Friday, May 31, 2013

Best of May

I can’t believe my favorite month is almost over! I did have a great and busy May though.

I toured the absolutely gorgeous KC Symphony Showhouse (see parts 1 and 2 here)

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I finished my sustainable design class and shared a few tips here.

We saw The Great Gatsby on opening night. It was wonderful! Did I mention how beautiful the sets were?


I felt like I lost some good friends when one of my favorite shows, The Office, ended. I commemorated the end of an era with my Top 10 moments from the series.

I celebrated my 27th birthday with some of my best friends and my loving husband.


I completed my biggest DIY project to date: my dining room table and chairs makeover.

Table before and after

And I went home for Memorial Day to watch my brother get married!



I hope your month was just as wonderful! There are big things in store for June too, I can’t wait!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Resource You Should Know: Good Guide

Have you guys heard of the website Good Guide? I hadn’t until my sustainability professor mentioned it in class and I’m really glad she did. Good Guide analyzes products and companies in every category from body wash, air fresheners, apparel, and appliances, and gives them an overall score. The score is an aggregate of scores in 3 categories: health, environment., and society. For example, let’s look at one of my favorite eye shadow brands: Stila.




Stila Jewel Eye Shadow, Amethyst: 3.8

Rank: 4,328 out of 7,066 Eye Shadows · Company: Stila Styles, LLC

Health: 5.0

This product contains ingredients that raise a low level of health concern.

Environment: 3.2

This company's environmental policies, practices and performance place it among the worst 50% of companies rated by GoodGuide.

Society: 3.2

This company's social policies, practices and performance place it among the worst 50% of companies rated by GoodGuide.


I love how Stila’s eyeshadows look and perform but like 99% of consumers I had never researched their business practices so I was surprised to learn they rank so poorly. To start with, I really don’t want to be putting anything on my eyes that may not be good for my health. I also don’t want to support a company that has poor environmental practices and doesn’t have great policies for its workers.

With any negative review Good Guide always gives alternative products with better rankings. So now that I know I don’t want to buy Stila eyeshadow again I may try Sephora brand eyeshadow, which had an overall score of 7.8, including a 10 in Health and 7.2 in Environment.

Here’s another example, this time comparing household cleaners.

This Lysol Kitchen Cleaner had a total score of 5.3, which included a 4.0 in Health, meaning basically that some of the ingredients you breath in when you’re using that cleaner could be hazardous to your health. On the other hand, the Seventh Generation Multi-Solution cleaner had a total score of 8.6 with a perfect score of 10 in Health. I know which one I would rather buy!

Good Guide has a lot of ways to use their website. You can review the best and worst products within a specific category, research a brand’s items, or you can search a specific product. You can store lists of products to avoid or to try. They even have a mobile app that lets you scan a product and instantly get its score while you’re out shopping!

If you haven’t checked it out yet I would really recommend spending some time browsing on Good Guide. I’m anxious to hear what you think! Were you surprised by the ratings of certain products or companies?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Purple Office Inspiration

My brother and sister-in-law are moving into a new house this summer and I’m helping my sister-in-law design her new writer’s office. She already has a nice, big cherry wood desk but that’s about it. She also really likes purple, so I pulled some images of purple rooms as inspiration.

via Elle Decor

via Elle Decor

via Elle Decor

via Elle Decor

via Elle Décor

via Elle Décor

Which room is your favorite?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Most Unique Home Bar Ever

Have you guys seen Restoration Hardware’s new collection called “Objects of Curiosities”? The collection features interesting pieces made by artisans with romantic titles like “historical revitalist/collector,” “antique collectors/innovators,” and “antiquarian/naturalist.” Most of the objects are either a reproduction of a historical piece, like this bust of Adriane, or were inspired by historical pieces, like these botanical prints based on antique French pressed flowers.

I flipped through the catalog last night and while I did like a lot of the pieces, by far my favorite thing was this bar. It’s based on a German light bulb tester from the 1920’s. It would make a really interesting industrial piece in any room as is, but it was reimagined and repurposed as a bar. Take a look.

1920s German Light Bulb Voltage Tester Bar

1920s German Light Bulb Voltage Tester Bar

Isn’t that the coolest thing? Of course, since it is from Restoration Hardware, it’s not cheap. The full retail price is $1995 but it’s currently on sale for $1795. If you had the money and you wanted a home bar that was totally unique this could be amazing in your home. What do you think of it?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Soothing Rooms

I love colorful rooms and I’ve featured several on the blog. I know there are a lot of people that would rather stick to neutrals though. I do have to admit that neutral rooms can be really beautiful. These photos may have me changing my tune about wanting lots of color in a room. I especially love the rooms that have a muted color scheme with a few brighter pops of color thrown in.

Soothing neutrals with a pop of color :)

Jennifer Brouwer Design via Houzz

Sarah Richardson

Urrutia Design via La Dolce Vita

Heather Scott Home & Design

@Danielle Moss Chicago Home Tour // living room // white couch // pink and gold // @Pottery Barn white sofa // Aurelia throw pillows // @Caitlin Wilson Textiles gold throw pillows // Cocoa and Hearts painting // @Euro Style Lighting wall sconces // @Ballard Designs side tables // @Furbish Studio gold elephant // photography by Stoffer Photography

Danielle Moss from The Everygirl

Hernán Arriaga via Elle Décor

Pinned Image

Chris Goddard via At Home Arkansas

Pinned Image

via At Home Arkansas

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dining Room Table and Chairs Makeover

Do you guys remember when I asked for advice about my dining room chairs way back in August? Well, I finally got around to the makeover and I am thrilled with the results!

Dining Table After
Here’s a quick summary of the back story of the table and chairs: We bought them last May off Craigslist for $80. The table was the perfect size for our new dining room and the chairs were solid and in good shape, but they badly needed updating.

chair before
The chair cushions were especially bad. Not only was the fabric ugly and totally not my style, it was also dirty and it had lots of stains.

Back in August I asked you to weigh in on a fabric, which I really appreciated, but I ended up waiting to pick one until I had completed my textiles class. I ordered several fabric samples and  this fabric from was the winner. It only cost $7.90 a yard and I ordered 3 yards just to make sure I would have plenty in case I messed up (for the record I only messed up once Smile ). I think 2 yards would have been sufficient.

Premier Prints Carnival Village Blue Natural Fabric
My husband Ben did most of the refinishing on the table and I painted the chairs. He wanted to stain the top of the table a dark walnut color and paint the legs white, which initially I was a little unsure about, but now that it's done I absolutely love it!

I’m no expert at painting so I won’t give you a tutorial (there are plenty of other resources for that), but I did use one tip from Pinterest. I poured some paint into a plastic cup and then slipped a rubber band over the top to help wipe off the extra paint from the brush. It worked really well!

Here are a couple action shots of the sanding and painting process:

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The last step in the project was recovering the cushions. With the first cushion we took out every one of the 50+ staples which took a really long time. On the rest of them we sped things up by literally just ripping off the fabric and then taking out any staples that were sticking out. I used one of the old covers as a template for the new fabric. I used a pencil to draw an outline about 3 inches wider than the existing fabric. Then Ben used the staple gun to staple the fabric to the bottom of the cushion. We had the hardest time with the corners and they’re not perfect but they still look pretty good.

Chair after
To end the post I’m leaving you with a few before and after photos:

Chair before and after
Table before and after
What do you think? Do you like the two-tone look of the table? Do you like the fabric I decided on for the cushions? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thank you to everyone who’s viewed and pinned this post! Here are some answers to a few of your frequently asked questions:

-The paint we used is Clark+Kensington paint and primer in one, in Ultra White (available at Ace Hardware stores)
-The stain we used is Minwax Gel Stain in Hickory
-We did not use a sealant on the table or chairs, but I would recommend doing so. In the time since I originally posted this project, the chairs and table legs have gotten pretty scuffed up.

If you have any other questions feel free to leave them in the comments!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my 27th birthday! I love birthdays, especially mine Smile Last night we had some friends over for a little birthday party which was wonderful. Today I’m spending the day with my hubby before he has to go in to work at 10 p.m. He’s already spoiled me with homemade french toast, mimosas, flowers, and the kate spade clutch I wanted! It’s so pretty!


Also pictured are the awesome Birthday Girl glass my friend Jenna gave me and a Sugar Ray tank top from my friend Lexi. We went to the free Sugar Ray concert at Power and Light a few weeks ago and one of the crew members gave us this shirt. I told Lexi to keep it because it would fit her better, but since I’m the big Sugar Ray fan (it was the very first concert I ever went to! Sugar Ray and Goo Goo Dolls at the Illinois State Fair 1999), she gave the shirt to me for my birthday.

This weekend we worked hard to get the house ready for my party, which also involved finally finishing refinishing and recovering the dining room table and chairs! I’ll post more photos tomorrow but here’s a sneak peak:


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tribute to “The Office:” My Top 10 Moments

Friends, I hope you'll excuse me this morning as I take a departure from blogging about the usual topics to gush about one of my favorite TV shows. Unless you've been living under a rock you've probably heard that "The Office" is coming to end and tonight is the series finale. I'm a little emotional about it ending. The show has had its ups and downs over the years but it's absolutely one of the best sitcoms of my generation.

To celebrate the end of an era I put together a list of 10 of my favorite moments from the last 9 seasons of "The Office." It includes several Jim and Dwight pranks, some classic Michael Moments, a little Jim and Pam, and more. Okay, time for me to stop before I start crying.

Top 10 Office Moments

10. Jim’s Best Prank on Dwight

9. Stapler in Jello

8. Threat Level Almost Midnight

7. Bankruptcy

6. Michael and Erin Celebrate

The Office - "The Ultimatum" - Michael sprays Erin with champagne from Greg Bauer on Vimeo.

5. Parkour!

4. Gift Wrapped Desk

3. The Injury

2.  Bears, Beets, Battlestar Gallactica

1. Forever

Are you as sad as I am about the series ending? Did I include your favorite "Office" scene? Are there any moments I'm missing? 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Wanted: kate spade sale items under $140

Guess what? There’s a big sale at kate spade going on. Like, a really big sale. And a huge kate spade sale right before my birthday is a terribly big temptation. Good thing most of what I love is really affordable. Everything pictured below is under $140 and most of it is under $50. Take a look at all the pretty goods!

Kate Spade Sale Items

double bow studs, $19; tuttie flats, $99; birds over arches ipad folio, $39; astor court aurelia, $139; daycation passport holder, $19; plaza athenee short necklace, $49; la pavilion iphone case, $20; pasadena zippered chrissy wristlet, $49; ikeda drop earrings, $19 

Is there anything here you’d like to pick up for yourself?

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Great Gatsby Set


The new Great Gatsby movie comes out today and I am pumped! The book was good, although I think I probably need to reread it (I read it during high school and I don’t think I fully understood and appreciated it). But the main reason I’m excited for the movie is to see the gorgeous sets! I absolutely love the Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and Arts and Crafts styles that were popular during the Jazz Age. Oh, and Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t too bad to look at either Winking smile

Architectural Digest published a ton of photos of the set in its May issue. Here are a few of the gorgeous photos from the online story.






Stunning, right?! Is anyone else going to see The Great Gatsby this weekend?