Thursday, October 31, 2013


Happy Halloweenie, everyone!

Hope you all have a fun, safe, candy-filled night!

À la vie et à l'amour

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Closet Improvements for FREE!

There is nothing quite like the feeling I get from making an improvement to my home for nothing more than the cost of a little elbow grease.

When I walked into my husband and mine's shared walk in closet one morning a few weeks ago and was met with this I knew it was time to make some serious improvements.

Or possibly just torch this area of our home.

Somehow this small area that I use every day had become a drop pile for anything we didn't have a specific place for or were too tired/lazy/hoard-y to put away or get rid of.

In additional to being a catchall space,my husband's side was filled with clothing that was too big because he has lost over 50 pounds this past year.
So I helped him clean out a few of those clothing items to donate:

I put all of the non-clothing items in the attic, vacuumed the baseboards and carpet, and then re-used all of the same organizational baskets, boxes, shoe storage, etc that I already had on hand.

I organized my husband's side by clothing type - athletic shirts, short sleeves, long sleeves, dress shirts, pants, jackets and coats.

My side is organized by color.
Because I like rainbows.
And also unicorns.
Which is a complete side note because I don't actually own a unicorn and if I did I certainly wouldn't have it in my closet.
Because it's too small.
The closet, not unicorns because those are actually pretty big, I think.

Obviously the hard part is keeping it clean and organized so I wanted to show you what it looks like several weeks after the initial cleaning and organization.

Of course now I'm thinking of all the ways I could improve this space even more.
Such as painting the dresser and putting some cool hardware on it, adding some pretty decorative baskets and boxes, etc.

It's so stylish and organized and I will probably be dreaming about this for weeks!
I am sure she will be posting soon about the DIY details and I can't wait to read all about them because usually her projects are pretty simple to do and are usually very affordable.

But, for now, I'm happy and content with my FREE closet makeover!

À la vie et à l'amour

Monday, October 28, 2013

Simple Halloween Decorations

I really want to kick myself for not posting this several weeks ago since it's now only a few days until Halloween and if you haven't already decorated for this holiday, most likely you have no plans to do so.  

But...I am rather fond of my Halloween decor and the good news is that with only a few small modifications, my simple Halloween decorations become simple Thanksgiving decorations and I might even get around to posting about that somewhere around Christmas time or possibly Valentine's Day.

As my kids have gotten older and life has become busier and more complicated I have made a conscious effort to really simplify just about every aspect of life, including seasonal and holiday decorating.

Certainly I want to make our home festive and fun but if it's too difficult or complicated I lose all motivation because I really just want to be able to enjoy those specials seasons and celebrations with my family without too much fussiness.
Or clean up.

So, here's what our home looks like for Halloween.

And, yes, that is a real Ouija board on top of my dining room hutch.

I use it for decoration rather than summoning dead people because I'm fairly certain it's defective.
We totally tried to contact Elvis when we first got it and that little plastic piece just sat there.

Also, my son announced last night that he wants to be a rock for Halloween so if anyone knows how to make a rock costume cheaply and easily please let me know right away!

Otherwise my kid is just going to walk around in a gray sweatsuit with the words,
"I'm a rock"
on it.

If you're looking for some simple and inexpensive homemade Halloween costume ideas (other than a rock) be sure to check out my post here with 15 ideas for Cheap and Easy Homemade Halloween Costumes!

À la vie et à l'amour

Friday, October 25, 2013


While my oldest daughter has been diligently working on college applications, I have been diligently working on finding great ideas for her future dorm room.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my college dorm room pretty much sucked.
I couldn't possibly have her share the same fate.

My plan is to find cool, durable pieces that she can use now while she is living at home that will be perfect for small space dorm room living a year from now and will also work when she lives on her own in her first apartment.

My top pick is a large trunk or foot locker. 
A trunk is perfect for storing extra blankets and bedding, out of season clothing, books and toiletries, a large stash of non perishable snack items, a collection of cats, dead bodies, or whatever it is that you want to take with you to college but you maybe don't want to look at every day.

But, in addition to the obvious storage functionality, I like that there are so many ways it can serve as a piece of beautiful furniture.

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For her birthday, my daughter received this fantastic crimson red trunk.

She's using it now to store items she is planning to take with her to college.
We topped it with a small sheepskin from Ikea (also a birthday gift) and now it's a super soft seat in her room and I can sit on it and talk to her about important things like sloths and New Girl while she tries desperately to kick me out of her room.

But mostly she just throws crap on top of it that she doesn't have time to put away.

Which I suppose is also a perfectly legitimate use for a trunk.

À la vie et à l'amour


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Be Faithful

Once again, I'm working on making changes to my blog's aesthetics or, as they say in show business, 

"I'm having some work done."

Hopefully when the bandages come off it'll be even better than a Joan Rivers facelift!

While I'm away, I have a photo from the August 2011 issue of Real Simple magazine to share with you...

Before you think I've lost my marbles, let me assure you this is not a look I'm trying to achieve in my home.

I am sharing it with you because of the quote that was also included beneath it from Billy Baldwin's decorating book, Billy Baldwin Decorates.

It reads,
"Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style."

It's my favorite decorating message/mantra and the first page I see when I open my giant black binder full of decorating ideas.

Preach, Billy!

À la vie et à l'amour

Thursday, October 3, 2013

This living room...

makes my eyeballs happy.

 And now your eyeballs can be happy, too!

À la vie et à l'amour

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Good morning faithful friends!

I have missed you all terribly but I needed a sort of extended brain-cation to get myself in order which still hasn't fully happened but I feel like minor progress has been made.

Until yesterday.

I was perusing one of the numerous blogs I read regularly and saw a fantastic 'Before and After' room decorated by an equally fantastic designer.
As I scrolled down there was an idea board complete with photos of the items used in the room along with the price of each item.

And there it was...
A four-effing-thousand-dollar coffee table!

I am not sure why I was so bothered by the high price tag on this coffee table but I couldn't stop thinking about how many lives (both human and animal) could be changed by $4000.

If I had $4000 to spend on a coffee table I could probably pay for lots of medication that would keep me from obsessing over stupid things like, "Why does someone need a $4000 coffee table?"

I mean, seriously, you can't take that stuff with you when you're gone. 
Unless it's a $4000 trunk which I suppose you could be buried in it if it were a really large trunk, or if you were a really small person, so that might actually be a furniture piece worth the investment.

I could probably fit into this one but you'd have to really squish me in.
It was depressing.
But it was also inspiring.

Not in the now-I-want-an-expensive-coffee-table sort of way but in the, 'you don't have to spend $4000 on a coffee table to make yourself happy' sort of way.

Do you see this cute little pot?

I happened upon it while thrifting a few months back and paid a whopping $2.00 to bring it home where it sat empty and lonely all that time.

Yesterday, while at Lowe's, I found the perfect size plant for the pot and it was on clearance for $5.50!

I snatched it up, replanted it into my little pot and added it to my desk tray.

It made me so happy to see it this morning when I sat down to work at my desk.
And it didn't cost me $4000.

And you know what else?


It's a ladybug, which are supposedly lucky.
And it was crawling on the edge of the valance that hangs above my desk.
I can only assume it was hiding amongst the leaves of my new plant when I brought it home.
Maybe that plant will end up being the best $5.50 I ever spent!

...Or maybe I just need to have my house sprayed for insects.

À la vie et à l'amour