Front Walk Update

As I mentioned I’ve been Extreme Nesting- some of it totally just because I want to and some of it necessary. One renovation project I wasn’t planning to tackle right this minute was our ugly, old front walk and stairs.  But then our brick stairs basically crumbled to dust. And I figured, well that can’t be too safe with all our visitors coming to see the baby, so let’s see if we can just repair them.  Turns out, the crumbling old brick and concrete was so far gone we would have to rebuild.  And since we would have to rebuild them it made sense to do it how we’d like them- in granite slab, and replace the purple and maroon walkway stone with bluestone.  Not a easy nor affordable “surprise” fix, but as I always say to my clients- why do it cheaply when you KNOW down the road you’ll want to do it right and then you’ve ended up spending more!  If you can, just rip the band-aid off fast and do it right the first time.  But this one stung, as you know, masonry work is NOT cheap. Not by a mile!

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(I also love how my chartreuse door looks with my leopard stair runner!)

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Fashion Friday: Inspired Fall Dressing


I love all the cozy, natural tones fall brings in New England. And I love fall clothes! So why not combine the two?  Here are two outfits based on two fall staples- a great faux fur vest (saw this one in person and it’s GOOD) and a statement necklace made with natural materials like leather and wood (I bought it this week and love it).


vest // necklace // bucket bag // jeans // boots // sweater // sunglasses


vest // necklace // shirt (naturally I ordered this!) // jeans // boots // bag // ring // lipstick


The Blogger Book Club: Emily Henderson

I’ll admit that I don’t read many blog anymore due to my insane schedule- and like a lot of you probably do- when my work day is over I want to something not work related. But when I do find time, I go right to the long-time partners in the blog trenches whose work I really admire. Emily Henderson is one of those people. I LOVE her. Her sunny smile, disposition, funny voice and amazing talent are what makes her the superstar she is. So I was not surprised when I heard she was doing a book and knew it would be just as awesome as she is. (And she managed not only to release Styled, her fun, fab new book but also give birth to her daughter all in the same time frame!

What I love about design is how different we all do it.  Emily’s colorful, California cool vibe is so different from what I do day-to-day but I adore it.  You know when you look at images of spaces so different from your own and think “Man, I want to live like THAT! I would be so much cooler if my house was like that one!” :)  That’s how I feel about the spaces in Emily’s book.


And it’s a mix of spaces by different designers that look cohesive due to Emily’s ninja styling skills.  This book is more about styling your space, not top to bottom design.  Basically, how to get your space to look as “done” as those you see in magazines.  I think that last 10% of design (the styling) tends to be the hardest for people to do- which is what makes this book handy!

Having been through the book process I know what it’s like to have to pick certain images to use and others that you have to trash.  It’s painful!  You have all these fantastic shots but for one reason or another some end up on the cutting room floor.  Emily sent over these exclusive outtakes from her book editing process- ones that didn’t make it in but that she still loves.

This one is SO good- can you imagine sitting her with a glass of wine after a long day and looking at a magazine or chatting with friends? DIE.

Top Motherhood Worries.


As we approach the two week countdown until Baby Gates’ due date, I seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time worrying about and pondering how life will change, how I’ll be as a mom and if I have everything I will need in those crazy first few weeks (omg, the STUFF…)  So here’s a less than eloquent dump of what has been spinning through my brain when I can’t get to sleep or am sitting at a red light in my car- it’s hard to focus on much else right now!

– When am I going to go into labor? Will he be early or late? Will I know when it’s time to go? Does Andrew know how to use the stopwatch function on his iPhone to time contractions?

– Just how much is this gonna hurt?  Even with an epidural, I cannot picture myself actually giving birth. I mean, I still don’t believe I’m actually having a baby even though right now he’s exploring my rib cage with his heel.

– Recovery sounds quite icky- as my hilarious friend Caroline told me after giving birth, things “down there” look a whole lot like “a Tim Burton designed bouncy house of horrors” (best/grossest description ever).

– What is he going to look like??? It’s the craziest thing to try to imagine! Will he have my eyes and his nose? My nose and his eyes? OMG, what if the lab mixed up the test tubes and we have some random person’s baby (freaky IVF specific horror-show worries)???

– Will he be healthy? I have had what seems like 179 ultrasounds, exams, genetic screens and bloodtests this pregnancy, and everything looks great (his kidney issue went away!) but still, nothing is 100% certain.  This is my #1 worry, of course.

– Piggy backed onto that is the “what if I kill him” worry. This is said as a joke, but also not at all. I’m talking the whole SIDS/ dropping him/ falling down the stairs carrying him kind of things, not like murderous rage. (Side note: I’ve got a solid post-partum “watch plan” in place already given my history with anxiety/depression)

– I do not know anything about caring for an infant. Nothing. I’ve never even changed a diaper!  I am told that one’s maternal instinct kicks in and you just KNOW– but I’ve never been one who has an abundance of maternal spirit.  In fact, I find a lot of kids annoying- hey, it’s the truth.  But I assume/hope that changes the second you meet your own.

– I worry about failing at a lot of things, but for some reason I am most worried that breastfeeding will be a challenge.  Not that I live/die by my ability to do so, I really have no resolute opinion on what’s best, other than whatever is best for the Mom, since a happier, healthier Mom equals a better cared for baby.  I hope I figure it out and my body complies, but if not I need to remember that I am a formula baby and wrote a New York Times bestseller, so going that route if need be does not deem my kid “lesser than”. :)

– What if he comes out and we feel like the name we picked doesn’t fit?!  Does that happen? I have too many monogrammed things to turn back now!

– What if I’m missing some crucial baby gadget?  Every mom has a different favorite carrier/ bouncy seat/ car seat/ stroller / swaddles / monitor, etc.  Reading the reviews on Amazon of baby gear is enough to give anyone decision paralysis (or second guessing of purchases).  Why do I feel like I have to have EVERYTHING right now? It’s not like Amazon Prime doesn’t exist (or a husband with a car and a Target).

– Sleep training.  Oh my God, I started reading all the Baby Whisperer, Happiest Baby on the Block and Babywise books but they gave me anxiety and acid reflux trying to figure out what works best and what we should do.  So I’m taking a “let’s see what happens and what kind of baby we get” approach.

– Speaking of anxiety, oddly mine has been quelled by pregnancy.  Andrew thinks I am so much nicer and calmer when pregnant, which is the opposite of what he (and frankly I) expected.  I mean, I still worry (obviously, hello- this list) , but I think that’s pretty normal.  But what will happen when he’s here?  Will my anxiety go through the roof?  Will I be on WebMD every five minutes or haunting my pediatrician’s hallways?

– How am I going to balance the blog/ client work/ next book/ home line with being a mom?  My days are SO busy already, it’s hard to imagine.  Luckily we have already hired a full time nanny to begin after I take some time off, but I hope to be as involved as I can be.  Luckily, as my own boss I can make my own hours, but I also have lots of commitments (and a real love for my career!)  I know so many women do it the world over, but I’m anxious to figure out just how to make the balance work.

– Will the dogs hate me forever? Will they be sweet and protective? Or will Baxter try to rip his face off and Oliver go into a deep depression?

– That whole “your heart walking around outside your body” thing I can see being exquisitely wonderful and terrifying.  I don’t want to be an overprotective mom, but I can imagine that it’s hard not to be!

I probably have 500 more I could add to this list, but I’ll spare you.  Did you have any of these worries before giving birth? What was your biggest? Which one proved to be silly that I can maybe take off my list? :)

Dreaming in Blue

I saw this Manhattan bedroom by designer Kelly Behun in the new Elle Decor and gasped.   The color of this Gracie wallpaper is insanely good (and looks way better in the magazine than in my crappy iPhone snaps!)  I don’t think I will ever tire of this look- ever (except for those crazypants bird/feather lamps- NO NO NO)

Wouldn’t it be so cheery to wake up to this scene???


Now, the thing about Gracie paper is MONEY. Lots of it. I quoted some once and one wall alone was going to be over $5,000. So, here’s a way to get this look for much less.  I foudn this paper on Mural Sources and you could either do the whole wall behind your bed or frame two panels in gold frames and hang above each nightstand like I did in my old master bedroom.  I think this came pretty darn close to capturing the look above! Untitled-1

bed // sketch // wallpaper // bedding // mirror // lamps // pillow // faux fur throw // chandelier // dresser // nightstands // rug // side table // chair