The Bathing Sophisticate + 5 Things

One // In my past life, I was a makeup artist. And by past life, I simply mean my former life, but the one that feels like it is so remote and distant now, that I hardly recognize it as my own. But, a makeup artist I was indeed. I used to do makeup for weddings and photoshoots, even for the Kings Royal Court Dance Team - which any of you who follow sports might know is our NBA team's group of dancers (cheerleaders of the professional dancy persuasion for the Sacramento Kings). I was fortunate enough to get to head out to the arena prior to each home court basketball game and style the girls for the night, then watch the game from the tunnel. We did touch ups either before or after their halftime performance and would be very up close and personal to the team goings on, heading into and out of the locker room (this is where the tunnel leads essentially), and with any celebs that were getting a bit of in person hang time with the team without having to be center stage out on the floor while they are watching the game. It was quite fabulous, if I do say so myself. 

Two // I wasn't always in an artsy profession. After my stint as a makeup artist, I worked in the Commercial Real Estate industry with an emphasis on Retail. This would be shopping centers and restaurants, all the places you shop essentially. I worked with a team at CB Richard Ellis, which is one of the largest commercial brokerage firms in the world, and certainly one of the most esteemed. We did both leasing and sales, and we worked a crazy amount of new development projects from the ground up. This basically means we did quite a bit of dirt dogging and land assemblage, then found the developer that would best suit the project and worked the sales of pad buildings and leasing of inline space throughout the entitlement process. My team also had quite a few tenant rep accounts which means we were instrumental in creating their roll out plan for entry and expansion into new and existing markets. So, all those stores you love to see come to your neck of the woods, that is because of a group like mine that helps plan out the retail tenant's master plan for locations in an area. 

Piet Boon Bedroom for Room Envy // The Bathing Sophisticate + 5 Things

Three // I'm scared of the dark. Yep, I know... It's like I'm 5 years old with this one, but I truly don't like the dark and I have a bit of trouble seeing in the dark to top it all off. I have difficulty seeing the various shades of black and gray and discerning uneven pavement or ground if I am walking at night outside... like through nature.  I'm sure you can guess how often I do that, pretty much never, but I have in the past and it's a bit of a nightmare. 

Four // I'm also terrified of things that are vast especially if they involve water, like the deep ocean or extremely large creatures that live in the deep ocean. The book turned movie, Life of Pi, would be my worst nightmare ever... In fact, the whole Tiger aspect of the story line would be way less scary to me, than being adrift on the open ocean. I know, go figure. 

Five //  I'm utterly fascinated with the concept of space, the universe, and the beginning of time as it relates to our existence. Though there is something of a fear that I associate with this since it registers as one of those things that is vast and frankly blows my mind a bit, but I absolutely love hearing new theories on this and learning about the new tidbits we discover and either prove or disprove about this subject in general. 

 

Living 
Sources
Jul
21
2014
The Design Confidential Wander + Be Free Print

It has been a crazy couple of months and I'm glad to be slowing down just a tad. With a million and one projects all converging on me at once, my baby seester's wedding and all the festivities that come with it, I haven't had a moment to stop and catch my breath. Of course this means I haven't had as much time to enjoy summer and my babies like I planned to. Since this my favorite time of year, I plan to soak up every last second of it before we start the schoolyear and are reduced to weekends and weekday evenings.

The Weekend Agenda // Wander + Be Free at Round Hill Pines Resort

We had the fabulous opportunity to do exactly that... to wander and find new places to explore with no precise plan and an adventurous spirit. It was such a lovely day for all of us, and since it happened to be the day after my sister got married we were fresh on the heels of exhaustion and in much need of relaxation. My cousin 'Loo Hoo' was in town from Florida, for the occasion, so we were chomping at the bit to get out of town for the day and leave our worries and our stresses behind. 

We actually started out with a fairly precise plan only to find that we weren't alone in our ideas and quickly needed to find another fun adventurous alternative for the day. If this hadn't happened, we never would have stumbled upon one of Northern California's greatest beachy treasures, as far as I am concerned. Living just outside the greater Sacramento area we are fortunate to be near the ocean in one direction as well as the mountains in the other. But our mountains just happen to rest alongside the gorgeous Lake Tahoe with fabulous beaches and beachfront marinas, quite often to be found with dining and roving waiters serving drinks. 

It's not the Mediterranean, but it's certainly one of our greatest little gems out here in the west. 

The Weekend Agenda // Wander + Be Free with Penn on the Beach

There are dozens of beaches that line the lake's edge, but one of our favorite's, thanks to this little segue of ours that day, is definitely Round Hill Pines. I never even knew this place existed and I suppose it's not surprising since it only recently reopened after sitting vacant for a very long time. Formerly a fabulous Resort and Marina in it's heyday, it is currently under renovation and should be ready take on it's former role as an adorable lakefront series of cabins, complete with tennis court and swimming pool, sometime in the very near future I hope! It was so very perfect for our little family with our wide range of ages and had a ton of fun for the older kids too (me of course). You can rent kayaks, paddle boards, jet skis, and large floatation devices that seat many people at once! I couldn't even guess what those are actually called, but I'm sure you know what I am referring to. 

The Weekend Agenda // Wander + Be Free with the Boys Relaxing and Playing in the Sand

After our day at the beach we headed into town, which had live music happening in multiple spots, and we had amazing food at one of our favorite places to eat. Just perfection... 

Have any of you had the chance to wander + be free? It was lovely to get to know my surroundings a bit better, there is such beauty here that I don't often take advantage of. 

Kiddos 
Sources

The print at the top is something I made from one of my photos that day. To me, it is everything that is summer and carefree fun. You can purchase it here

Jul
16
2014
Hammock and Lounging Area for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition

I gave you the sneak peek last week, and today I get to share the full reveal of this formerly unused space in my backyard! I was asked by my friends at Home Depot to create a fun DIY outdoor game as part of a new edition of their Style Challenge Series.

Macrame Badminton Net and Outdoor Living Space for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Picnic and Entertaining for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Lounge Area for Kids and Pets for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Teepee Tent Fort for Kids in the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Kids Enjoying Outdoor Picnic in Outdoor Oasis for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition

Here in this crazy yard of ours, it's hot in the summertime. Too hot to actually enjoy, which is such a bummer when you have young kids who want to run and jump and play all the live long day. It's also a pretty big bummer for this gal who loves to be outside and adores outdoor entertaining that doesn't involve a sweat off as the designated group activity. With virtually no mature trees in the entire yard except for this little cluster of plum trees in the far corner, it's fairly slim picken's if you are hoping to nab a cozy spot in the shade.

And then it occured to me... If I couldn't bring the shade to outdoor living space, then perhaps the solution is to bring a new living space to the shade. And just like that my Outdoor Oasis was born, and she's quite the star of the show. 

Bar Cart with Refreshments for Outdoor Sitting Area for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Little Kids Playing Badminton for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Big Kids Playing Badminton for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition
Outdoor Games and Fun with Relaxing Outdoor Living Space for the Home Depot Style Challenge Outdoor Games Edition

Without wanting to incur the cost of an entire backyard renovation at this moment in time, I decided to improvise by using items that would create a non-permanent living space and one that I can bring in a store away during the wet season here. I used a heavy duty jute rug as the foundation and then built in the fun that would keep even the littlest occupied while the grown ups got down to business with some friendly competition. There were sword fights, bug stomping, fort making, and some good old fashioned r and r. I even managed to sneak in some healthy treats that are normally pretty tough to get these kids to eat. Of course it helped that it was 100 degrees plus in the sun and that I froze some of the fruit to give it just a bit of refreshing coolness. Anything cold and sweet is considered a popsicle to the Bird so he was on cloud 9 with the crazy good spread to choose from. 

It makes me feel pretty damn good to finish another space here and to have created something that works overtime in the memory making department. We definitely don't get as much of that as I would like... But now we have the Oasis to call our own and something fun for everyone to enjoy, regardless of their age! 

Jun
14
2014
Room Envy and a Jetset Outdoor Space and Five Things About Me

I clearly have dreamy resort spaces on my mind, there can be no doubt at this point. You can see that proof in our last Room Envy installment. This isn't really a surprise given how much is happening right now in my life, its natural to want to escape or seek vacation like spaces. I want to bring this feeling into my own spaces so very badly right now it's ridiculous.

By the Pool with Room Envy and a Jetset Outdoor Space and Five Things About Me

So here goes... 

One // I'm so completely excited that Domino Magazine named this blog as one of the Best DIY Blogs! I am up there with some amazing talent, including two of my favorite gals Mandy and Cassity (seriously heart these girls so much), lots of other folks who you will definitely recognize, and others I am not familiar with yet, but can't wait to explore. Of course there are so many amazing DIY Blogs out there, and I know as these things go not all of them are recognized each time, but I like to think it goes around in a bit of a cyclical way.

Two //  I hired a gal to work alongside me here and she started this last week! It's such a relief to have an extra set of hands, especially this month. I have worked with people in the past here and there, but this is the first time I have brought someone on who is local and comes to work real office hours in real life and I think both the hubster and I are breathing a collective sigh of relief at what this will mean. I will share more on this later, for now I'm super happy and I'm hoping to lighten my load, increase my output, make the changes and put the ideas into play that have been circling for quite a while now. He is glad to hang up his DIY hat and no longer help with my projects. Not that he ever actually helped much, but man does he dislike all things home improvement and anything that involves doing things in and around the house or yard. We are a complete role reversal there. 

Model Couple in Room Envy and a Jetset Outdoor Space and Five Things About Me

Three // My little seester is getting married in a month and I am hosting a bridal shower here at my house for her next weekend. It's one of the major things on my list of June activities along with her Bachelorette Party the following weekend and I can honestly say that the wedding itself will feel like a bit of a vacation for me since it isn't something I'm in charge of or hosting. It's pretty exciting though and I love a good reason to throw a party, but it always seems like when it rains it pours, no? I could use a bit of spacing out with my TDC projects and wedding tasks and there is absolutely no chance of that. Eek.

Four // We are having a hard time with my older boy at the moment. He is 6 going on 16 and while he has always been an independent spirit and a bit high energy, it seems like we have definitely entered a new phase of behavioral stuff that I'm not entirely sure how to deal with. I know some things pass with time, but other things I feel are very important for nipping in the bud, so to speak, and in truth I am completely lost when it comes to finding a way of communicating these life lessons with him at the moment. I am a true believer that every child and person is completely different and unique and why shouldn't this apply to how they take things in and absorb them. I have been in tune with him for so many years that it shocks me to see this departure from that for us and my personal loss for finding this new way of communicating with him at this new age and level of understanding. I'm pretty sure he turned 6 and lost his damn mind, and with it all sense of reason and rationality so it's frustrating to be sure. Of course as a parent it's essentially my one and only job to help him grow and care for him so it's up to me to find this once again and I have tried so very many things that I'm not even sure what my next move is... gah

Five // I'm thinking about getting back into the design game. Honestly, I'm not sure if there is much time for this outside of projects and collabs for the blog and my personal portfolio. But, its something I enjoy so much, it's right up there with making things, so naturally I wonder if I should bring it on back a bit. They say do more of what makes you happy, right? Perhaps I should simply expand this portion of my work for the site and it would accomplish the same thing? In fact I'm sure it would, maybe more so than working with clients which is decidedly hard and doesn't allow me to express myself artistically in the same way. Yes, good idea... so if any of you have a good collaborative project for me, hit me up, I'm obviously in need of doing some design and styling projects for my mental state... but not till July or August please. 

Sources
Jun
03
2014
Room Envy // The Stone Cold Fox + 5 Things

I have decided that my favorite spaces take me someplace mentally. Is it this way for you? Maybe not quite a full frontal 'take me away' moment, but at a bare minimum they give me a feeling, a suggestion of something I like, or of something I would love to like if my life were different... if I were different. That doesn't necessarily mean I want to be different, don't think I'm getting crazy on you or waxing philosophical.

Room Envy // The Stone Cold Fox + 5 Things

So I hope to ease into things with this Room Envy series and see how it goes... I would love some feedback if you have the time. In the meantime let us envy this space and how tranquil it is since my own life is nothing of the sort and we can chat about some other things that aren't so deep and that I bet you didn't know about me. Or maybe you did and you secretly have that ESP thing happening. Or not, and I just took it to a weird place. 

One // I adore period films and shows (a la Downton Abbey for an easy reference). I always have. I have been a Master Piece Theatre addict since well before there was even a glimmer of Downton Abbey and while I think DA is good, it's actually only marginal in comparison to some of the others they have produced over the years. Some of their reproductions of the classics (Austen, Dickens) are also knock your socks off good (some could use an update). 

Two // I brush my teeth every couple of hours. I do not like the way dirty teeth feel. I know that this is not normal because other people don't brush this often or complain of this, but it bugs me and so I brush. If I eat, I brush. If I drink something other than water, I brush when I have a chance. I like my teeth to feel clean. If I am going to be gone for an extended period of time (like at a conference or all day thing) I will bring my toothbrush and toothpaste with me in my purse. So... there's that.

Three // I am obsessed with functionality. I use functionality as my greatest design challenge when I'm working on a space and I actually think about the functionality of things on an almost constant basis. I will not design a pretty space that is not utterly and completely functional, to the best of my ability and knowledge. Ever. It's a good thing I like a challenge. 

Four // I have crazy bad allergies. I am allergic to something insane like 98% of all environmental things. It sucks big time. I'm currently sporting one heck of a sinus infection and it's taking me down several notches at the moment... ugh. Also, it has me revisiting a few things in my home which I will be sharing with you next week; one in particular was a bit of a shock so it should make for good blog fodder. 

Five // My Blakey Love just graduated Kindergarten. Those of you who follow me on Instagram already know this, but it's a bit of an interesting thing for me since I feel equally happy and sad all at the same time. I have a tendency to dwell on things and my baby growing up too quickly is no exception, hence the entire beginning of this post, duh.

Sometimes I'm so clever I out smart myself, ha. But I like that I managed to come full circle with that last one and so I shall leave you on that note and hope you might leave me some feedback on getting a bit more personal here and expanding our topics just a tad. Of course that assumes you actually made it past the pretty pictures or the first sentence. Probably not. Crickets I tell you... 

Sources

Calvin Klein Home - Philip Dixon House

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