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Prep for Spring: My Patio Project

March 17th, 2014

Spring is supposed to begin in a couple of days- it certainly doesn’t feel like it here.  It’s still flipping freezing and hope is waning in these parts.  But as the snow melts (and we pray we don’t get any more) I can start thinking about outdoor living again!!!  In the warmer months I spend as much time as humanely possible outside, it just makes me happier.  So when we bought our house I knew I HAD to get a patio installed sooner rather than later. Luckily, we did to get to design and install a fabulous one last summer thanks to the fine folks at Quikrete ,Pavestone  and Chris Miller Brick Paving.  If you are thinking of adding a patio or re-doing one at your home this spring I thought a little step by step may be helpful!
before

We have a long narrow yard, but after living in the city for years it felt like a farm to us. 

1. Product arrives!  Yay!  Site preparation – level patio area and remove any tree roots, stumps, or anything you may find (there’s more on this whole process in my book because it was kind of hilarious/dramatic.)   The fun part of excavating any area new to you is you NEVER know what you might find!

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2. Lay down QUIKRETE HardScapes Base Sand and make it level so the pavers have a level surface to be placed.  Note: slope patio away from any structures for drainage. This protects your basement from water problems which we ALL want to avoid! You’ve seen Property Brothers- wet basements are a HUGE bummer.
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3. Place the pavers on the level surface. I used the Venetian Stone™ Combo 80mm in charcoal and in 4 different sizes to achieve a slightly more “natural stone” look.  The grey color is great and works nicely with the classic New England style of our house.

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4. The pattern, while seemingly random, needed to follow the design so it seemed random.  Follow your plans and the pattern plans to make sure the repeat looks it’s best!  It’s a OCD person’s dream to figure out and perfect this puzzle!
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Fashion Friday: Tunics & Hope for Spring

March 14th, 2014

One of my most favorite spring wardrobe staples is the good old preppy/ bohemian classic- tunics! Flattering on nearly everyone, they make getting dressed so super easy and comfortable.  I have two favorite embroidered tunics from J.Crew from literally 8 years ago that I still wear all the time because they are so good (and were made so well and only $98 at the time!) I also have my favorite “fancy” beaded tunic from Tory Burch that I wear with white jeans for summer nights out. I just love them. So here are some of my current favorites as we prepare for spring (it WILL come, I swear).

TUNICS

1. // 2. // 3. // 4. // 5. // 6. // 7. // 8. // 9. // 10. // 11.

And speaking of spring, the one thing I am most looking forward to is getting my patio back from the pile of snow it’s under.  As you recall last summer we excavated our back yard and put in a patio thanks to the fab people at Quikrete and Pavestone (and installed by Chris Miller Brick Paving). On Monday we’ll talk all about getting ready for patio season and show you the great “after” images of mine completed! Here’s a little timelapse teaser of the process!

 

This or That: Vol. 5

March 13th, 2014

Blue and white print vases or heels (ON SALE)?
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Bohemian red print top or tablecloth?

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Quartz obelisks on tables or hanging around your neck?

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Navy ikat polka dot pillow or mini dress?

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White modern dress or skirted chairs?

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Bold yellow patterned wallpaper or linen tunic?

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Tiny black and white stripe kitten heels or table runner?

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Black and floral outfit or throw pillow?

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Cobalt and gold shagreen accent table or arm party?

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A hint of emerald in art, or on your legs (or as a dress?)

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Wow.

March 12th, 2014

Seriously you guys? Yesterday was bananas. Just look at this!
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Your pre-orders made me the #1 best selling Home Decorating book on Amazon yesterday (and still today) not only was I in the Top 100,  I was the 44th best-selling book ON ALL OF AMAZON. What the what??? ME? A giant, huge thank you to all that bought the book.

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Writing (and producing) a book feels impossible at the start. I spent many a day thinking “I’m never going to get this done. EVER. It’s impossible”.  But like most other tough things in life, if you focus on little parts you soon start to see the whole come together and it gives you a map to completion. Deadlines help too to scare the bejeezus out of you and hold you accountable. I still won’t believe this is done and real until I hold a physical copy in my hands, but yesterday has me believing a bit more.  So thank you.

Drumroll Please…. Cover Reveal & PRE-ORDER!!!!!

March 11th, 2014

Thank you SO much for all your amazing comments and support yesterday.  It really blew my mind and made my cry a couple times. You are a very special group of people, and I appreciate the not one person called me a hot mess. Truly.

And now we can move onto something REALLY exciting- MY BOOK! (Pre-order HERE!)

I signed my deal with Simon & Schuster (the best publishing team ever, by the way) in January of 2013 and somehow, some way it’s now time to reveal the cover and open up for pre-orders!  It’s been an incredible experience chock full of blood (I ripped off a toenail when moving a bed at a shoot), sweat (lugging accessories, flowers and sometimes 500 books in and out of shoots and up countless flights of stairs) and and tears (“I’m never going to get this done! My book is going to suck!”)

But now it’s done. And while it’s not HERE yet (it’ll be out the first week of October) my part is completed.  I still don’t believe it’ll actually be a real book, like on shelves and stuff.  It’s too surreal for me to actually cross that giant goal off my bucket list this soon in my career.  But alas, I will rejoice a little today. And share a bit of the book making experience with you. But first, meet my book:

Gates_cvr_final copy

(image by Michael J. Lee design by Jennifer K. Beal Davis)

Oh, and the spine is striped too- with gold foil lettering and of course the end papers will be leopard. But you probably guessed that already. :) I think that spine will look so SICK on a bookshelf! :)

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It a mixture of a mini-memoir and design guide, showcasing personal essays (like yesterdays) with hundreds of images of my work you haven’t seen before.  It’s organized by rooms in the home, so, for example, the bedroom has an essay about marriage and then entry one about the stressful choice to move from the city to the burbs. I really, really hope you like it.

But if you think picking a cover for your own book is easy think again. I think Jenny, my book designer, and I had about 100 versions using different pictures, jackets over hardcover, paper over board, detail shots versus vignettes. I’m not going to show a lot of them because then I’d be showing too many of the pictures I’ve worked SO hard to keep secret (it’s been very hard not to share with you!!!) But here are some of the other variations on our theme…

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