Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Nine Things From Target You Need Right Now

Hello my dears, and happy hump day! I hope you’re all having a wonderful week so far. This weekend was a busy one for me: Saturday I helped host a bridal shower for my sister-in-law, and Sunday I attended the Go Blog Social Workshop. Both days were a blast, but by Monday I was pretty exhausted. I didn’t do a GBS recap like I did last year, but if you are following along on Instagram you can see my photos from the day. And yesterday I did not get a chance to blog because I was busy celebrating my hubby’s 29th birthday! Luckily he has a much younger wife who does not enter the last year of her 20’s for another 3 months.

My inspiration for the post today comes from wanting to show you some of my recent acquisitions for my home, two of which come from Target. So I thought, why not highlight those finds plus some other amazing items from everyone’s favorite superstore? Because I know you all love Target, right?

Target Accesssories


Blue Foo Dog, $13 // Blue Button Tufted Ottoman, $60 // Teal Stripe 9” Vase, $20 // Nate Berkus Gold Elephant Trinket Dish, $10 // Ceramic Hanging Planter, $15 // Black Kilim Table Runner, $18 // Nate Berkus Black/Shell 5’x7’ Area Rug, $130 // Blue Textured Line Pillow, $25 // Cream/Gold Ceramic Accent Table, $70

A few weeks ago, I bought a set of the foo dogs and the kilim table runner and I absolutely love them! The foo dogs haven’t found a home yet, but the table runner looks great in my dining room, especially with leftover blooms from Saturday’s shower on the table.

kilim runner and flowers

Target Foo Dogs

I found a few of the other items, like the ceramic hanger and the ceramic accent table, in this post from Emily Henderson about a budget room design she and her team pulled off in one weekend. Man, can that girl style a room. #jealous.

Have you found anything good at Target? Anything from this post or otherwise that you have your eye on?

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Thoughts on Best Picture

Thanks to everyone who read my post about women in entertainment earlier this week. Like I said, it was off-topic for me (although I have posted about TV and movies several times before), but I’m really proud of that post.

And as promised, here’s my thoughts on each of the Best Picture nominees. I had planned to post this on Tuesday, but I saw that Theory of Everything was out on DVD/On Demand this week, so I waited until I had a chance to watch that film before I posted. I’ve also taken the liberty of listing them in order of best to worst IMHO.

  1. Birdman: This was the first of the BP films I saw and it’s my favorite. I really enjoyed just about everything in this movie, from the storyline (has-been actor trying to find success again), to the acting (everyone is superb, especially Michael Keaton and Emma Stone), to the camera work (long, winding shots that follow conversations down hallways). I think this movie has something for everyone: it has a nice balance of humorous and serious material, and unlike a lot of critically acclaimed movies, it isn’t violent or too vulgar. It’s one of the favorites for Best Picture and it is definitely my pick.
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel: This was just adorable. It’s actually only the second Wes Anderson movie I’ve seen, but I can see he has a very particular style which I like. I really enjoyed this movie, but it didn’t strike me as a Best Picture film. I appreciate that it was much lighter and more jovial (but still with a bit of a darker side) than the other nominees, but overall the word I would use to describe it is “cute” (in the best of ways).
  3. The Theory of Everything: I thought this film was lovely. Eddie Redmayne was remarkable as Stephen Hawking, and Felicity Jones was equally strong as Hawking’s wife. Hawking’s/Redmayne’s physical deterioration was incredible and hard to watch, but the cinematography and soundtrack really helped lift up the movie from something that could be quite depressing. A very good movie, but not quite strong enough to earn Best Picture.
  4. Whiplash: This one is kind of an underdog, but it’s a strong movie that’s worth seeing. The acting is incredible (J.K. Simmons will almost definitely win for Best Supporting Actor), which helps you get invested in the story and the characters. However, there are basically only four characters in the whole movie, and only two of them actually matter. Also, the scope of the movie is quite narrow: a young student at a music conservatory who dreams of being the best drummer in the world is pitted against an intense and unorthodox teacher who holds his student’s future in the palm of his hand. That’s it, that’s the whole movie. But it’s worth watching, especially if you have ever studied music or love jazz.
  5. The Imitation Game: On the one hand, I’m very grateful to have learned about Alan Turning and his genius and unquestionably outstanding contribution to World War II. On the other hand, it was a pretty boring movie. It builds and builds like it’s going to be great, but there’s never any suspense (we know his machine will work and we’ll win the war). And while this was a true story about a real man who was homosexual, and it is incredibly unjust what happened to him and thousands of other gay men, as a story line it felt kind of jammed in with the rest of the movie. So overall: meh.
  6. Boyhood: We rented this from Redbox last Saturday night and I’m really glad we did (versus seeing it in theaters), because it was very long, kind of boring, and at times, depressing. I do appreciate what director Richard Linklater did here, with shooting it over 12 years so we actually get to see the actors grow up over the years, but nothing much happens. I guess there is a kind of beauty in seeing an average family age and go through what an average family goes through in a decade, but it doesn’t make for a very entertaining movie. It’s worth seeing, but I would suggest lowering your expectations (maybe that was part of the problem for me, that I expected to be blown away).

So while I haven’t met my goal of seeing all the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars, I’m really happy with my efforts (6 out of 8 ain’t bad). I have chosen not to see American Sniper yet, partly because I don’t like war movies, but mostly because it looks really intense and hard to watch. I was saving it for last, but now I think I’ll wait until it’s on DVD. And I’d really like to see Selma, I just haven’t gotten to it yet/ it hasn’t been showing at the right theaters and times. So I guess I’ll wait for that to come out on DVD too.

Have you seen any of the Best Picture nominees yet? Which was your favorite? I can’t wait to see who wins on Sunday!

P.S. Here’s a perfect companion piece to Monday’s post about the lack of women in the Best Picture: 12 Women Who Had the Perfect Response to Sexist Questions from

Have a splendid weekend, friends!

Monday, February 16, 2015

On the Oscars, SNL, and Why Women Matter

Happy Monday! I hope all of you here in the Midwest are staying warm today, despite the snow outside…is it Spring yet?? Who else is ready for warmer weather?!

Today’s post is not related to decorating whatsoever, but it’s something I feel the need to share so please bear with me. Also, please excuse the length, it’s quite a bit longer and wordier than my average post.

I’ve been going to the movies a lot over the last few months. As part of my Thirty by Thirty list, I made a goal to see all the Best Picture nominees one year before the Oscars. You see, I love watching awards shows, but I usually feel really out of the loop because I’ve only seen one or two of the nominated movies. So I decided to rectify this and hopefully see some great movies in the process.

Who else is super excited for NPH to host?!

The Oscars are now six days away, and even though I haven’t quite hit my goal of seeing all the movies, I’m throwing in the towel. I’ve seen five of the Best Picture nominees, and I may manage to see another one this week, but I think I’ve seen enough. Most of them aren’t wowing me, and in fact one of the favorites to win it all was downright boring (Boyhood). I’d like to share my thoughts about each of the BP nominees I’ve seen, but that would make this post way too long, so I’ll do that in a separate post tomorrow.

Now that I’m much better acquainted with the award-nominated movies, I’d like to pull a Kanye and take issue with the Oscars. Though I don’t necessarily agree with the Academy’s choices for Best Picture nominees, I think it’s a tough balance between recognizing artistic talent, regardless of whether the movie was liked or even seen by millions of people, and awarding great movies that people actually enjoy.

Oscar Nominations 2015: Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman Lead the Race

The two Best Picture nominees I did enjoy: The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman. Via

But what I really have an issue with is the lack of recognition of women in movies. There have been many articles written on this subject, especially this year when the nominations were particularly dominated by white males. “Oscars 2015: How Are Women Portrayed In The 8 Movies Nominated for Best Picture” from Popinsomniacs is a great piece on how women measure up in each of the movies. Aside from The Theory of Everything and Selma (which of course happen to be 2 of the 3 movies I haven’t seen yet), the women in the BP films are there as sidekicks to the genius and troubled male leads (if they’re even there at all…looking at you, Whiplash).  I’m not even going to touch the lack of racial diversity among the Oscars nominees; you can read more about that in this fantastic article from The Guardian.

Now if you’ll allow me to change the subject a little bit, I’d like to talk about last night’s Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special. I love everything about Saturday Night Live. Which, to be clear, isn’t the same thing as saying I love everything on Saturday Night Live. Obviously some seasons are better than others, some sketches are better than others, heck, some sketches can be downright terrible. But I love watching the show if only to catch those few moments of greatness.

Celebrity Jeopardy, SNL 40th Anniversary Celebration

via E! Online

Which is why I loved SNL40 so much, because they highlighted those amazing moments and gave us more (the Celebrity Jeopardy reboot was every bit as brilliant as the original, and any time Kate McKinnon as Justin Bieber appears on screen is a win for me). I got to watch so many of my favorite celebrities and cast members celebrate a show that I love. Aside from a few misses (Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy), I consider the anniversary special wildly successful.

And while there were many talented and hilarious men on the show that I love so much, there were also so many women there that I love and admire. Tina, Amy, Kristen, Maya, and many other ladies that I find so amazing and funny and strong and beautiful. I admire them and look up to them, even though I have no aspirations of a career in comedy or acting. They’re just cool women who can stand toe to toe with the men. They’re not there as sidekicks. They’re proof that women can be entertaining and talented and smart and, of course, funny.

photo via She Knows

Most of all, the women of SNL prove that women are worthy of notice (and not just for what dress they’re wearing on the red carpet, although I do love the fashion element of awards shows too). I want to see more women staring in, and directing, and writing, great films! We make up half the population and slightly more than half of movie goers. It’s time for Hollywood, and The Academy of Motion Pictures, to finally recognize that women are worthy of important roles, and not just as partners to men.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Three Things I Want in My New Home

We’re starting to look online at houses for our big move to St. Joseph, MO this summer. I love our house now, and if it was an option I’d stay in it for a few more years, but since I can’t I guess I can move on to something bigger and better. Ben and I have had a lot of conversations about what we want in our next house, and although there are many items on our wish list, these are the three main things we’re looking for.

1. An Upgraded Master Suite

Bath 2

Murphy Brothers Contracting via Houzz


Munger Interiors via Houzz

I love our bedroom now, but our bathroom and closet could definitely use some more space. The shower is pretty tight, so in the next house we’d love to have a walk-in shower like the one above. It seems like home builders and remodelers have finally figured out that while a big jacuzzi tub looks amazing, most people don’t use it very often. The ginormous shower is where it’s at.

And of course every girl wants a bigger closet. I don’t need something as amazing as the photo above (although I wouldn’t say no!), but I do need more space and more organization.

2. A Private Backyard


Conklin Limestone via Houzz

Our current backyard is a great space for Finnley to run around in, but it’s not the best space for people. The neighbors’ house behind us mirrors ours, and the neighbors next to us have a sunroom on the upper deck that looks down over us, so we never have any privacy. I’d love a big deck to grill out and have dinners on, and another area with some lounge chairs where I can sit and relax on a nice day, all out of reach of the neighbors’ eyes.

3. A Finished Basement Rec Room


Kyle Hunt & Partners via Houzz

Obviously I can survive without a second family room, but I’d love to have a finished basement with a rec room. It’d be a great place to lounge and watch movies, or have friends over for a game night, etc. And Ben would love to have a bar, which would definitely make the basement a great spot for entertaining. Plus it would give him an area of the house where he gets to control how it’s decorated. Winking smile 

We’d also like to start a family at some point while we’re in this house, so we’re considering the needs and wants of a family with small children while we’re house hunting as well. So the private backyard would give the kids a great place to play, the finished basement could house a playroom, etc.

Any advice for our wish list? Are/were any of the above items on your list for your next or current house?

Monday, February 2, 2015

DIY Valentine’s Day Banner

Hello, friends! Today I have a really cute and easy DIY project just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Vday Banner with text

I actually made this “Je T’Aime” banner last year for Valentine’s Day, but I was going through a bit of a blogging hiatus and therefore never got it posted. But I wanted to make sure I posted directions this year so you had a chance to make one for yourself!

My banner was inspired by this one by michiemay on Etsy. It was for sale on Antropologie last year, which is where I found it.

Je t'aime Banner

Isn’t it cute?! Now I absolutely support buying from individuals on Etsy, so if you’d like to buy the pre-made banner from her, go for it! I didn’t have $40 to spend on Valentine’s décor so I made my own version.

For my DIY version, here is what you’ll need:


  • Four sheets of cardstock in various hues of red and pink
  • Four sheets of tissue paper (I used two colors but you can just use one if you want)
  • Ruler and pencil
  • Sharpie
  • Ribbon
  • Hole punch
  • Paper cutter (optional)
  • Fancy edge scissors (optional)

Start by making your letters.

1. Cut out a 3” x 6” rectangle from your sheet of cardstock, either using scissors or a paper cutter. You’ll need two rectangles from each sheet.

2. Measure 1.5” from the bottom of the sheet and mark it. Make another mark 1.5” from the edge (center of the width). Make the intersection of these two points, and use your ruler to draw a straight edge from the bottom corners to this point. Cut out the triangle.

Step 1

3. If desired, use the fancy edge scissors to trim all edges of the rectangle.

Step 2

4. Draw one letter onto each piece. I free-handed mine, but if you prefer you can use stencils, stickers, etc. Be sure to draw on the side opposite of the one with your pencil markings. For the ombre look, start with your darkest shade of cardstock, then work in so the palest color is in the center, and back out so your darkest color is at the other end again. Be sure to leave one piece blank for the space between “Je” and “T’aime.”

5. Punch a hole in both upper corners of each sheet. I used a heart punch because that’s what I had around, but you can certainly use a regular hole punch.

Step 4

Next, make the tissue paper tassels.

1. Unfold your sheet of tissue paper, then fold it in half, and in half again.

Step 5

2. Make the fringe by cutting small strips in the tissue paper, starting at the open edges. Leave about an inch from the top, folded edge uncut. I found it easier to cut the paper when I placed something on the top edges. This helped me keep the layers together when I made the cuts.

Step 6

3. Once you’ve cut all the fringe, unfold the paper lengthwise.

Step 8

4. Cut it in half. This will give you two tassels out of each sheet of tissue paper.


5. Unfold the cut sheet.

Step 10

6. Tightly roll up the tissue paper lengthwise.

Step 11

7. Tightly twist the center part of your tassel.

Step 12

8. Twist the middle section into a loop. You should be able to twist it tightly enough that you don’t need to secure it, but if you want to make sure it stays together you can use a small drop of hot glue.

Step 13

Now you’re ready to assemble the banner! Cut a length of ribbon around 6 feet long and string on your materials, alternating letters and tassels. If you’re using a thin ribbon you may need to knot the ribbon around the letters and tassels so they don’t slide. I didn’t need to do that with my banner.

Vday Banner

Use washi tape or another tape that won’t damage your surface to tape the banner to your mantle. You could also use the banner to decorate a buffet, stair rail, or doorway.

Vday Banner 2

That’s it! The whole project took me about 30-45 minutes, pretty simple. I had all the materials on hand from my old scrapbooking stuff and other craft supplies, but if you went out and bought everything it shouldn’t cost you more than $5.

Do you decorate your home for Valentine’s Day? I’d love to see your décor, especially any DIY projects! Leave a note in the comments section. And if you make this banner, please share it with me! Leave a comment or tag me on Instagram or Twitter (@blue11interiors).

P.S. I’m also excited to announce that I’ll be making this project on TV this Wednesday! If you’re in the Kansas City area, you can see me on Better KC on KCTV5 Wednesday, February 4 at 9 a.m. I’d love to know I have a few friends watching!