3.25.2015

Kansas City Fashion Week Recap :: Fall/Winter 2015 Collections (Part I)



We have been living in the Kansas City area for almost 6 years now and year after year, I am finding more reasons to fall in love with this wonderful city! It really is a gem of a place and the more I chip away at what it has to offer, the more brilliant the shine becomes. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend KC Fashion Week for the first time and enjoyed every bit of it! In my personal world of being a stay at home mom, fashion is a luxury...along with showers and drinking hot coffee. Needless to say, it was nice having an opportunity to get out of my jeans and t-shirt and actually put on some make-up for a change! I got to hang out with some blogger pals and see some really inspiring designers debut their Fall/Winter 2015 Collections. I was able to make it to two of the three nights and managed to snap some pictures as best as I could. I'm no photographer so most of it was no good for posting. You can find professional photos of all the runway looks on the KC Fashion Week facebook page.

Thursday night kicked off with...

Paolini Garment Company
Can I just put in a petition for all men to dress this sharp all the time? I'm loving all the unexpected details that make these looks so much more interesting than the typical suit. For instance...the tiny floral print and the neutral faux flowers in their lapels.







Dolyn Bags
Handbag designer, Ami Beck, personally designs and constructs each one of these leather bags. These neutral shades are perfect for fall (or for any time of year, really). My favorite...the red bag. That perfect shade of merlot would pair well with everything and the bag itself would hold all my mommy gear perfectly so I'd never have to carry a diaper bag!






Marlee Ju
Leah McDaniel is the designer behind the children's boutique, Marlee Ju. I'm a sucker for teals and greys so this was certainly right up my alley. I have to say, if my kids were this well dressed, I'd definitely have to step up my fashion game because they'd for sure be better dressed than me!





Molly Elizabeth Designs
Molly Elizabeth is an up and coming designer from Nebraska. When I discovered that she was only 15 years old, I was astounded! It really is incredible to see so much talent manifested at such an early age. I hope she keeps rising to the top and continues to inspire young girls and women of all ages. I dig the bohemian flair to her looks. If I was 20 years younger, I could definitely see myself wearing some of these fun styles.







Jessica Lynn
Children's wear designer, Jessica Lynn, is self-taught and created her label after years of making unique clothing for her own children. I love the playful textures and colors she selected, and the jewel tones + earthy brown combo is always a win in my book, especially for fall! I would put my kids in any one of these looks in a heartbeat! Just look at how adorable these kids are!






Young Hearted Socks
And to continue with the lightheartedness on the runway, Kyle Green and KC Chief's own Sanders Commings, closed out the night with their "half-suits" and fun, vibrant socks. I was curious to see how socks would be modeled on the runway, but am curious no more. They definitely stood out with the bright colors and fun patterns...definitely true to their "Young Hearted" brand.




My first night at Kansas City Fashion Week was so much fun! Here are some snap shots from my instagram.


I have to say how truly impressed I was with how everything was presented and how the KC Fashion Week team made it all run so seamlessly. And having it at the historic Union Station was picture-perfect! Well done, KCFW!

Stay tuned for my recap of Saturday night!




2.22.2015

Mini Makeover :: Stenciled Headboard Feature Wall



Last year, when my husband and I became new homeowners, I had a list of about a hundred different things I needed/wanted for the house and a million different decorating visions playing out in my mind. Slowly but surely, things are piecing together as we're creating a home for our little family of 5. Being budget conscious, we've tried to find ways to make this home our own without breaking the bank. I'm no stranger to garage sales, estates sales, logging time on Craigslist, and reusing/repurposing what we already have. That said, after many unsuccessful searches for the perfect headboard, I decided to lean toward more nontraditional routes. My thought: headboards are luxury items, not a necessity. At this time, I can't justify spending hundreds on a piece of furniture that serves no function and is merely decorative. I know the hubby is happy about that. It is probably the last thing on my list. Yet at the same time, I really dislike the empty wall where the headboard should be. I wanted something different...and big..and a focal point in the room. Problem is, it's not really safe to hang anything there, especially anything substantial, that could potentially be the cause of some head injuries. Thank goodness for pinterest! At some point, I remembered seeing a huge statement wall with framed wall-paper and thought that would be the perfect solution. But after searching for the perfect wall paper (and there's some really fantastic stuff out there...with textured and fabric varieties), I realized it would end up costing just as much as an actual headboard!!! Plus, I hear it's quite the pain to install. So no brainer, the wall paper option was out. I ran through other options...decals? Nope, giant stickers should not cost a small fortune...and I wanted more creative freedom. Painted mural? Nope, I have neither the time nor the talent of a mural artist. Stencils? It does allow for some creative freedom, it's budget-friendly, time-friendly, and can achieve the look of wall paper. No brainer!

Bring on the weekend project!



I found the perfect stencil from Royal Design Studio. I'm a huge fan of herringbone, so when I saw this "herringbone shuffle", my search was over. I'm also a sucker for ombre, so all I needed was two contrasting colors of paint.


 

I just grabbed two sample containers of Valspar in white and the darkest grey they had. Every shade in between, was up to me to mix. This is more than enough paint for the entire project. I think I used maybe 1/5 of the jar. And each jar costs less than $3. I purchased stencil brushes for this, but I know any clean, flat edged brush would've been just fine for the job.

Now that you have your supplies, and your blank wall, let's get started!


Draw a horizontal line where you want the top of your frame to be. Make sure it's level. We used the window frames and the molding on the ceiling and measured from there. Then find the center of the line and draw an intersecting vertical line. Again, make sure it is level and straight and centered.

Start the stencil from the center and go outward. *This is important: The edge of the pattern should be lined up on that center vertical line, not the edge of the stencil sheet.* Either side is fine as long as you're going out from the center. Use painters tape to adhere the stencil to the wall.

I stenciled by section, starting from 1. Working outward from the center made more sense to me. That way, I knew the entire wall would be centered and I didn't have to measure exactly where the outer edges would be. I alternated between right and left sides to allow the freshly painted sections to dry before adding to it. 



I chose to go with an ombre effect so I started the top with just pure grey, gradually mixing in the lighter shades of grey as I went down. And at the very bottom, I went with the pure white. In several places, I put highly contrasting shades next to one another. This was pretty random because that's how I like it, but if you preferred the pattern to be more uniform, that would be easy to do as well. Also, I ended up using the stencil 4x across, spanning just a bit longer than our king sized bed. It's nice it worked out that way, but if you needed a smaller width, you can just stencil in a portion  and leave off the rest. That's why it made more sense to me to go from the center out.


The frame is optional, but I feel it adds the perfect finishing touch. We went with unfinished wooden molding. They come in 8ft segments and were measured and cut at a 45-degree angle on the ends to frame together nicely. We purchased 4 and they were $4.96 each. You don't need to do the math to know that this is far cheaper than buying a custom wooden picture frame, especially one of this massive size. We just cut, sanded, and used a "driftwood grey" wood stain to finish these before adding them to the wall. The adhesive he used was liquid nails.


My handy husband was the one responsible for the trim. He first nailed each piece of trim at the very center--not all the way in, but just enough to temporarily hold the trim in place. This is for two purposes: 1) he could then pivot the trim around that center to make sure it is leveled, and 2) it helps to hold the trim in place while the liquid nails adhesive sets. Once the adhesive is applied and trim is in place, he also temporarily nailed in the ends so that the trim is firmly flush against the wall while it dries.  We waited a day or two before removing those temporary nails.

The wall makes a great photo backdrop!


And guess what, we're done! Blank wall to focal wall for less than $90 total! You can do this anywhere in your house, really. Behind a desk, next to the breakfast nook, kid's room, creative corner, craft area, etc.



 If we should ever rearrange and move the bed to another spot, this wall would still make a great feature wall behind a desk or seating arrangement. And if we get bored of the wall altogether, it would be easy to remove the trim and paint over the whole thing. Fresh canvas!

But for now, I absolutely love it! To complete the mini makeover, don't forget the finishing touches! I really, really love green. For me, it brings an instant breath of fresh air to any space. It also happens to be mine and my husband's favorite color.

 

Can you tell I'm ready for spring???


Now half of our bedroom is complete! My goal for the master bedroom is for it to become a relaxing retreat for us. I want to walk into it feeling like I just stepped into a freshly fluffed hotel suite...but even better, more comfortable, and more inviting than a hotel because it's familiar...because it's home. With three small children running around, peace and quiet is pretty scarce around here. I need a relaxing space that is clear of clutter and toys. There are designated spaces for kid stuff, like the bottom shelf where we have a few of their books, and small baskets in each night stand to catch any and all kid clutter. This room is getting there and it makes me so happy. I hope my husband appreciates it too. ;) We'll tackle the other half of the bedroom in another episode of Mini Makeover. 'Til next time, friends!

Which part of the house is your special retreat spot? 




1.25.2015

Currently Crushing :: Watercolor Art

http://www.minted.com/product/wall-art-prints/MIN-QY9-GNA/watercolor-inkblot-1?ccId=235511&org=title

During this past year that my husband and I have been in our first home together, I have been having such a great time discovering my design aesthetic through my adventures in home decor! I'm always on the look out for fun, interesting things to make our home "our home"...and even when I'm not thinking about home decor, my subconscious mind is doing a living room makeover for the eleventieth time.

One of the things I realized about myself in this decor adventure is that I really love watercolor art. There's just something about it that resonates with me more than most other art mediums. I love the organic nature of how the colors flow together, lack of well defined lines, and the incredible gradient of dark and light shades that can be created with a single color! And color without form can elicit so much emotion while leaving everything to the imagination!

Is it strange to get so excited about color?

Needless to say, I'm always on the lookout for great watercolor art that I can incorporate into our home. My current project is to put the finishing touches on our master bedroom and I have found some fantastic art prints from minted! Here are some prints I've been eyeing...hopefully, one or two of these will make the final cut. I'm pretty sure I'm getting that ink-blot print, as it is a fun nod to my psychology roots.

Geometric + all of my favorite colors? Yes, please!

http://www.minted.com/product/wall-art-prints/MIN-7YJ-GNA/hexagon-with-dots-in-blue?ccId=250849&org=title

This one reminds me of relaxing in the ocean and the happy colors evoke all the great vacation memories we've had.

http://www.minted.com/product/wall-art-prints/MIN-7HG-GNA/float?ccId=249063&org=title


Or a sweet daily reminder of what's important in my life...

http://www.minted.com/product/wall-art-prints/MIN-41E-GNA/love

Have you been to minted? Not only do they have gorgeous work by artists from around the world, they also do adorable prints for all special occasions, like Minted's new save the date cards.

Which of these should I go with?? 
Stay tuned for which prints I'll choose for the bedroom makeover!





1.15.2015

Where to begin...


2015...it still seems a bit surreal to type that set of numbers together in that sequence. The last time I officially wrote a date down, I believe it was 2007. It was the year I completed my dissertation, which I guess is pretty official. It was also the year I had my first baby, another rather official event in my life. Oh, and I also got to marry my soulmate that year. This was not the correct order of events, but you get the idea. Big changes happened and they all happened that year. I then officially decided to suspend my career path and pursue this full time parenting gig. And the next thing I know, it's 20friggin15!!!

I don't know exactly how it is for others, but having kids and being home with them full time tends to make me feel like I'm living in one big blur. The past 7 years has been the quickest 7 years of my life so far. It also raised the bar for being the most challenging yet the most incredible. I have loved almost every minute of it, but if it weren't for my DSLR and phone cameras, I don't think I'd be able to remember any of it. I'm excited for 2015! And this year, I'm going to get a better handle on it.

So we're already well into January and it's time to think about what I need to do this year. First thing I need to do is get organized. Clutter makes me crazy and that is easily done with 3 small kids and their million-part toys. It's also very easy to clutter up a small jewelry studio as you can imagine. And to add to the challenge, I like to surround myself with the things I adore and find beautiful and inspiring. This certainly does not help in my mission to keep things minimal. It's a constant act to maintain balance, but I am a Libra and that is my fate. Stay balanced or die trying. But at least the wall in front of me is organized and ready for action (see photo)! So organization...check! 

Next up is to carve out some time for my business...real actual segments of time. Time that I can actually do work and nothing else. I can't continue doing things minutes here or a half hour there, during nap time, after the kids go to bed at night, or whenever I have a free moment. It's unpredictable, the free time is rare, and my use of it is completely inefficient. One of my biggest frustrations has been feeling like I'm spinning my wheels and I think this is the primary reason why. I have ideas pile up in my mind, then when I get a moment to do work, I feel completely overwhelmed and don't know where to start. So many times, I've gone into my studio, looked around to figure out what I want to work on...then I take a deep breath, exhale, and leave feeling defeated. I'm striving to prevent this from happening this year. I've always been an organized person, but having kids totally kicked that out of the window. I'm generally organized with child-related events and happenings, but everything for me has just been relegated to fitting in where they can, if at all. And I've come to learn that I can't possibly grow a business this way.

And finally, I need to break out of my comfort zone. That means reaching out more, taking more chances, and just doing. It makes me uncomfortable simply thinking about it. But I will never get to the next level if I stay comfortable.

Let's do this!!!

What are your goals for the year? And what do you do to stay on top of everything?