Simple Tips for Creating a Cohesive Space

Simple Tips for Creating a Cohesive Space

You may have the picture-perfect vases and glassware that produce a glistening display in your cupboard. You might even own the most breath-taking Victorian era furniture in pristine condition. But even the most perfect of accessories can fall flat in a room lacking a cohesive space.Creating a sense of unity in your home is a top priority, especially when it comes to getting the most out of your preexisting style and decor. When it comes to designing your home, there is no right or wrong. It’s a matter of choosing what accessories, colors, and furnishings best suit you and making all of your preferences work flawlessly together.Every home is about as unique and varied as the individuals who live in it — so why not let it show? You don't have to settle for mundane color schemes or one specific style to create the ultimate look in your home.If your rooms seem to emit a sort of choppiness or you can’t quite get the looks of your room to flow, be sure to check out our simple tips for creating a cohesive look in your home below.

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The Fine Art of a Romantic Date Night at Home [Thanks to Bacio Catering]

The Fine Art of a Romantic Date Night at Home [Thanks to Bacio Catering]

The menu for the Valentine’s Day carry-out dinner was pure deliciousness . I pre-ordered the butternut squash lasagna and Scott ordered the steak medallions with red-wine reduction. Bacio clearly laid out all instructions for heating our meal and it came together in just a few minutes. There was plenty of time to enjoy sips of sparkling wine while preparing our courses.

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5 Surprising Things I've Learned in Retirement [Pt. 5]

5 Surprising Things I've Learned in Retirement

1 -  It's surprising, I only need about 1/3 of the current wardrobe in my closet. Most of those pencil skirts, silk blouses, short jackets and mid-height heels are simply not as necessary with my new lifestyle of working from home. Hello consignment shop and donations bags for the items that don't thrill me! I will need to spend some time creating my casual/active wear day-to-day style but I'm not in a huge rush. For now, I'm weeding through what I already have and no  longer need. That process always feels good.

2 - Integrating my work office and my home office spaces was more difficult than I anticipated. Odd little things like which stapler, pencil cup or desk accessory to keep for my home office space gave me pause. Some of these tools had been my daily essentials, in two separate work spaces, for many years. Figuring out what to keep and what to get rid of took some time so I decided not to rush the process. I'm finally completely unpacked and organized into my home office space.

3 - It is no surprise that waking up to an unstructured schedule reduces a tremendous amount of stress.  It's a bit like a perpetual week of Sundays and it's a life changer! I feel like I can now plan my days, weeks and life with more intentionality. One of my main goals has been to restructure my priorities and fitness is right at the top. One of the best changes is that I've added a consistent yoga/Pilates schedule to my week and have even started scheduling them in my calendar. When I make an intentional appointment it helps with my commitment. Though it could be tempting to loll on the couch and watch reruns of "Flipping Out" or "Below Deck", I'm finding my days are quite busy and productive.

4 - When you make a big life change, and leave a day-to-day workplace behind, you can't know how much you will stay in touch. I'm happy to report that friends/colleagues from my former workplace want to connect. I've been surprised at how many texts, calls and invitations I have received. It feels good not to be forgotten. I also find that I'm more of a "Yes" person now. My husband (the more spontaneous one) loves that I agree to more gatherings and events now that I'm not as stressed out with work.

5 - Despite the euphoria of retirement -- real life intrudes -- no surprise.  Whether it's a medical issue, as with our sweet kitty, Jack, or the ongoing concern for a close family member struggling with serious addiction issues, real life is that rude awakening sometimes. It is easier to be consumed with worry, or attempt to solve problems beyond control, when you have more free time. It's important to stay focused on life balance, especially when serious issues creep to the forefront. Keeping that balance is one of the main reasons Scott and I committed to turning off the phone and celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary last weekend. It was lovely and thank you for the wonderful wishes!!

Have you been surprised by anything lately??

 

In the Mood: Dine Al Fresco at Home

In the Mood: Dine Al Fresco at Home

Though I've enjoyed elaborate al fresco dining in the past, like this date night at home for Valentine's Day, a simple tapas menu is my favorite. It's easy to put together a platter of olives, nuts, crackers, cheeses, a bottle of chilled sauvignon blanc or rose', some pretty linen napkins and you have a perfect al fresco snack.

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The Fascinating Thing About Travel

The Fascinating Thing About Travel

The fascinating thing about long distance travel is how you can pack a bag, cue up in line, enter a veritable cylinder for a ride in the sky and hours later the door opens to an entirely different world. The language, the architecture, the smells, even the pace of life around you. It is a bit surreal, especially after a long flight -- or two or three -- and being awake 30+ hours, but I always love that moment. It feels like re-entry to the world or time travel, and I'm hooked on the experience. Long distance travel is grueling, but the reward is definitely worth it.

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Date Night: Al Fresco Dinner At Home

Date Night: Al Fresco Dinner At Home

It was an unusually warm Valentine’s Day this year. Scott had the brilliant idea of ordering in from the Chico gold standard, Bacio Catering, so that we could thoroughly enjoy our evening. Turns out this was the perfect way to enjoy a stress free date night and an al fresco dinner at home.

 

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Creating a "Sunny Escape" for House Guests

Creating a "Sunny Escape" for House Guests

Scott and I had the pleasure of hosting house guests for the long weekend. It was late summer and the weather was picture perfect for poolside lounging and some outdoor fun in Chico. My sister, Dorie, and her guy Michael, were up from Newport Beach for the weekend and I wanted to create a “sunny escape” for my special house guests. My first step is to prepare the guest roomFreshly washed linens, fluffy towels, candles and fresh flowers are a must. For this visit I added some lovely dark calla lilies to the mirrored bedside table.

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Creating a Cozy Space at Home

I was recently asked about my must-haves for creating a cozy, relaxing space. If I had to focus on one starting point to create a cozy space, I would say alwaysstart  in your bedroom. Let's get down to basics and focus on the most important element, the bed. We spend a large portion of each 24 hour period in our beds, sleeping, relaxing, reading, dreaming, napping and connecting. It's an important space to invest in layers of high quality luxurious sheeting, comforters, blankets, throws, pillows, and comfy details. I'm all about layering and a feeling of luxury in the bedroom.

Layers of pillows
Layers of pillows

The great 'pillow' debate lives on in our house. Scott bemusedly wonders, "Why do we have so many pillows?", but I can't live without them. I have pillows for comfy support, for creating just the right angle when I want to read or type on my iPad, and decorative pillows for a little style. My Savvy Sleepers satin pillow case (see the silky number above?), is a must-have for the anti-aging and smooth morning hair benefits. I'm addicted to mine (and buy in bulk for gifts)! I am also super excited to be carrying Savvy Sleepers in my Stylemindchic Boutique (online).

This is a fun post from Dale of Savvy Spice blog, creator of Savvy Sleepers, and she's wearing a Stylemindchic Boutique bracelet- it's so pretty on her.

Back to cozy comfort. My first high quality purchase of a sheet set was the gold standard Frette brand, while traveling in Italy. Luxury linens make such a difference in quality of comfort and sleep. And let's face it, even with sleep issues, like many of us have, comfy sheets help us feel pampered (as we toss and turn). My Frette sheets are still luxurious,12 years later, but I've never wanted to spend the money to invest in another set. Recently, I've been pleased to discover a newer brand, stateside, that rivals the luxury of European linens, with more reasonable price points. Parachute was developed by Ariel Kaye from California. Her experience with European linens was similar to mine. "Years ago while traveling through Italy, I found myself in a picturesque hotel on the Amalfi coast. After a long day, I got to my room ready to unwind. I pulled back the duvet, arranged the pillows to my liking, crawled into bed...and found perfection that I didn’t know existed. Those sumptuous sheets were softer than anything I had ever experienced." This young entrepreneur from Los Angeles started her own line of luxury bedding, with more accessible prices, when she saw the need. The company also gives back, which is a plus.

See more luxury at the Parachute website.

Beautiful linen sets

Swatches for lines from Parachute
Swatches for lines from Parachute

Luxurious swatches

Along with my linens, pillows, and a faux fur throw blanket, layered to create a nest of a bed, I add lightly scented candles, a fragrance reed diffuser, and a linen spray to add a freshness to the sheets, to my bedside table. My current favorite is here from London.

I love to add elements that have meaning, like the framed mirror that hung in our family cottage at Lake Tahoe for years, and the gilded dish my mother brought me from her honeymoon in Europe last year.

Scott and I purchased this chandelier at the Clignancourt Flea Market in Paris, during that same trip when we bought the Frette linens. Another element of cozy comfort for me is mood lighting. I love a chandelier, candlelight, and lights on dimmers, to set a mood in the bedroom. By the way, not every element has to be expensive. The wallpaper in our room is from Lowes, the European Square Pillowcases & curtain panels are West Elm and the chair was on a major sale at TJMaxx.

I appreciate little details like framed photos, sentimental items and, of course, fresh flowers.

 

Creating a Welcoming Guest Room

Creating a Welcoming Guest Room

Be my guest! It's finally the summer season which means many of us will be doing some travel of some variety. It may be a luxury resort, a tour, a road trip, a camping adventure or visiting friends and loved ones for a vacation. With that in mind, I've been in the mood to update our guest room for summertime guests.

Start with freshly laundered, high thread count (read smooth)  sheets.  I love to use all white sheets in our guest room for a fresh feel. I add a lightweight comforter, either down or hypo-allergenic (best for those with allergies). This bold black and white duvet cover captured my eye the other day and I'm liking the additional pop it gives the room.  I layer on a colorful coverlet, this one is DKNY, folded at the lower edge of the bed which can be added for cooler nights to adjust the level of warmth.

I always add fresh flowers~tuberoses, freshly cut roses or white lilies have lovely scents. Gardenias are fresh and fragrant from our garden during the summer season. I like to float them in a pretty vase or bowl. 

My mom, Jeri, is a flower lover and had fresh flowers from her garden in the house, most days, while I was growing up. This small tradition definitely makes life a little more beautiful. 

Lightly scented candles (don't forget the matches!) are another favorite touch.My current favorite is the Dayna Decker candle.  I always include an alarm clock but hopefully, no one will need to use it during a relaxing visit.

This glass dish is originally from my husband's family. Scott's mother had labeled it (using tape and waterproof pen) with this caption 'Daddy State's candy dish 1800's'. Labeling family heirlooms adds is an instant reminder to the family of the history of the piece. A history that might otherwise be forgotten.

Fluffy white towels are always a must in my house. Magazines for early or late night reading is a nice touch to deal with insomnia. I often include a travel magazine for dreaming about the next adventure.  Putting items in a welcoming basket is a good way for your quests to know you thought of them in preparation for the visit. This Kai perfume oil smells like a tropical holiday in a spritz.

When I travel I easily get dehydrated so a carafe of water within easy reach is essential to quench the dreaded midnight thirst.I like to change out the photo based on who is visiting. Our girls are our most frequent overnighters so I love to use this one from our trip to Cabo San Lucas in 2007.

On a tray, I include some favorite spa items like the MOR body butter, sugar scrub, and fragrant soaps.

A light summer weight robe is also a nice touch to avoid any 'mishaps' around the house. #tmiThis chic number in Greek key motif is one of my favorites.

A corner chair is always handy for conversation or putting on shoes.

This little sparkler was a find from Target.

The vintage print and two petite florals painted by my mom, Jeri, many years ago are special to me. Aren't they sweet?

My final tip~Stock up on toiletries and extra supplies for guests in the guest bathroom. I always supply toothbrushes & toothpaste, lotions, deodorant, band-aids, anti-bacterial ointment, and aspirin.

Typically my recommendation is that a weekend or long weekend is the perfect length of time for a visit. You know what they say about how guests and fish alike don't you??(After three days they both begin to stink.......ha ha ha -just jokes here!!;) I tend to follow that rule when I am a guest in someone else's home as well. 

Leave 'em wanting more.... also a great motto for life!

If you are welcoming guests this summer or being a house guest yourself,here's to long lazy mornings catching up over coffee, walking and talking, belly laughs and shared sunsets, with a glass of wine, enjoying those you love. 

Are you having house guests this summer? 

How are your travel plans shaping up?