Thursday, December 23, 2010

the new guest room

my goal for the guest room was to take a modern hotel room and give it an eclectic "world-traveler" vibe. the space also had to be comfortable for guests, but with low maintenance fabrics that could easily be thrown into the washing machine for cleaning.

these two pictures were my inspiration:

kristin cavallari's living room (shelterpop)

using those pictures, i came up with this mock up for the room:

here's the guest room before:

the headboard is partially moved away from the wall because
i remembered (mid move) that i needed a "before" pic.

the area between the bed and the closet

and here is the guest room after:

i like that the overall effect is simple but sophisticated. i kept the original lamp, nightstand and bookcase that were in the room. i practicallly STALKED the painting over the bed for a few months before snapping it up for a steal at a store closing sale last fall.

i've never been to paris, but i love the idea of the millions of anonymous lovers that have strolled past the eiffel tower over time.

my mtv inspiration for the room had a zebra-print coffee table/ottoman combo. of course, we didn't need a coffee table in the bedroom. but, i still wanted to bring in that look and a splash of color into the room with this pillow cover. i grouped it with a tan and chocolate lumbar pillow cover that i found on etsy. i looked long and hard for machine-washable throw pillows in styles that i liked before i settled on these two dry-clean-only versions. hopefully none of my lovely guests will decide to fall asleep and drool on them instead of using the bed pillows.

yes, i'm a little uptight about my throw pillows. my rule is that they are for decoration purposes only. you can lean on them, and prop 'em up against your back to get comfortable. but if you want to take a nap i will gladly bring you a real pillow, even if you're on the living room sofa. i think it's a manifestation of my germaphobia. i used to get so bothered when my husband would knock the throw pillows from our bed onto the floor every night and then just put them back in the morning that i finally found a permanent home for them in our bedroom sitting area.

since both of the pillow covers were a bit on the pricey side, instead of spending more money on pillow forms, i reused the square throw pillows from the original comforter set. to get them to the right sizes, i cut open one end and took out the right amount of stuffing before putting them in the new pillow covers. for the lumbar pillow, i had to cut out about half of the stuffing and then squish the rest of it into a rectangular shape.

a guest room wouldn't be complete without a mirror. this one is a target find that was $50 when i first saw it. i loved the classic look and i also really liked that it "mirrored" the arched windows from my inspiration picture. what i didn't love was that price.

after a couple months of stalking i was stoked to find the mirror on clearance for 50% off. i wanted to do a happy dance right there in the aisle. instead, i took a picture. unfortunately you won't get to photographically share in that moment since i took the picture on my dearly departed blackberry.

here is the other side of the room. the curtain rod is from ross and the glass vase is from marshalls.

here is a close up of the curtains. the curtains and headboard are ikea hacks that i talk about in more detail in this post.

every guest needs a spot to hang up their jacket/purse. so, i installed a cheap little hook from hobby lobby underneath some artwork that i picked up on clearance at a local boutique that was closing one of its locations.

it took a while to pull together, but i'm really happy with the end result. if you're ever in houston, stop on by for a visit. everything will be freshly laundered and ready for you.

have you ever stayed at a hotel whose decor you wanted to bring home? and am i the only one who is germaphobic when it comes to throw pillows? don't even get me started on hotel linens...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

guest room preview

in the effort to get the house all spiffy and nice for thanksgiving company, i made a final push to finish up on a project that i first started waaaay back during labor day weekend.

i finally finished the guest room!  in my defense, i've actually been in the home stretch of this project for a while now. but with an 8 1/2 month old babylove, even the smallest of tasks is hard to tackle after an 8 hour workday and then getting home and feeding, changing and bathing her. i get exhausted just thinking about it.

here's the before shot:
yes, i could have straightened up first...

and here's a little sneak peek at some of the work that went into the room:

the guest room was the only bedroom in the house that didn't have any kind of window treatment.  i knew that i wanted some classy looking curtains in the room, but i didn't want to spend a ton of money on them. so, i created custom trimmed curtains with the help of some inexpensive ikea curtain panels and the following items.

iron on hem tape and patterned ribbon

the original headboard in the room is a pier 1 purchase that has been with me for a few years.  i bought the matching nightstand, side table and bookshelf with it as well.  the set was originally in the master bedroom before we moved it over to the guest room after we bought a new bedframe.  i still really love the original headboard, and hope to use it again in the future, but it didn't quite fit with my image of this room, which was of a modern, eclectic hotel.

so, we stashed it under the bed and i got to work creating a new headboard that i saw on my favorite home diy blog.  i have to admit, i was a little leery taking on this project.  i have notoriously bad luck when it comes to putting things together, but i decided to give it a try anyway.

stabilizing board

i'm guessing that the youngster's version doesn't make like a 504 boyz song anytime you touch it, but with it pushed up against the wall and held in place by the bed, hopefully no one will notice that little detail {fingers crossed}.

can't wait for y'all to see the finished room!

love this cool doorhanger that was "borrowed" from a local boutique hotel

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

everyone loves: christmas photo cards

i've always been the type of person to send out christmas cards to friends and family. back in the day, if you picked up a pack of cards from the store, addressed them and mailed them out, you were good. to quote a talented singer: things in the game done changed.

once folks in my peer group started reproducing, they started getting a little creative. with social media, we're used to hearing about little johnny and madison's every move. but back in the day the only way i could get an update on the lives of my extended circle of friends was via those cute little photo christmas cards. some had pictures of the entire family, while others had just the kids, some cards even included status reports of everything that each member of the family had done since last year's christmas card.

as dorky as it might seem, i have to admit that once i got pregnant, i, too, started looking forward to years of sending out our very own christmas photo cards after babylove's arrival. i mean, let's face it, it's just not as fun to get a picture card with two adults that you know staring back at you.

mmmmm.....not so much

luckily, the internet makes it super easy to create professional quality cards at home. my preferred photo website is shutterfly. in addition to being able to upload and print pictures from their site, they also have a bunch of cool products like graduation announcements, calendars, and of course, holiday photo cards.

in the past, i've used shutterfly for everything from making memorable wedding thank you cards (similar to this one except in the limo after the wedding ceremony and not as cheesy). three years later, some of my friends still have our thank you cards on display.
photo courtesy of
i also used shutterfly to make photo books for both of sets of grandparents with my maternity pictures and babylove's newborn photo shoot in it.

my favorite shutterfly feature is the photo share sites. i used it to create an online photo album for babylove that i update every month and share with friends and family. unlike certain websites (that shall remain nameless), you can password protect your entire photo album website and also set privacy levels within the albums so that only those that you give permission to can save or download the posted pictures. perfect for a private person like me.

okay, back to the christmas cards: there are so many cool designs to choose from that it was almost hard to choose. i really liked the cards with multiple images of the family members in various states of holiday happiness.
however,a busy husband and baby + photoshoot would require a bit more of an effort than i can muster right now.

i liked this one as well, although for christmas i would probably like something a little more formal.

the previous two examples are actual folding cards. but in the end, i ended up choosing this flat card since i tend to draw a blank when it comes to filling up the inside of a card with sweet, flowery nothings. i also really love the paisley design and the classic red and green coloring.

with that out of the way, now all i need is to snag somebody to take our picture in front of a christmas tree, which i plan to do this week. if i can get the cards in the mail by early next week, that will still leave a couple of weeks for people to enjoy them before christmas.

want to score free holiday photo cards of your very own? click here to find out how.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

thanks for the memories

thanksgiving has come and gone and it was a whirlwind of activity.  we hosted both sides of the family at our house for the first time.  i love the fun-ness of having people over and hanging out. but as my dear, sweet husband recently pointed out, i also have the type of personality that gets me all into a cranky frenzy when preparing to have people over.

i decided that the best way to keep myself from going over the edge was to take a logical approach and prepare for everything ahead of time.  armed with my menu and grocery list (all stored in my whiteberry) i hit wal-mart on the sunday before thanksgiving.  i picked up all of the food items that i would need and also got a much needed oil change.  gotta love multi-tasking at wally world.

at this point, i was feeling ahead and the game and like i had a handle on things.  until tuesday night, when our air conditioner decided to stop working.  normally this shouldn't be a problem in late november, except that i live in houston, tx, home of the purple sprite crazy weather.  supposedly a cold front was going to hit by turkey day, but all i could picture was 15 of our relatives sweating to death in our hot ass house and the holiday being ruined for everybody.  i had taken the wednesday before thanksgiving off from work, so after a frantic call to our home warranty service and a few fervent (shouts out to DP) prayers, i had an appointment to have someone out to the house that afternoon.

wednesday morning i dropped babylove off at daycare and went by my neighborhood heb to pick up all the drinks for thanksgiving. i was planning to make some sangria to go along with the usual sodas and waters.  even though i'm grown with a child of my own, i always feel like my mother is silently counting my glasses whenever i drink "adult beverages" around her.  with sangria, at least i could disguise it with a bunch of fruit and stick it in a nice little pitcher.

i also needed to buy one of heb's cajun seasoned turkeys, which ended up coming with a bunch of assorted items as part of the combo loco. usually, i love combo locos because not only is it fun to say "combo loco", but, everyone loves free ish. however, i REALLY hate when the items are not all grouped together in the same spot.  here i was on a Mission to get in, grab my turkey and drinks and get out, but there was no way that i was leaving free items on the table, even if the free items were an foil pan, some salad dressing, iceberg lettuce salad, store brand sodas and ice cream, frozen asparagus tips and some store brand stuffing.

so, after schlepping all over the store for my items, i was back home by noon and ready to start cooking. i had baked the cornbread for the dressing and boiled sweet potatoes for the casserole just as the a/c guy showed up.

when i tell you this guy had me SO worried that thanksgiving was gonna be a bust!  he just seemed generally out of it and unsure of himself and was puttering around for like 2 hours before he finally found the problems.  besides the freon not circulating properly, apparently some duct work blew out in the attic, so we basically had a stream of nicely chilled air blowing out through this giant hole and disappearing into our hot ass attic.  lovely.

a/c guy wasn't authorized to repair duct work, but he was nice enough to rig up a covering for the hole with a bunch of trash bags and some duct tape. very macgyver-like indeed.  needless to say, this was a bit nerve-wracking being so close to quitting time on the last business day before a national holiday.

while he was working, i cut up the fruit and combined all the ingredients for the sangria.  apparently it needs to marinate chill overnight for all of the flavors to be at their best.  once the a/c guy left, i decided to run by hobby lobby to whip up my DIY table runner.  i had drawn inspiration from a couple of blogs that i frequent, so i was feeling very creative.  i had already used metallic spray paint on some gourd vegetables and a couple of leftover halloween pumpkins to use as a centerpiece, so i found this cute gold and black fabric to match that theme.

plus spray paint

equals fabulous. eat your heart out BHG!

late in the afternoon, i was starting to second guess myself about the amount of food that i had bought.  i'm used to cooking for two, but more than that-not so much.  after some googling, i ended up making another run to heb for a second, smaller turkey (which was, of course, followed by me hunting down all of my free combo loco items).

i got back home with all my loot and then decided that i needed to make more sweet potato casserole.  at this point, my feet were hurting from standing all day.  with my well-orchestrated shopping plan in ruins, i didn't have the heart to go back to heb where the cashiers could probably recognize me on sight, so i slunk over to fiesta instead.

by wednesday night, things were back on track and i made plans to start the final food prep the next morning.

the thursday morning cooking was pretty uneventful.  i did have one last minute snafu and, yes, ANOTHER trip to heb after i discovered that the foil pans that i had baked the side dishes in were a little too big to fit into the base of my chafer set.  picture me 5 minutes before the store closed with my huge foil pan from home in one hand in the aisle literally testing out the smaller ones to make sure that they would fit. not a pretty sight.  once i got home, i then had to transfer four pans of food into the new ones, which i was still doing when guests started to arrive.

check out the spread:

front entryway
for the non-turkey eaters

winner for best repurpose of free loco salad goes to...

 i forgot to take a pic of the sangria, but trust me, it was good!  i really had a great time getting my black martha stewart on and spending time with family.  and after 3 years of marriage, a bunch of previously unused wedding presents (like our margarita pitcher set, fine china and silverware) all saw the light of day.

hope y'all had a good one!