Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Outdoor Living Inspiration & Ideas

I have been thinking a lot about outdoor living lately and how to make our backyard more kid friendly and fun. 

The last couple weeks, Alex and I (mostly Alex) have been busy giving our backyard a makeover! I will be sharing before and after photos soon (we're putting sod in this weekend!) but here's a little peek at some of the progress. 

This was taken during demo, it was a mess!

This was taken almost at the same spot, a couple feet back, and will soon be grass! Such a big change! 

It has been a lot of work but we know it will totally be worth it! Raegan will have a place to play and we will have a place to relax, all summer long! :) 

Since we're in the middle of a backyard makeover, I've been pinning a bunch of ideas and thought it would be fun to share some really fun and beautiful backyards. One of my favorite places for inspiration lately has been Home Depot's Patio Style Challenge. They invite a bunch of bloggers to give their backyard a makeover, with the help of a gift card and patio furniture set. It's fun to see how each blogger transforms their space into something stylish and useable. Here are some of my favorites:
Isn't this structure they built cool? Kind of makes an outdoor room. [via Lesley Graham's makeover]
I also love this table for outdoor storage or a bar area [via Lesley Graham's makeover]
I love Joni from Lay Baby Lay's design, especially these pink and white pillows she created with the help of her kiddos. [Image via Home Depot Patio Style Challenge]

And some inspiration not from the Patio Style Challenge:
I love so many aspects of this space — the planter boxes, overhang, the crisp white cushions — beautiful and classic! [via Style at Home]
I love this bar seating [via HGTV]
I think this built-in barbecue area is such a great use of space [via Eric Olsen Design]

You have to check out the before photos of this backyard, it's an amazing transformation and inspiring! [via The Hand Made Home blog]

Thursday, April 24, 2014

4 Tips to Create a Great Kiddo Space

Now that I have kids I love designing spaces for them. Here are 4 easy tips that might help you when designing kiddo spaces.

1. Go Bold! Kid spaces need to be bright and full of energy to encourage play. That's why they are perfect areas to use more patterns and colors than you might typically use throughout your home. I would still use a fairly neutral wall color, but create a striped or polka dot accent wall using bolder, more intense colors.

2. Create your own artwork. Artwork can be as easy or as difficult as you want to make it. If you don't have the time or resources to create your own artwork, I would recommend purchasing from or to get a more personalized feel. Not only is homemade artwork more personal it is also an inexpensive way to dress up you walls. The simplest way to create artwork is by using words and numbers, which can be done on almost any computer program. Here is some artwork I have created.

3. Use multi-purpose furniture. When I was designing Jena's nursery I did not purchase a single thing that served one purpose, even the crib can be turned into a double bed. Besides the crib the only furniture I bought was the table that serves as the changing table. If you can, use your existing furniture, it's cheaper and can be used later in other parts of your home when your kiddo outgrows it. Here are some alternative ideas to think about.
  • Instead of purchasing a specific changing table, use a dresser or a tall table. I purchased a commercial stainless steel table.
  • Instead of purchasing a glider, ask your parents if they have a rocking chair or a wingback chair you could use for a while. I used a chair that was my grandmothers and I get so many compliments on it.

4. Design with yourself in mind. Even though you are creating a kiddo space you will be spending a lot of time in there, so create a space you love. I love spending time in my girls rooms, because they are as much adult as they are kid. If you make the space too childish, you may not enjoy the space as much as you could. I would also not recommend using a theme when designing your kiddo space, one minute they are into it, the next they are not. Keep it classic so you don't have to waist time and money changing it all the time. If you do want to design with a theme, bring it in through the artwork and accessories, which is easily changed.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Food Friday: Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

We eat a lot of Mexican food in our house. Burritos, taco salad, enchiladas, fajitas and tons of tacos, mostly made with either ground turkey or grilled shrimp. 

This recipe is my favorite for shrimp tacos. I'm a sucker for anything chipotle and the combo of shrimp, chipotle and the creaminess of avocado is so good!

These Chipotle Shrimp Tacos are super quick and easy, pretty healthy and very tasty!

The photos don't do these tacos justice, they are much better than they look in the photo!

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
Small corn tortillas

Avocado slices
Shredded lettuce
Salsa Verde
*Chipotle Crema (a mix of sour cream, chipotle in adobe sauce chopped into very small pieces, lime juice, salt. I don't follow a recipe, but mix everything to taste.) I have made the tacos with and without this chipotle crema and they taste delicious either way. 

Combine shrimp with seasonings in a bowl and stir until the shrimp is evenly covered. 
In a large nonstick skillet, spray a little Pam (or extra virgin olive oil) and turn to medium-high heat. Add the shrimp mixture and cook until the shrimp is cooked and turns pink. Remove from heat and serve in corn tortillas topped with your favorite toppings!

See, easy right?! Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from a Cooking Light recipe

Monday, April 7, 2014

2 Ways to Style a Room with a Hot Pink Stripe Pillow

Pink is kind of a tricky color to add to a room. Especially hot pink. It's a bold color that definitely makes a statement. A lot of men shy away from it, thinking it's too girly, and some women are also hesitant to add it to a space for similar reasons. 

Girly is probably the last word I would use to describe my design style, but I love this Hot Pink Stripe Pillow! It's bright and fun and perfect for spring and summer time. (Plus it could work as an outdoor pillow as well — just email us if you're interested in an outdoor version!)

Lindsey & I thought it would be fun to come up with two different ways to style a room with this pillow. We each took the same pillow and used it as a jumping off point to design a room. 

I chose to design a living room with a comfy casual beachy theme. I picked neutral colors for the large pieces in the room — the furniture, curtains and lamp — and picked bolder and brighter patterns and colors for the pillows and art to really make them pop. Here's my design:

I really like how everything came together in a fun way. 

Some of these items I love so much I may even use in my own home! I've been loving Gray Malin's from-the-air photographs, especially from his Australia collection. I also recently ordered some of the palm fabric to make some pillows for my house. I can't wait! And the banana art is so fun I couldn't resist. The "all you need is love" chalkboard print is from one of my favorite bloggers Jessica of Little Baby Garvin

Here are all of the living room sources: 

And from Lindsey: 

Ever since we made the decision to move closer to Jeff's work, I have been obsessed with the idea of a playroom. It could be a converted dinning room, loft space or an extra bedroom, but it cannot be in the same space as the family room. It seems a bit ridiculous because we haven't even started looking, but this is the one thing I told our Realtor I will not budge on.

Because of this new-found obsession I chose to design a playroom. I love designing kids spaces because you can be a bit more bold with your color and pattern choices. 

Here are some ideas I've been thinking about doing in my playroom:

Here are all of the playroom sources :

How would you style a hot pink stripe pillow? 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Random Loves: Fun Interior Design Links & Ideas

I came across a few fun design links and ideas that are too good not to share! 

[via 6th Street Design School blog]
One of my favorite bloggers, at 6th Street Design School, has a series this week that tells the story of a room. She’s an interior designer and is sharing the whole process from start to finish of what it takes to transform a room based on what her client wants and needs. It’s a really cool process, so many choices to make along the way — everything from fabrics and pillows to lamps, furniture and rugs — and I love seeing the finished product. You can start this week’s design series here and at the end of the week, Kirstin will share the reveal! You can check out her last design series here. Isn’t her design just gorgeous?! I love her style!

Anyone else watching American Dream Builders? I could do without some of the drama between the designers, but love seeing how each team creates a completely new home from top to bottom. The latest episode was filmed in Palm Springs and featured two mid-century modern homes. Mid-century modern is not my favorite design style, but I can definitely appreciate it. My favorite house was the red team’s white and bright living room, kitchen and the backyard was gorgeous. Which house/room was your favorite?!

I've been loving botanical prints lately because they are a simple way to add some colorful art to your wall. A little while ago I came across this flickr site with tons of free botanical prints available! Birds, plants, fruit, animals, butterflies — there are so many! I found a couple monkey prints, above, that I printed, framed and hung in our living room. I love them! Here are a couple ways others are showing off botanical prints too:

[via Lauren Liess website]
[via Dimples and Tangles blog]

The other day I was searching around online for some pillows and somehow came across Zara Home. Did you know Zara had a home collection?! I didn't, and was so pleasantly surprised with their fun selection! Some of the things are a little pricey, but mixed in are some affordable accessories. Here are a few of my favorites: