December 29, 2018

A Few Favorites of 2018 - Podcasts, Phones and Projects

Hello friends! With only a few days left in 2018, today I thought I would share a few of my favorite things I learned and found this year. Some are free, and some cost quite a lot, but they have all had an impact on my life lately, including what camera I used to take this picture of the morning light at our kitchen windows one morning just before Christmas.

December 16, 2018

Preparing for Christmas at the Cabin

This will be our third year spending Christmas day at our family's cabin in the Adirondacks and it has become our family's very favorite tradition. This is pretty much how we all feel when we run away to the mountains after such a hectic holiday season! :)

December 8, 2018

Christmastime Fun in Snowy Vermont

I always wanted to visit Vermont during the holiday season and this year we finally made it happen. We've made a couple of trips to the Vermont Country Store, which although a major tourist destination, still manages to maintain its old time charm. But never at Christmas. We took a beautiful drive from our family's cabin in Upstate NY over the nearby Vermont border and the snowy trees were gorgeous. It was snowing on and off during our drive and felt like being in a real life snow globe.

November 28, 2018

Holiday Housewalk 2018

Hello and welcome to this year's Holiday Housewalk hosted once again by the talented Jennifer Rizzo. For me, Christmas is all about traditions and I love that this housewalk has become a part of my holiday blogging tradition. For as long as I have been reading blogs, Jennifer Rizzo has been hosting this amazing line-up of Christmas homes. I am honored to be included once again. You can start this year's tour by clicking on the button below. The tour continues all week so be sure you visit ALL of the homes for tons of holiday inspiration.

November 20, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

It's hard to believe it is already Thanksgiving week. And yet the weather has been so winter-like, in some ways it feels more like Christmas around here. We got hit hard with a November snowstorm this past Thursday that paralyzed our area like I have never seen. We are normally used to dealing with storms here in the Northeast, but I think the early storm mixed with lots of ice and also the timing led to a nightmare commute for many of our family and friends. It took Billy over 4 hours to get to work and he was one of the lucky ones. It took some of his co-workers close to 7 hours to drive what normally takes less than an hour. I prefer November to look more like this shot of our kitchen.

November 15, 2018

Target Dollar Spot Advent Calendar

Hello friends! I have been busy decking our halls for the holidays. In fact, as I write this, we are awaiting our very first snowstorm of the season. So it's been quite easy to get into the Christmas spirit early this year. Before I begin sharing our decor this year, I wanted to share a super easy project I recently completed with items purchased at the Dollar Spot in Target.

October 27, 2018

Our Fall Bedroom

Hello and Happy Weekend! We are expecting lots of rain and wind from a nor'easter here in NJ this weekend which meant huge lines at the grocery store today. Billy's new job has him working alternate weekends and this is his weekend to work. Last weekend, we got to see the last of the foliage in the Adirondacks and Vermont for this year and I will share more of that in my next post. This weekend, my big plans include a bit lot of deep cleaning in our house (ugh!) - in preparation both for the upcoming holidays and also a couple of photo shoots with professional photographers that will be happening soon (yikes!).

October 13, 2018

Fall This & That - A Season of Change

Happy Weekend, friends! There have been lots of changes happening around here and today I thought I would pop on share some updates to our home - and beyond. I have been on the hunt for the perfect farmhouse table for our family for a while now. I think the table that we eat at - do homework at - play at -  is such an import element to any home. I am thrilled to finally have a table that seems to suit our taste for the long haul. Nothing trendy, just classic design.

October 12, 2018

A Comfy Bedroom Refresh with a New Mattress

For most of us, this time of year is all about getting cozy and spending more time at home. I recently decided that our master bedroom was in need of a bit of a makeover before the true nesting season of fall and winter begins.
We kept things simple and classic and focused on creating the most comfortable bed that we possibly could. Our old mattress was over 10 years old and we were both dealing with some aches and pains in the morning. We had been testing out mattresses everywhere we went and began looking into online options. I think more and more of us turn to online shopping these days for both the convenience and the affordable quality. Still, it can be a bit daunting to make such a large and important purchase online.

September 22, 2018

Fall Family Room

Happy Fall! Today marks the first official day of Autumn and I couldn't be happier about it. It is my favorite season and I can't wait to go on some leaf peeping adventures. This year, I added some fall touches to our family room first. Come on in and have a look around. With the stone fireplace and comfy plaid chairs, it never takes much for this room to feel like fall. Oh, and please don't mind the dog hair or dust if you spot any in these pictures. This is what our home really looks like. ;)

September 9, 2018

Some Fall Inspiration

Have you already begun decorating for fall? We have been enjoying a crisp and cool weekend in the mountains, including a fire in the fireplace, and I am (finally) ready to get started when I get home. But I like to look back at some of my old pictures of both foliage and decor for inspiration first.
Nature is always my inspiration for all things so I can't imagine my fall decor not including at least a touch of orange, like this tree by the creek just down the road from our family's cabin in the mountains.

September 4, 2018

Our Latest Ikea Hack - Living Room Bookshelves

Hello friends! I hope you had a wonderful long weekend. Today, I am sharing our latest project to kick off the unofficial start of fall. I think many of us tend to gravitate towards all things home this time of year - and nothing makes me happier than a new project! My husband has some time off between jobs and I have been enjoying having his help around here full time.

August 30, 2018

Our First Trip to Maine Won't be our Last

I distinctly remember a paper that I had to write about where I might see myself living in 10 years for my very first creative writing class in college. I chose the Maine coast, even though I had never actually been there. Fast forward 25 years and I finally visited Maine. Not sure why it took me this long to get there. Pulling up to the Nubble Lighthouse, in the photos above and below, was a surreal experience - like a photograph coming to reality right before my eyes.

August 16, 2018

Painted Kitchen Island

I'm excited to share a little project we have been working on the past few weeks. We decided to give our kitchen island a new life with a coat of paint and some new trim.
Years ago when I first started blogging, Farrow & Ball sent me a paint deck that I have browsed through time and time again. Their paint is pricy, but there is something about their colors that keeps bringing me back to them. Since then, they also opened a retail store in our area and I have been looking for just the right project to try out their paint. I lamented about the color for weeks earlier this summer and finally narrowed it down to Card Room Green and Oval Room Blue. I knew I wanted something that was blue-green and could work in all seasons with my decor.

August 12, 2018

Summer Family Room

Today, I thought I would share of few pictures of our summer family room. You know, just in time for the end of summer. I always come back to an outdoors/mountains theme in here because that is what reflects what we enjoy doing during the summer. Our DIY wooden flag always feels right over the mantel at this time of year.

August 9, 2018

Thank You and an "Old School" Blog Post of This And That

Hello friends and thank you so much for the comments and e-mails from my most recent posts. I have to say that there have been times when I have felt like this blogging thing had run its course for me. It is hard to keep up with all of those polished and shiny images seemingly everywhere on social media and easy to think my home (and life!) isn't quite up to sharing. But then you all reach out to me in a way that makes me remember that it is all about the community. Not about perfect homes or people. But about real people who share the love of home and family (and dogs too!). Thank you for that. I needed the reminder.
I'm not really sure why it took me by surprise as the stress of Billy's retirement was mounting for weeks (months, really), but his actual retirement day and the days since hit us hard. We were humbled by the kindness of many of his co-workers and the time they took to let him know that he mattered to them.

August 4, 2018

Our Split-Level Summer Kitchen

The small-ish kitchen in our split level home was very ordinary when we moved in, but I am so glad I made the decision to add the triple windows over the farmhouse sink when we DIY-ed this kitchen 10 years ago. I have had so much fun styling these windows through the seasons and years! I think the summertime is my favorite time at the sink.

July 29, 2018

A New Chapter

At 7 am this morning, my husband will walk out of police headquarters for the final time as a police officer. 25 years over just like that. Where did the time go? It was a good run. Most importantly, he is in one piece, something to be extremely thankful for in the climate of law enforcement today. Career wise, he served both our community and his co-workers with a dignity and kindness that has become increasingly rare these days. And he (almost) always did so with a smile on his face.

July 26, 2018

Summer Blues (and Whites!)

Hello! Anybody still there?? I seem to have found a bit of my blogging joy again. I must admit that I was worried that it would never return. But, much like my home decor, life is full of seasons and I have found it best to just go with it. So here I am. How is your summer going? I thought today I would share some pictures of our summer decor before summer is completely over. I added lots of touches of blue and white, a perennial favorite for sure.

May 31, 2018

DIY Window Seat/Reading Nook in our Country Cottage Style Master Bedroom

When it come to summer decor, I often crave the addition of more color in our home. I recently switched our bedding back to our patchwork quilt and decided to give our entire room a quick makeover, including adding a light to our DIY window seat/reading nook. I like to play around with switching up my decor but I will always come back to this country cottage look. For me, it just speaks home in a way that no other style does.

May 22, 2018

DIY Pergola - Adding Shade to a Deck

DIY pergola over deck
For at least 5 years, Billy and I have discussed ways to add shade to our back deck. We added the small back deck, just large enough for a grill and a table for our family, many years ago because we enjoy eating outdoors in the summer. We have a covered patio, but we need to go down a level to get to it which isn't ideal when serving a meal. We knew that we would make better use of a deck on the same level as our kitchen. Problem is, we get direct sunlight on this deck right at dinner time. So the deck was seldom used. We added a cheap canopy one year with shower curtains hung from it to block the sun. It wasn't pretty but it got the job of blocking the sun done. Then we started researching pre-made pergolas, but none seemed sturdy enough or were the exact size we needed. Billy kept saying we should just build one but other projects seemed to take priority.

April 11, 2018

Does Anybody Have a Map?

Billy and I saw the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen a few weeks back and I can't ever remember being touched in quite the same way at a show. At one point, I realized I was sitting on the edge of my seat, completely enthralled in the emotions of the performance. One of the songs is titled, Does Anybody Have a Map? - and that line has been on repeat in my mind since hearing it. It feels like that should be the title of the chapter of life I am currently in.

When big changes are happening in life, I tend to get quiet and focus on family and that is the stage I am at right now. So, as you might have noticed, I have stepped away a bit from this blog. I think it can be important to take a break from things like paint colors and throw pillows from time to time. I hope my love of those things (and the time to dedicate to them) will return sometime soon.
I have been focusing on nature and time with my guys, both equally soothing for me.
We spent a week in the mountains over spring break and that felt so good. We had a couple of big snowstorms (yup, the calendar does indeed say April - I checked a few times!). But there is no denying Mother Nature's beauty, even if we are craving warmer weather.
We also enjoyed a couple of days of brilliant blue sunshine. Days full of hope and promise for a bright future. We took a ride over the bridge into Vermont on one glorious day. We didn't really have a plan, just a desire to see someplace new and take a few pictures. First, we drove through Addison, VT which is just on the other side of Lake Champlain from New York. You can see the snow covered Adirondacks in the picture below just beyond the church.
Our travels took us across the state and through Stowe on this day, a quintessential Vermont village.
We grabbed lunch here and it was even warm enough to walk around the village a bit.
We explored a few back roads.  

And then headed back to NY just as the sun was setting in the Adirondacks.
Back in the frozen tundra of the Adirondacks for the remainder of the week, we took time to explore some new trails and plan some fun adventures for the summer.
And I thought maybe, just maybe, having a map is overrated anyway. Maybe the best parts of the journey are letting go and seeing where the road takes us, even if it is winding.  And snow covered. In Spring :)

March 28, 2018

Some Spring...Finally

Hello! It has been so difficult to get myself motivated to add any spring touches to our home this month because it has still felt completely like winter. And looked like winter too. But one sunny day last week - following a pretty large snowstorm, I took these pictures to share with you all. Just try not to be too distracted by the snow outside the windows. The good news is it is almost completely melted now. And I can hear the birds chirping as I type this so there is hope for spring in NJ yet.
I added some white touches to the copper pots that hang on our DIY pot rack to lighten things up for spring. I have been having fun styling that pot rack with the seasons.
I picked up the white metal basket at HomeGoods recently that now sits on the center of our island - I think it is perfect for spring, especially with some spring flowers added.
Over the sink, I added a small wreath and a farmer's market dish towel, both from recent finds from HomeGoods. Speaking of HomeGoods, we are finally getting a HomeSense near our house and it is right next door to my other favorite, Trader Joe's. I-Can't-Wait!!
I picked up the "I love you a bushel and a peck" sign at TJ Maxx and now we all walk around the house singing it. Have you seen the State Farm commercial that uses that song - with the young couple fixing up a house while their toddler crawls around the mess? Totally our lives when our boys were younger! Love that commercial!!
Keeper (AKA Sprout-yup, she still has the sprout of fur on top of her head) decided to make a rare appearance for the spring photos. I think she was getting tired of Dax getting all of the attention! She's suddenly had a resurgence of energy lately and we are enjoying it.
It's hard to believe that Easter is already this Sunday. We will be enjoying brunch at my brother's house and then relaxing for the rest of the day. I am looking forward to spending some family time together over our spring break from school next week. We lost one day of break because of all of the snow days this year, but fortunately they have turned that into a virtual day so the kids can work from home (or wherever they may be traveling to for spring break) on their laptops. Aaah, the wonders of modern technology. I hope you have a wonderful Easter!
And finally, it seems to have become somewhat of a tradition for me to end the post with a smile from Dax (along with one from my oldest son too). Happy Spring!