Monday, August 17, 2015

Mini Coffee Station


If there's one thing that will always be a staple in our kitchen, it's a coffee maker. My husband is an avid coffee drinker and he has been since the day we met. Morning, noon or night, he's almost always up for a cup (or two or three). 

I've seen many different types of coffee stations or coffee bars all over Pinterest. I was especially inspired by Katie Bower's desk turned coffee bar. Our kitchen isn't big enough to dedicate much counter space to making a true "station", or add a large piece of furniture, so I kept thinking of other ways to create something on a smaller scale.  

I've had this wooden wine rack in our living room for a few years. It feels like a tall end table. It's been serving as a wine-magazine-candle rack for quite a while. I wondered if it might just work as a mini coffee station. 

It's one of the first things you see when you walk into our house and is snugged right behind our kitchen table next to a bench. Anything bigger would be too much. 

I really wanted to incorporate shelving above to keep mugs and a sugar bowl. The shelves were already there, so all I had to do was re-style them. All you need is some type of stand - it could be an old dresser, hutch, desk, island, table, shelving unit, anything! Add your coffee maker and a basket or tray with supplies - coffee (of course!), filters, stir sticks, whatever you like. And lastly, some pretty mugs, sugar, and other fixin's. That's it! Cute, right?

Make sure you have something underneath your coffee maker if it's a wooden surface or something you'd rather not get wet. I used a round place mat. Andrew's favorite coffee is Wawa hazelnut. He buys some every time we go to Pennsylvania to keep his supply stocked.

I can also store my cookbooks and still use it for wine bottles. A perfect little multipurpose stand! I bought this inexpensive wine rack at Big Lots years ago. Check out the miscellaneous furniture section at similar stores for little gems like this. 

Cheers and happy coffee drinking!

Friday, August 14, 2015

White to Bright Style Challenge

Chairish, an online marketplace for buying and selling vintage furniture, invited me to participate in their White to Bright style challenge. The goal is to design a mix styles room, with a color scheme based around an accent chair. If you know me, you know that I like vintage furniture and I love styling rooms and picking out home decor. My kind of fun!

I selected to use their Bergere chairs with orange upholstery. Aren't they pretty? Great lines! As soon as I saw them, I knew they were the ones I wanted to design a room around. Since I have a tangerine wing back chair in my living room, that also happens to be a vintage find, I was all the more inspired. I'm not afraid of color and mixing old and new styles.  

I learned two cool things while designing this room. First, I discovered what Chairish is. It's such a great site for buying, selling and browsing. I could look around all day! So many unique pieces. And not just furniture, but lighting, art, rugs, small decor and more. What a wonderful way to be inspired - and keep your eye out for diamonds in the rough at garage sales and flea markets. Shop for Chairish accent chairs here.

Secondly, I discovered Polyvore. Am I the last one to know about this? It's got style boards, fashion, home decor, and trends galore. Seriously. Why didn't I know about this? You can make your own boards and pick and choose from hundreds and hundreds of images. It's a collage makers dream come true! If you're looking for a specific item, such as a blue ottoman, you can run a search and find every blue ottoman that's out there. Uh. Maze. Zing. When I was a little girl, I literally used to cut pictures of furniture out of magazines and glue them to paper to decorate pretend rooms. I was so ahead of my time!

Here is the room I created, based on the pair of orange Bergere chairs. I designed it in Photoshop (because I use it all the time and found it to be more flexible for me), but if you don't have Photoshop, Polyvore is your new BFF. 

What goes with orange? I chose navy blue and gray with gold accents. I'm still a fan of light gray walls. It's a wonderful neutral that almost any color can work with. The dark gray floor length curtains create a nice backdrop for the room. The orange chairs really hold their own, so I chose complimentary pieces that helped them stand out, yet look like they all belong together. I like how the gold lamp, mirror and chandelier add shine and sophistication, but aren't too fancy or ornate. The navy blue love seat pulls everything together and helps anchor the room. The blue and white ottoman plays off the love seat and adds another layer of texture and pattern. The rug also introduces a subtle pattern, with a warm straw color that works with everything and looks great against the wood flooring. 

I don't know about you, but I would like to live in this space! It feels modern with a vintage flair, yet looks comfortable and approachable. I'd say this room is definitely not boring white, but cheerful and bright! 

Thank you, Chairish for the opportunity to create a fun room! I hope you'll be as inspired as I was.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

So Much to Say

I'm not very good at verbally communicating (just ask my husband). I've always preferred writing my thoughts and feelings. I often get tongue tied, forget what I was going to say or what I really wanted to say, doesn't come out quite right. And speaking in front of large crowds? Forget it. It's taken me years to be able to stand at the front of a room and present coherent material at a meeting.

Becoming a mom has caused me to feel more deeply and experience emotions on a whole new level. I find myself lacking the words to articulate my feelings, even more now. After waiting years to have our son, I wake up every day with the realization that we are so very lucky, blessed, to have him here with us. I get to see his smile every morning. I get to rock him to sleep every night. I get to play with him and watch him discover the world. He is bursting with life. Our God-sent gift of love.

Sadly, so many people aren't able to experience the same.

Very early this morning, a friend of mine gave birth to her second child. A precious baby boy, who lived for just 18 minutes. Minutes. She and her husband knew early on that their baby was not expected to live long after birth, yet they saw no other choice than to carry him to term. They welcomed him into their hearts, long before they met him. And today, they finally met him and also said goodbye to him, this side of heaven. Their daughter welcomed him into heaven and they are both with Jesus. Two babies they held in their arms are now in the arms of Jesus.

My heart is so broken for them. Knowing they were at the hospital yesterday, waiting for his arrival, I couldn't keep back tears. I still can't. I've been praying continually. Praying prayers that I don't even have words for. Praying that God would wrap His arms around them and comfort them like only He can. I think the glaring question in everyone's mind is, "Why, God?" We may never know the answer. But our God is still good. He is still faithful. Still in control. And to Him be the glory.

I look around me and there are children with cancer. Babies who need transplants. Kids who don't make it to their 5th birthday. It's beyond heart wrenching. My mom-heart aches for these families and wishes it would all just go away. Children don't deserve this. There is nothing right or fair about it. 

It makes me hug my baby boy a little tighter. Stare at him while he's sleeping a little longer. Kiss his sweet face a few more times. And one more kiss before I go to bed. It makes me thank God with all my heart that he is here, that he's healthy, that he's happy. It makes me pray harder for his health and well-being, but most of all, that he will love God with all his heart and live for his purpose. It makes me feel so undeserving. So blessed. Clinging tightly to every moment. Desiring to take it all in and not forget a single thing. Even on a frustrating day, there is so much to be thankful for.

Today, Marshall fell asleep on my shoulder. Lately he's been napping and sleeping in his crib the majority of the time. But today, he wanted to sleep in my arms. So I held him for almost and hour, even though my arm muscles started to burn and my back started to ache. I wanted to cradle him forever. Not everyone gets to do that. God has given me an amazing gift and I want to cherish that gift, every single day.

Sometimes no words are needed. You only need to hold tightly to the ones God has placed in your life. Those are the moments that say it all.

So, if things have been, and continue to be a little quiet around here, know that I am doing "mom things", taking care of my family, loving my husband and my son, and trying to be the woman God wants me to be. He has blessed me far abundantly beyond what I could ever hope for.

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart." Jeremiah 1:5

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monthly Marshall Moments: Six

We are at the six month mark with our little bundle of joy. Half a year already! Marshall is the light of our lives. He does something adorable, surprising or new every day. And he's growing steadily in the fiftieth percentile. Our little man. Such a sweetie!

The smiles keep coming and so do more frequent giggles and lots of cute babbling. I love listening to the sounds he makes. When he looks at me with those big blue eyes, I just melt into a puddle of mush. I love his chunky legs and soft squishy arms. And those cheeks! 

Marshall has been working hard at learning to roll over and just starting to hold his balance while sitting up. He recently started to like napping on his side or tummy (like his dad). 

Babbling, cooing and shrieking 
Giggles the most for his dad
Started liking pacifiers
Showing signs of teething (drooling and chewing on everything)
Can roll over onto his tummy (still working on rolling back onto his back)
Good sleeper
Likes to play with blocks
Doesn't like swimming pools or homemade slip 'n slides yet :) 
18.5 LB

 I just love how his light brown/blonde wispy hair is growing! 

We took Marshall to our favorite restaurant, Simply Crepes, with friends who were visiting, on his 6 month birthday. He did great. I think he will like it there as much as we do.

I am so thankful for our little family! Thank you, Lord, for your many, many blessings.