December 29, 2014

A Look Back at 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at what we accomplished this year.  I am incredibly grateful that so many of you have visited to check out one of our projects...and stuck around to see more.  At the start of 2014, I wrote a list of goals that we hoped to complete.  We didn't get to all of them, but that's what 2015 is for, right?

In January, we posted a tutorial for out mantel hood project.  Hands down, my favorite project of the year.  For not much money, we took the whole look of our kitchen to a new level by removing the over-the-range microwave and replacing it with a DIY mantel shelf.

In February, we added this DIY chalkboard to our newly decorated entryway and I have enjoyed changing it with the seasons.

December 22, 2014

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas!

I would like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year.  I am so grateful for the friendship and support that you have given me.   I hope you all know that the wonderful e-mails and comments you send me are among the best gifts I have received this year.  I look forward to a New Year full of lots of fun, new projects.  But first, I will be taking a blogging break while my kids are out of school for their holiday break.
See you in 2015!

December 20, 2014

Master Bathroom Flowers

I don't do many sponsored posts, but when I saw the e-mail from the Bouqs, I couldn't pass up the offer for flowers!  We often send flowers to our family and friends and I was happy to have the opportunity to see for myself just what we would be sending them if we ordered from The Bouqs.  I was able to choose which $40 bouquet I wanted and I chose the Killer bouquet for a pop of color in my master bathroom.  I often keep fresh flowers in bright colors in our bathroom.  It livens up the whole room and adds so much freshness.

December 19, 2014

Stamped Shortbread Cookies

Stamped shortbread cookie
When I spotted a collection of cookie stamps on a table at my local HomeGoods, I knew that I had to try one.  Simple shortbread cookies are my favorite and I just love the way the stamp makes these look!  I purchased my stamp at the store, but I also checked out Amazon because I wanted to see what other varieties were available.  You can find the stamp here.  I used the recipe that came with the stamp and these were as delicious as they were adorable!

December 13, 2014

Our Chistmas Master Bathroom & Bedroom

The holidays are such a busy & rushed time.   I look forward to relaxing in a hot bath whenever I get the chance.  I enjoy adding some holiday color to our master bathroom at Christmas.  I love the pop of red against the soft green walls.

December 10, 2014

On My Mind This Holiday Season

Hello friends!  I thought I would start the week by taking a break from our Christmas home tour and take a minute to post a bit about the goings on around here.  I feel like I have been immersed in a whirlwind of decorating, picture taking and writing blog posts.  I don't enjoy getting caught up in the perfection of it all.  I have always enjoyed holiday decorating and love being able to share it, but it starts to feel a bit superficial.  And not at all what Christmas is really about.  The other evening, while I was photographing our living room tree at night, my youngest boy was practicing playing his saxophone in the room.  I was struggling to get that "perfect" glowing tree shot.  He kept standing in front of the trees, so I took one quick shot and got this.  I love it.  Sometimes, I put so much planning into getting the perfect picture.  But usually the best shots just seem to happen, don't they?  I need to remember that.

December 8, 2014

Christmas in our Living Room

Welcome to our living room, all decorated for the holidays.  This is the main living area in our split level home.  Because we removed a couple of walls, this space is also open to our kitchen.  We have a real tree up here this year and it smells so pine-y and fresh.  This room is casual and comfortable and full of some of our favorite Christmas things.  I hope you enjoy taking a peek!
Red and white Christmas living room with striped

December 6, 2014

Christmas in the Kitchen

Welcome to our Christmas kitchen!  There is lots of holiday decor in this space.  We will spend lots of time here in the next few weeks, baking cookies, preparing holiday meals and just hanging out as a family.
White kitchen with dark wood island and DIY mantel hood decorated with holiday

December 4, 2014

Our Christmas Family Room

Welcome to our rustic Christmas family room!
French door leading to rustic Christmas family room with stone

December 2, 2014

Rustic Christmas Mantel

Our family room is the most traditional room in our home.  The dark wood tones on the mantel and the stone fireplace bring a rustic and comfortable vibe to the room.  I decided to stay traditional on the mantel this year as well.  
Corner stone fireplace in rustic lodge style Christmas family
The first thing I purchased for the mantel was the round mirror.  We don't have a lot of space between our mantel and ceiling but I have been looking for a mirror that would fill most of the space.  Everywhere I looked, the round mirrors were too big or too small.  I searched for weeks.  I gave up and bought a white windowpane mirror at Hobby Lobby, but I felt like I was settling.  Then, lo and behold, I saw this mirror tray at HomeGoods sitting on the shelf and I actually may have heard angels sing when it measured just the right size.
Round mirror with Christmas decor and antlers over stone fireplace in family

November 28, 2014

Our Rustic Christmas Entryway

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday.  We are spending the weekend finishing up our Christmas decorating and *maybe* I will find some time to do some online shopping.  But, I am most excited to start sharing the Christmas decor that we already have up.  Welcome to our Christmas entryway!   This is the first place our guests see when the they enter our home so I thought it should be the first of our Christmas decor to share.  Come on in!
Rustic lodge style Christmas entryway in split level home with Target

November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

I have been taking a pause this week from the hurried holiday preparations to spend some time with my family.  On Monday, we visited NYC for the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City.  The weather was warm and balmy as we walked around the city with no jackets on.  Today, there is lots of snow falling and we have a fire burning as we prepare food for tomorrow.  It has been a crazy weather week.

November 22, 2014

Bathroom Dreaming with Hometalk

Our master bathroom is the most calming and soothing place in our entire house.  Escaping up there to take a bath in the evening is my reward for getting through another crazy day,  especially during the busy holiday season.  My friends at Hometalk recently asked me to curate a board of spa-like bathrooms for them and I jumped at the opportunity.  It seems to me that simply looking at pictures of dreamy bathrooms is about as soothing as taking a bath itself.  So I picked out 15 of my favorite bathrooms on Hometalk and created a board.  You can find it here.
15 spa like bathrooms curated on an inspiration board by Golden Boys and Me.
In addition to soothing color schemes, all of these bathrooms take storage into account.  Let's face it, a bathroom needs to be as functional as it is pleasing to the eye.   From my board, you can click through to see bigger pictures and more information about all of these bathrooms.  I am currently planning another bathroom reno in the new year.  My kids' bathroom is the only room in our house that we haven't tackled yet and it is time.  There are some great ideas to be found on Hometalk and I will definitely be heading there to find ideas for our new project.

Have you been to Hometalk yet?  If you haven't, you should definitely check it out.   It is a warm and welcoming place to plan your next project or to just be inspired.  

November 20, 2014

Christmas Cookie Cutter Wreath

Christmas Wreath tutorial made with cookie cutters and scrapbook paper
  Today I am sharing my very first Christmas project of 2014.  I won't be completely decking our halls for a couple of more weeks, but I have been having fun with a few projects that I will share early in case you might want to make one for yourself!

***Update: E6000 glue (available at craft stores in the glue section) is probably a better choice to glue the cookie cutters together, rather than hot glue. The E6000 will hold better over time.***

November 18, 2014

Christmas Planning & a Look Back at Christmas 2013

I have been busy beginning to deck the halls for this year.  One of my favorite things about having a blog is being able to look back at last year's decorations to plan out what to do this year.  I like to look back and see what I especially loved last year and what didn't really work out so well.  Here is our family room last year.
Corner stone fireplace in Christmas family

November 13, 2014

Our Newly Planked Gallery Wall

I am so excited about how our new planked wall has turned out in our family room!  Every once in a while, I get an idea of what I hope something will look like in my head, and then cross my fingers that it turns out well.  It doesn't always end up as well as I plan.  Does that happen to you too?  But this was one of those projects that turned out better than I pictured.  
Winter themed gallery wall on white plank

November 11, 2014

Wire Basket Hanging Light

Happy Veteran's Day!   I hope your week is off to a great start!  Today, I am sharing a small project.  I added a quirky & fun new light to my "office" this week.  My office space is actually just a corner of our family room.  Especially when I am working alone in the fairly large room, I like to have the option to turn off the recessed lights overhead and still have enough light at my desk.  I have been on the lookout for a pendant style light.  But one with some personality.  And one that could easily be moved because I am forever changing things.
Metal basket used as a hanging pendant light with Edison

I should back up and tell you first about how excited I was to find out that there is now a Hobby Lobby in northern NJ.  Can you believe we lived for years without either a Hobby Lobby OR World Market?  And now we have both within a reasonable driving distance.  Life changing!  So I was wandering around Hobby Lobby-by myself-which is pretty much as good as it gets.  And I found a hanging light kit for cheap.  And then I could use the 40% off coupon too.  They had some wire pendant shades meant to go with the lamp kit that were cute.  But I was looking for something with a bit more interest.
Metal basket used as a hanging pendant light with Edison

November 9, 2014

How I Found My Style Sundays Feature

Happy Sunday!  I was honored that Pamela asked me to be a part of her great series, How I Found My Style Sunday and you can find me there today talking a bit about my style and how it has evolved over time.  

November 7, 2014

My Boxwood Wreath Experiment

I love preserved boxwood wreaths and I have a few around the house that I have purchased at HomeGoods.  I give them a spritz of water every so often and they still look great.  Recently, I purchased a small one at Target, but the $20 price tag felt high to me, especially since I would like to use them in many places in my home for the holidays.  So, logically, my next step was to do a quick search on Pinterest (how did I ever get anything done before Pinterest?!) and found that many people have made their own boxwood wreaths in a variety of ways.
Boxwood wreath made with clippings from a boxwood
There wasn't much mention of specifically how long they will last.  So I decided to experiment with some of my own.  Really, I had nothing to lose.  Our boxwoods needed a haircut and I had some grapevine wreaths in the basement leftover from other projects.  I posted this picture on Instagram before I started, and many had the same question, how long will they last?
Boxwood clippings on red chair with plank

November 4, 2014

Our Master Bedroom Window Seat

The window seat in our bedroom has become one of the coziest spots in our house.  My youngest guy needs to read at least 30 minutes a day and it can be hard to keep him on task when he is downstairs with is brothers.  Recently, we have been going up to my room after dinner and keeping things quiet while we read for a half hour.  It has become a favorite part of my day!
Window seat made from upper cabinets and repurposed wall

October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween & a Few Things of my Favorite Things About Fall

Happy Halloween!  Now that our kids aren't quite so little, we enjoy dressing up our dogs.  They seem to enjoy it.  Really, they enjoy anything that gets attention from their people.  And the treats.  They enjoy the treats the most!

October 29, 2014

Family/Living Room Storage & Organization

Family Room storage and organization
When we decided to paint our wall unit rather than retire it for a console with a tv hung above it, our main consideration was storage.  We store a bunch of stuff in there, both decoratively and behind closed doors.  In fact, storage was taken into consideration throughout our family room and today I am sharing where we keep things.  Let's start with decorative baskets that are also so very functional.

October 25, 2014

Saturday Spotlight Feature and a New Chair

Hello and Happy Saturday!  We have had a busy week of painting (our family room wall unit) and planking (a wall in our family room).  We are right in the middle of the planking so that is what is on the agenda during our free time this weekend.  We also took a trip to Ikea for a few small items and ended up coming home with a chair!   The new Stocksund chair to be exact.
Ikea Stocksund chair with Ikea Hack Hemnes coffee table and striped drapes in living

October 24, 2014

Our "New" Wall Unit

Our family room can feel very dark.  It is the only room in our home that is built at grade level (on a cement slab with no basement underneath) and it can sometimes feel a bit like a basement, even though there are plenty of windows.  I knew that the dark leather furniture and dark wall unit weren't doing anything to lighten the space.  So we decided to paint the wall unit white. Painting accomplished just what we hoped.  It brightened the whole room.  
Painted white wall unit, entertainment center look-a-like to the Pottery Barn

October 22, 2014

Fall Porches

Hello friends!  Today I am sharing a few more pictures from Upstate NY in fall. 
First, we will start on the back porch.  We added a tree stump as a side table to the rocking chair.
  Fall porch with rocking chair and plaid

October 20, 2014

Striped Drapes {and Lantern Light Fixture}

Striped drapes in Fall Living
Hello friends!  Recently, I have been getting lots of questions about the striped drapes in our living room so I thought I would talk a bit more about them today.  When I saw them in TJ Maxx, I thought they would be perfect for my youngest boy's room.  They cost just under $30 for the pair and I left the store a happy camper.  I have had my eye out for striped drapes for a while now.  They also had a pair that was khaki and white, but I liked the gray better for his room.  When I brought them home, I thought maybe I would try them out in the living room for a couple of weeks because I was craving some change in there.  Here they are in our summer living room.

October 17, 2014

Waxed Autumn Leaves

Fall Leaves dipped in wax to preserve
I have been wanting to try dipping leaves in wax to preserve them for a couple of years but never quite got around to doing it.  When we were in Upstate NY last weekend, we finally did.  It was a fun and easy project!  First, we took a nice long walk to gather some pretty leaves.

October 15, 2014

Columbus Day Weekend in the Mountains

Fall foliage in the Adirondacks.  Birch tree in autumn.
Columbus Day weekend in the Adirondacks might just be my very favorite weekend of the year.  The leaves were a bit past "peak", but they were still gorgeous.  This gazebo is down by the lakefront portion of the town of Schroon Lake, NY.

October 14, 2014

Easy & Affordable Boy's Bedroom

Boys bedroom with gallery wall and Ikea
Earlier this year, my youngest and middle boy decided that they no longer wanted to share a bedroom.  They each wanted their OWN room.  That day.  They had made the choice to share a room a couple of years prior but the honeymoon was over, as sometimes happens with brothers.  I had been planning on claiming this extra bedroom as my space.  I had a whole board on Pinterest dedicated to my new super organized home office.  So this is not one of those well planned out spaces in our home.  This was more of a load up the whole truck with Ikea furniture because that's what fits the budget type of room.  But my boy is thrilled with his space and that is really all that matters.

October 10, 2014

October Around Our House

Hello friends!  I am looking forward to the three day weekend thanks to Columbus Day on Monday.  I added a few more fall touches around the house and also found a great Target clearance deal this week and you know how happy that makes me:)   Meet my new $11 lamp base...
Target clearance lamp with fall wreath in window seat with Jennylund chair and H and M pillow

For that price, it just sort of jumped in my cart.  Somehow, they still had 2 on the shelf, which really got me excited because to snag 2 lamps for the price of half of a regular priced one, well that is too good to be true.  Unfortunately, the second one had a big hole in the back of it so I only ended up with one.  However, I might check out a few more Targets in the area to see if I can find another.  I love me some lamp symmetry on a console table.
Target lamp with Ikea Jennylund chair and H and M pillow

October 8, 2014

An Autumn Picnic

Plaid metal lunchbox at an Autumn
On a beautiful fall Saturday in the Adrondacks, Matthew (my 9 year old) and I decided to set out on a picnic.  We had picked up this green plaid metal picnic basket at a local sale.  It was a bit rusty, but the wooden handles won me over.  We brought it home, grabbed a few snacks and headed down our favorite trail.

October 6, 2014

Finding My Own Style {with Inspiration from Sarah Richardson}

Last year, when a writer/stylist asked me what my design style was during an interview for a magazine, I realized I didn't have an answer to that.  Sheesh...a blogger that mostly blogs about houses should know that answer off the top of her head!  I stumbled through my answer of farmhouse country mixed with casual mixed with a bit of glam (referring to the one crystal chandelier in my master bath).  Since then, I have taken some time to look around my own house and my Pinterest boards, and I realize I was right in my answer, but a more simple word to use may have been eclectic.  A little bit of everything that I love and speaks home to me.  I really think the most interesting, warm and charming homes have a collection of styles that is unique to the people who live there.  This  window seat and bookshelves are the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning.  We created this space a year ago and it still makes me happy to open my eyes and see this, because it is so perfectly "me".
Window seat in Master Bedroom created with upper cabinets from Lowes and a repurposed wall unit.
It has taken me years to be confident in my own style.  When we were first married, I decorated in a very country style.  However, over the years, that style began to feel dated and I started decorating in what was more trendy.  But it never felt like me.  Watching Sarah's Richardson's HGTV shows was a game changer for me.  My "A-Ha" moment as Oprah would say.  Sarah was using quilts and antiques and creating gorgeous spaces combining a variety of styles.  Her version of country didn't feel corny at all.  I was inspired in a way that I had never been before by a designer.

October 3, 2014

Recipe: Our Favorite Apple Cake

This is always one of the first recipes I make in the fall.  It is an old family recipe that fills the house with the delicious scents of the season, and uses up a few of the many apples we have picked.

Apple Bundt Cake Recipe with coconut, walnuts and buttermilk glaze

October 2, 2014

Autumn in the Adirondacks {2014}

Happy October!  Have the leaves started changing where you are?  In the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY, the leaves were at their peak this past weekend.  It was glorious!  It never ceases to amaze me how breathtakingly beautiful everything turns this time of year.     
Fall Foliage in the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate, NY. Via www.goldenboysandme,com

September 30, 2014

Fall Covered Patio

I added a few fall touches to our covered patio this year.  For some reason, for the past 7 years that we have lived here, we usually just put away our summer stuff, stacked up our firewood, and left this patio empty.  We always decorated the front of our home for fall, but we are really enjoying having this space to hang out in when we walk outside our family room.
Fall decor in covered patio area with mums in a basket and birch logs tied with a leather belt via

September 24, 2014

Fall Kitchen & Living Room

Fall decor in dining room with count your blessings HomeGoods
Today, continuing on the fall tour of our home, we are upstairs in the kitchen/dining/living room area of our split level home.  Our family room is the coziest spot, but this ends up being the place we spend a majority of our time.  This space is lighter and brighter.

September 21, 2014

Our Fall Family Room

Fall decor in family room with stone

September 19, 2014

Autumn in our Entryway

The weather in NJ has been gloriously fall like, the kids are back into their school routine, and it is time to start adding some fall touches to the this time of year!  I will be sharing the rooms as I go and hopefully you will enjoy following along.  I started in the entryway/foyer.

September 17, 2014

Wire Baskets

Ideas for using wire baskets for home storage solutions.
One of my favorite aisles in HomeGoods is the one that is full of baskets and storage items.  I have found through the years, and lots of trial and error, that my family stays the most organized when we have baskets to put things in.  Especially the everyday things.  This method isn't full proof.  The baskets need to be gone through quite often and things aren't usually as neat as you see them in these pictures.  However, it definitely keeps things off the countertop (somewhat) and I have an answer to all those yells of, "MOOOOM, where's the phone charger, library book, etc?" that is the soundtrack of my life.  Let's start in the kitchen, shall we?

September 15, 2014

This & That

Hello and Happy Monday!  I hope you guys are doing well.  Things around here have been busy with the start of the school and all of the activities that come along with that.  We are sad to be closing up our pool this week, especially Keeper.  She spends the most time in the pool.  Matthew taught her to dive off the diving board this summer...

September 11, 2014

The Painted Hutch

Painting the large farm style hutch has been on my to-do list for years.  I was definitely afraid to pull the trigger pick up the paint brush.  We originally purchased the hutch for the kitchen in our last house. When we moved here, it was the first piece of furniture that made this 1980's decorated house feel like home.  We placed it in the dining room.  The dining room with the vertical blinds and mirrored chandelier.  I saw hope while everyone around us was saying, "Why would they sell their completely remodeled house to move here?"  So, these were the thoughts running through my head as I fearfully put the first coat of paint on this sentimental piece.
Farm style hutch painted with DecoArt chalky finish paint ll

September 8, 2014

First Day of School Ikea Haul

Ikea Haul -
Hello and Happy Monday!  I am so happy to be back to a routine around here now that school has started.  So far, everyone is happy with their teachers so we are off to a good start to the school year.  Phew!  Here is my youngest on the first day.  Confession:  I took this picture after school.  Don't judge, he is our third kid after all :)  

September 5, 2014

Autumn Inspiration

Ideas for autumn inspiration
The kids here in NJ are finally back in school.  Reading on blogs about how so many other's kids have been back to school for weeks makes us feel behind!  Now, if the temperatures would cooperate, maybe we can begin to think about my favorite season, Autumn.  For now, we are still swimming in the pool, but I can dream about wearing boots and flannels.  And get some ideas together for how to add some Autumn touches to our home.  

September 1, 2014

Keepin' it real in our master bath

We "may" have been getting a bit lazy about keeping things in their place in our master bath.  You know all those things that don't appear in a magazine photo shoot but are necessary items in an actual bathroom?  Like toothbrushes, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc.  They were collecting all over the top of our countertop and it was not pretty.  I headed to HomeGoods in search of some way to keep everything organized and yet still easily accessible.  I found this 2 tiered stand in the kitchen aisle and I thought it could work.
2 tiered wire basket stand for bathroom