Summer Picnic

It’s the weekend! Hooray!

I hope you all have some fun plans. This weekend we are taking the kids to a pretty park we found and we are going to have a picnic. Can you believe that summer is coming to its end and we haven’t done this yet?!! Well, we still have a month of summer because our kids don’t start back to school until after Labor Day. I know that a lot of you are already gearing up to send the littles back to school.

I’ll be sharing some easy and budget-friendly ideas for your next summer picnic next week.

Summer Picnic Ideas In other news… See that picture there? That was taken with my new camera!! I have been having a blast this week playing with my newfangled toy! I feel pretty comfortable with it now and I will be doing my first “official” shoot with it this weekend.

That image just says summer to me. It’s not overdone. Just simply summer. Picnic blankets and small white bowls. All you need is a scoop of ice cream and blueberries from the Farmer’s Market.

That whole image was prompted by my kids begging for ice cream. It was two in the afternoon, and I said, “Why the heck not!?!” Off to the store we went for ice cream and I snapped a couple of shots before the kids gobbled it all up!

So, happy summer and I hope you have some fun this weekend!

Our East Coast Adventures | Cape Cod Weekend

I looked at the calendar today and realized that we only have 1 month left on the East Coast before we make the trek back to our Illinois home. Wow! Where did the time go?! Well, lucky for you…or not so lucky for you…I have some photos to share with you today! I guess it depends on whether or not you love to see photos of travels.

Here’s the thing folks. It’s been a bit of a challenge to blog or feel motivated to blog while being here. I’m shooting something for the blog this weekend only because it is due and it fits into our weekend plans…but I know I have only been sharing once or twice a week this summer. We have been traveling A LOT. I’ve traveled twice for blogger events in the past month and we have been spending our weekends and sometimes weekdays exploring the upper East Coast.

I have, oh, about a GAZILLION photos on my camera to go through. I started to chip away at my memory card the other day and here’s some of the things that give me warm fuzzies.

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We spent this last weekend exploring Cape Cod. It was idyllic. Wood shingle sided homes and blue hydrangeas everywhere. Lobster rolls offered up at every roadside restaurant and seaside food shack. It is everything that summer should be.

red-shack

This place, The Red Shack, had the best lobster rolls! We have become lobster roll connoisseurs after a couple of months of sampling them at different spots all over the coast. This little walk-up window restaurant in Provincetown is one of our favorites for the perfect lobster roll. They have several variations you can order too, but I love the simplicity of the Connecticut roll. I am not a mayo lobster roll kind of girl. I’ll take a buttered lobster roll over mayo every time.

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But, with all that quaint East Coast charm, my favorite part of our weekend there was our time on the beaches. The ocean is captivating to me. Maybe because we don’t have one to visit back home. The muddy waters of the Mississippi pale in comparison to the power and majesty of rolling ocean waves. I spent hours staring into the ocean, being lulled into a calm listening to the waves crash and meet the shore. My boys had the time of their life there. As a parent, nothing beats the look of pure joy on your child’s face. It makes me happy and at ease.

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The first beach we visited Mid Cape was Kalmus Beach. It was in walking distance from where we were lodging. It is a seashell and sand beach and the waves are smaller so it is great for little kids. It is also great for watching boats since there is a harbor close by. Not the most pristine beach, but fun all the same.

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After a day on the beach, we washed the salt water off and went out for a nice dinner. The Roadhouse Cafe is a Hyannis staple and a must-do. It has the charm of yesteryear and the dimly lit dining rooms are full of people enjoying good wine and food. It was a wonderful atmosphere to be in. They had a great drink selection. The menu had something for everyone–seafood, pasta, pizza, steak, and more. The place was bustling that Saturday evening, but we called ahead and made a reservation and had no problem getting a booth.

The next morning we got up early to explore the towns on a drive to the Upper Cape. We checked out local shops and antiques stores along the way. The antique stores were great but the prices not so much. There were so many great rugs, vases, lamps, paintings…but the price tags were a bit rich for my pocketbook. I’ll stick to my Midwest prices.

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We followed Historic Route 6 all the way to the tip of the cape. This is such a lovely drive and the scenery and homes are beautiful and so Cape Cod. There are plenty of stops along the way for shopping, food, and gas.

The beaches on the upper cape, especially the National Seashore beaches, were my favorites. They are the cleanest and have the most amazing waves and wildlife. We visited Marconi Beach just a few hours before high tide came in.

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As the tide came in, we all sat and watched the waves and to our surprise seals were everywhere. We counted about ten seals playing in the waves. If we had not been spectators, I bet they would have come on shore. They were showing off and having a grand time in the waves. One of my favorite thoughts from our weekend is that moment. All 4 of us huddled together on that blanket watching the waves and seals come in.

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Shortly after the seal show, a rain started to come down. Do you know how rain can be happy sometimes? This was a pleasant rain. Not angry or stormy, the kind of light rain that you don’t mind having to walk in. In a way, it was the perfect ending to our first weekend on the cape.

Friday Favorites | Blogger Style Files

Happy Friday!

I am just sharing where I am today. I’d love for you to come visit me over at Kayla’s blog A Delightful Place to Dwell. Kayla is such a sweet blog friend and I am honored that she asked me to be a part of her Friday Favorites Blogger Style Files series.

Blogger Style Files

Kayla and I go way back. In fact, she is one of the first bloggers I started reading when I began B@H. You will love her style and most of all– you will love her!

One of my favorite projects that Kayla has done is her bar cart makeover.

PLEASE PIN FROM HER SITE BY CLICKING HERE

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Happy Weekend friends! Be sure to visit us at http://www.adelightfulplacetodwell.com !!

The August Issue of Better Homes and Gardens

I am just getting back into the groove here after my trip to the Haven Conference. I’ll be sharing more about that later this week, but there was a surprise awaiting me when I arrived Thursday!

One thing I feel really blessed with in this blogging journey are the great friendships that have formed because of it.

Without going into too much detail, I had travel drama and I was supposed to fly out with a couple of friends. Well, because of a major accident and interstate traffic jam, I missed my flight and had to catch the next one.

These sweet girls waited for me at the Atlanta airport! Can you believe that?!!

The Chronicles of Home | Jennifer was my roommate for Haven and we have connected through our blogs for over a year now. I joked with her that she is an awesome spooner–we shared a king bed. No, we didn’t spoon!  I had the pleasure of already getting to meet her at another blogger event and she is everything you think she would be– fun, down-to-earth, caring, and gorgeous. Some of my favorite moments from our trip are when we were up in our room getting ready for things or in our down times just chatting away. And any girl that brings you a gold and acrylic stapler is the cat’s meow in my book!

Dimples & Tangles | Jennifer is another friend that I just adore spending time with. She has a heart of gold and beautiful style. So giving, loving, and puts you right at ease. She met up with the girls at the airport and when I showed up she had the August Better Homes & Gardens laying out on the table. This was such a fun thing to see because if you turn to that back page, (you know–the one everyone turns to first ;)) there I am!

Better Homes and Garden August Issue

Finding Silver Pennies | Danielle and I got to meet last year at Haven so it was so great to get to spend more time with her. I remember when we were very new to blogging (and had no clue what we were doing), we teamed up with a few other bloggers to do a holiday link party. We’ve learned a lot since then and I have enjoyed following her. She is petite and pretty as you’d expect and such a sweet soul. I had the pleasure of talking with her on our flight home and I am so glad I got to share that time with her. I just absolutely love this girl and I am excited to visit her while I’m out east.

Once we got pass the security check point, we stopped in to see if the August issue was on newsstands yet…and it was!! Danielle kindly snapped these pics for me:

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I feel like it still isn’t real. I had a BHG photographer and stylist at my house! Now, I get to be in one of my favorite magazines of all time! Somebody pinch me!!

I’ll share more about the shoot later this month, but for now I want to share what it changed for me. I just feel like doing this was a pivotal moment for me and my blog. I’ve always loved styling and photographing my projects. It is fastly becoming the thing I love the most.

At Haven, I went to Kristin (AKA- the HUNTED interior) and Lucy’s (AKA Craftberry Bush) Photography Styling class (which was my favorite session btw), and I really connected with something that Kristin shared there.  She said that when she had the photographers at her house for a magazine shoot, it really got her focused on that side of blogging even more. I feel the exact same way! It was a really pivotal moment for me. When BHG was here, I was observing every detail of what they were doing. It just got the wheels turning even more and makes me want to focus more on that side of the blog. Oh, and if you don’t already follow Kristin and Lucy I suggest adding them to your blog roll.

You don’t need an expensive camera or a photographer grade Photoshop program to do this. Here’s a behind the blog secret…I have been getting by for 2 years here with a Panasonic Lumix! When I share that with other bloggers, they are so shocked. Which, I guess is a good thing and a lot of people have said they love my photography here on the blog. I think that this goes to show you that it isn’t the camera that makes or breaks a photo. It’s the way you use it and the styling.

But here’s the thing,  I am limited in what I can do with it. I can’t add lenses to it. Even in the manual setting, it is not a true manual mode and I can not manipulate the camera as I would like to. I have learned some ways to trick my camera, but I am so ready for more.

So, after some saving I finally got myself my “big girl camera” and I am going to start learning it. I also bought my first lens and a decent tripod, so I am eager and ready to improve my photography skills even more.

This has been something I have been wanting to do for a while now, so it feels so great to get it going!

It’s becoming an even bigger passion of mine to create those shots that speak to me (and hopefully to you) and that get the message across with a beauty that is captivating. A photo is a story to tell. It sets the mood for what you are sharing. So, that is my goal of late. To focus not just on the quality of what I am sharing with you, but to sharpen my photography more and more. I feel like each time I get behind that camera I get better and better. It is so fun and just takes what I create to another level.

Aside from being in a publication that I adore, BHG gave me a real gift that in my eyes is priceless. They gave me an experience that I would not otherwise have had. A chance to observe and learn from professionals that create and style those photographs we drool over all the time. I give a huge thank you to Greg Scheidemann and Lindsay Berger for making the whole experience a joyful event. They were amazing to work with and I enjoyed being a fly on the wall as they worked their magic!

So, I think we can all agree that blogging is AWESOME. It encourages me even more to keep on sharing what I love to create with you guys. I feel so blessed that I can do that and that you all keep coming back to see it.

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I will be sharing some more Haven goodness with you soon, but thanks so much for all your messages and comments about the Better Homes and Gardens feature. It totally made my day!

My Blogger Perspective After 2 Years

Hi friends and if you are new here… you came on a doozy of a day!

Are you a fellow DIY or design blogger? If so, this post is for you!

tips on how to be a better blogger

Now, when I say ‘doozy of a day’ that does not have a negative connotation to it at all. I just mean to say you’ve been invited to a unique and outstanding kind of blog post. I’m going to touch on the blogger slump and why it just might be a good thing. I’m going to share about GOD FORBID! the sponsored post, the DIY/design sandbox, blogging etiquette, blog conferences…the whole SHEBANG!

As some of you may know, I am not in my home right now. My family and I had the unique opportunity to live on the East Coast this summer. So, for the rest of the summer Connecticut is my home. With this comes many great and wonderful things…like trips to the Cape, NYC, a Boston day trip, Rhode Island beaches…and the list goes on and on.

But, when you are a DIY and design blogger, this kind of summer is not conducive to putting out project tutorials and home decor tips every week.

I’m just keeping it real here. It felt like a slump. A blogger slump. I’m thinking to myself, I can’t dump a million photos on you of my kids at the beach every day and nor do I want to. But, they are pretty cute…maybe I can…NO!

You see, I really just want to enjoy this summer out here. Explore, play, and have fun under the sun without the pressures of blogging projects all summer long.

So, let’s talk about…

blogger-slump-guilt

You’re like, “This is a thing??? This ‘blogger guilt’ as she calls it.”

Yes, it is a thing and I was feeling it the other day. Maybe some of you other bloggers out there can back me up on this. I feel a weird duty to my readers to keep the blog posts a coming! Here’s the thing though…I don’t feel inspired to decorate an apartment that I’m only going to be living in for a remaining month and 20 days. I could force something, but that would be forcing something and that is never a good way to blog.

So, here’s what I have decided… I will blog when I feel inspired to do so while I am in East Coast Kristy mode. It will be sporadic. It might be about a decor project, it might be about a summer recipe I just concocted, or it might be about a place I just visited. I’d rather share a bit of who I am and what season of life I’m in than pump out a tutorial just because that’s what I feel you expect.

I will be back in my Illinois home before I know it and back in my project mode soon enough. There are some really great projects and things to come. I wish I could spill the beans now, but it will all have to wait. I am really excited and design happy here working on the details of all those projects. It has been so fun to plan and work on furniture designs and inspiration boards. I feel like I have a wealth of time to perfect what I am going to do.

This will all begin when I am back home and it will be fun to get back at it, but for now I am on a summer hiatus.

Blogger Guilt: 0

East Coast Kristy: 1

I have complete freedom of spirit now to enjoy every waking second of playing with my kids in the ocean, taking family hikes, and doing really touristy things like going to the Statue of Liberty and taking a million pictures EVERY DAY.

Thinking about blogger guilt made me thing about…

blogger-slump-sponsored-posts

I’ve just been observing that this has become like the FOUR LETTER WORD of blogging. Since I am in East Coast Kristy mode and I have had a lot more time to reflect on the past 2 years of blogging, I’ve seen the good and the bad with sponsored posts.

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I remember the first time I got paid to do a sponsored post. I was like,”Oh goodness, honey, SO-AND-SO is GOING TO PAY ME to do a project with their BLEEPITY-BLEEP and all I have to do is post it on my blog!”

It is a good thing to have brands reach out to you and want to work with you, but it is a slippery-slope. I really have reflected on what I want this blog to be lately. If you do a sponsored post and you are just not feeling it and if you blog it, you are in turn lying to your readers and not being authentic. It’s ugly. Nobody likes ugly, and you just might be losing your readers along the way. I have stopped reading some blogs lately because it just seems that all they are doing is trying to get me to buy something.

Don’t get me wrong. Sponsored posts can be a good thing for the blogger and reader when it is the right partnership.

I have decided to be even more choosy with sponsored posts here at B@H. I considered myself pretty choosy before, but now it’s choosy on crack! I would suggest this line of thought to any of you blogging out there. Big blogs or small blogs…it’s just not worth it unless it fits into what you are doing and allows you creative freedom.

There are a lot of boxes a sponsored post has to check off in my book. Here are a few I’ve come up with for my own consideration:

working with brands requirements for bloggers

If a sponsored post proposal can’t check off those boxes…then it will not be considered. That last one has become really important to me. It fits in with personal blog goals which I will touch on soon here.

Here’s the thing. I love what I do! I love it so much that I have lists and lists of ideas, design plans, things I want to tackle in our home…I just want to do what I want to do. This blog is a reflection of who I am and what I love to share.

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That is pretty much how I feel about my blog.

“Whatever I feel like I wanna share. Gosh!”

And here’s the truth. The brand relationships I love most are the ones that I approached first. I brought them my idea. Don’t be afraid to pitch a brand your idea. It just may turn out to be a lasting and wonderful relationship!

Stay true to you and what you love and share it in the best way you know how. I’m always looking at new ways to style a shoot, create an interesting post, etc. Never quit learning and improving your skills.

This in turn made me think about…

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Now, being in a blogging slump is pretty normal. Just as in life there are peaks and valleys; they also exist here in your blogging journey. And just like in life, you can throw yourself a little pity party or just recognize it for what it is and move on.

There are a lot of talented designers and creatives out there in our DIY/design niche. One thing I notice a lot in our niche, is the comparison game. Everyone is comparing! You may feel at times that others are excelling while you are moving at a glacial pace. That’s okay and normal! Every blogger has felt this at one time or another.

DISMISS IT.

Focus on your work and your brand. Do what you are talented at and enjoy it.

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It’s a great thing to support your fellow bloggers and praise them for a job well done. Just don’t fall into the trap of comparing! You don’t want to become that person. Easier said than done sometimes I guess.

I want everyone in our niche to succeed!

Bloggers are getting in magazines, working with great brands, getting recognized on larger websites. Some are even landing themselves on TV. It is a really amazing niche to be in!

Some bloggers have massive followings and pageviews that seem unfathomable. Well, it didn’t happen overnight. Chances are, it was a mix of talent and really hard work, dedication, having a teachable spirit, and being noticed at the right time. Plus, in all of that, staying true to who they are and their own personal style.

My advice to you is this. Set clear goals. Short-term and long-term. Update them when needed and look at them when you are feeling you fall short. I do this at least once a year (lately more often) and it gives me perspective and direction on what I want out of blogging.

Here’s some things to take into mind when making your goals:

goals

Oh, and these successful bloggers– I’m sure they will tell you they didn’t do it alone. It took a great support system. Supportive spouses and partners and a great group of blogging friends. It takes a village to raise a blog…no, really it does…

My favorite thing about blogging is hands down the friendships I have made along the way. It is a cool thing to connect with someone miles away and even cooler when that connection becomes a real friendship. If not for blogging, I would not have some of the great friends I have now.

Our niche is pretty amazing, is it not?!

This little niche of ours made me look at the projects being put out in the blogosphere which then made me think about…

blog slump quality

Not every single day are you going to have a brilliant idea to share with the world. If you do, then it must be really great being you!

Good quality project posts take time, preparation, trial and error, and WORK.

Then, you have to photograph it, write it, share it. It’s a lot to do.

You are taking an idea from conception to fruition. I’ve just learned it is better to go at your own pace whatever that might be. I’d rather go weeks between posts if that meant that I was sharing something I am really, really proud of! This is a lesson you have to learn, and everyone is a little different.

If you are just pumping out posts just to have content all the time chances are you are going to get some bad eggs along the way…

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Unless you have hired help, you are usually a one man or woman show when it comes to all that. To do it well is definitely a talent and you have to learn to be a jack-of-all-trades so to speak.

If you notice this just circles back to the sponsored post dilemma mentioned above!

Putting out good content made me think about…

blogger slump etiquette

Oh, man! Have I opened a can of worms today!

Tell me if you have had this happen.

You get an email from a fellow blogger that they saw your project on another blogger’s site and it wasn’t linked to. Or, another blogger has copied your project and not given you a shout out saying that their project was inspired by yours or that they got the idea from your fab project…OUCH! This can be such a messy one!

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Just do the right thing. If you saw another blogger’s project and you love it and you do it and then blog it– give them a link in your post. Cite your source, just do it.

The truth of it is, that there aren’t too many original ideas out there. Chances are someone else has done it or there is a similar project out there somewhere. Just give credit where credit’s due and everyone’s happy.

Another one I hate is when I see an un-watermarked image taken right off another blogger’s site. Just don’t do that, okay? I know some bloggers are of the mind that it shouldn’t matter if they are linking to you and giving you pageviews because of it. But, really, with Pinterest being such a huge force in directing readers to your blog these days, it is just bad etiquette. Use a water-marked image.

I don’t pull images from another blogger’s site now without their consent. I hardly ever want to do that anyways. I’d rather produce my own unique content. A lot of times, I just do a text link, so that readers will pin from their site. You can even say that in your post,”pin from so-and-so’s blog please.”

There are going to be some that disagree with me on that, but I have seen and know what that feels like. You don’t want to rub your fellow creatives the wrong way. We are so protective of our work and brands.  It’s just good blogger etiquette. Nobody wants to see their baby stolen! Don’t be the baby-snatcher!

And just, FYI, not everyone in blogland is going to give you warm fuzzies. There are all kinds of personalities in our niche. I just want to be nice and friendly to everyone, but not everyone is like that. I’ve quit reading some blogs after I’ve met the blogger behind the blog if that tells you anything. I don’t have time for that! But, for the most part, everyone is really, really nice in our niche! We are pretty lucky to all be in the same sand-box together.

Speaking of our sand-box…

blog-conference

Last year, I attended my first blog conference and let me tell you something…I’m glad I did!

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Not all blog conferences are created equal, and I really think starting out you should go to one for your specific niche. It is so great to connect with people who are cuckoo for all things DIY and design like you are. Haven is a great one to attend, especially if you are new to blogging. I learned a lot last year from the sessions.

I admit though, I was super nervous! I only knew a few people going into it, so when I walked into a room full of faces and had no idea who anyone was, it was a bit intimidating. That quickly faded once I started talking to people. I think I had a perma-smile and probably came off a little too strong at first though.

Also, I’ve seen some bloggers get all starry-eyed meeting a blogger who in their eyes is BIG TIME…but really, it doesn’t need to be like that. I admire many bloggers, but to me it’s more about relationships than being star struck.

This year, I just want to have fun with it. I’m excited to see my blogging friends and make new ones. I feel so relaxed about it all the second time around.

My blogging circles have been filled with discussions on what to wear and bring. The best advice I can give you is to be yourself. Wear what you are comfortable in. Don’t worry about how everyone else will look. If you don’t wear make-up normally, don’t feel pressured to do so. If you are a fashionista flaunt your fab style! Bring a good attitude and a smile and you can’t go wrong!

The main thing to remember at these things is that everyone wants to feel included. Be the person that is approachable. If you see someone standing alone, introduce yourself and make them feel welcome.

So, if you are going to Haven this week…

I’ll be there!

Oh, and if you see a tall blonde girl that looks like Kristin from Bliss at Home, please come and say hi! I’d love to meet you!

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So, for me, this blog slump of mine is really a good thing. It made me think a lot about blogging and my own personal space here in the blogosphere.

Maybe in another 2 years, I’ll have some kernels of wisdom to share again.

I’d also like to thank my special group of blogging friends (you know who you are) who inspired today’s post. Without our conversations, I probably would not have written about this today.

What do you guys think about all this? Worth the blog post? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

4th of July Beach Style

It’s a short blog week over here due to the holiday. This is my last post for this week since we are leaving to enjoy a few days at the beach. I popped into Old Navy the other day and found some great summer essentials and got inspired to put together an outfit post. Here’s my beach style inspired by Independence Day!

Fourth of July Beach Style

Here’s my 4th of July beach style this year.

First off, Old Navy has been impressing me with their summer selections. I have been pleasantly surprised lately! I snagged a white gauze blouse and those boyfriend cuffed shorts. They are perfect to work into your wardrobe all summer long. I love this over a bikini and it’s great for strolling the beach.

In the spirit of the 4th, I found these cute mix and match swim separates at J.Crew. There is a really great selection of red, white, and blue to choose from. I love their suits too.

Another recent favorite of mine are Turkish towels. I received a Turkish T towel in my recent Popsugar Must Have Box and I adore it. The pattern, the fringe! It’s big enough to use as a beach towel and doubles as a sarong or wrap. Love, love, love!

Sunglasses are a must for a day at the beach, and I have a confession here. I go CHEAP on sunglasses. My kids grab them, scratch them, I end up leaving them somewhere…it is like throwing money away if I buy super nice ones! But, you know what? I get compliments ALL THE TIME on my cheapos from Forever 21. These cat-eye sunglasses are so flattering and for the price you can stock up!

I don’t know if it’s being on the East Coast right now, or the fact that I never met a bold stripe I don’t love, but a striped tote bag feels necessary for a beach day, does it not? This Sea Stripe Tote Bag  from L.L.Bean is a great price point and well-made. It’s canvas, has rope detail, and you can monogram it. What’s not to love!?!

I guess I’ve been living under a rock, but Jonathan Adler for TOMS! Ummm…yes, the collection is as good as it sounds! These Navy Geometric JA Correa Sandals are beyond yummy. I just adore them!

Last but definitely not least…my beach ensemble would not be complete without an anchor necklace. This simple gold anchor necklace from Charming Charlie is the perfect accessory for this look.

I can’t wait to slip into this for our beach day! These are pieces I will get use out of all summer long.

I wish you all a happy 4th! Have fun celebrating and be safe!!

*this post contains affiliate links

B@H Monthly || June

Oh, summer feels like it is here! I am loving the weather in Connecticut. It is not as humid as back home. So, when it is in the 80′s it still feels lovely out! I am really falling in love with New England!! I have been pretty spoiled here in our summer rental with a pool and gym to use whenever I want. With the 4th this Friday, I feel like this will be the most memorable one for my family. We are headed to Mystic for our Independence Day celebrations.

Today, is recap day! So, today’s post is filled with the best of our June and what’s coming up for July. Every month, I like to highlight all the projects, plans, decor and happenings around here. Thanks for joining me on all our design and DIY adventures! In the immortal words of Fergie-Ferg, let’s get it started in here!

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I made these DIY Border Curtains from Ikea RITVA panels for the Summer Style Soiree.

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To add some style to our summer balcony, I painted our patio chairs with a design inspired by abstract art.

DIY Painted Patio Chairs

These DIY Paint-dipped Woven Pots are fun for your summer herbs and plants.

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For a memento of our time in Connecticut, I made this DIY Embossed State Art and you can too with this tutorial.

DIY embossed state art tutorial

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Home is a little different these days. Our summer rental for June-August is starting to feel a bit like home. You can see our summer home tour to see where we are spending our warmer months. You can also get links to all the summer home tours there too.

home tour 2

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You can still enter to win a HomeRight Heat Pro Deluxe II. This is the heat gun I used for my embossing tutorial and a must-have in our DIY arsenal!

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I would also like to thank all my wonderful sponsors for our 2 Year Blog Anniversary Week of giveaways!!

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 LUCIANA

Rugs USA

Crane & Canopy

HomeRight

Holly + Martin

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I’d like to thank Delta Faucet Company for inviting me to their blogger event in Indianapolis. It was such a great time and I learned so much! You can read all about it here.

Blogger Group

I also want to take time to thank these wonderful websites and blogs that featured my work in the month of June:

She Knows

i heart organizing

Mimosa Lane

 bah-monthly-next

Haven! It’s just days away now! In just over a week, I will be joining many DIY/design bloggers at the Haven Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. This will be my second year attending and I can’t wait to reconnect with friends and make new ones too!

Haven Conference 2013

July will also bring another link party for the Summer Style Soiree. Our muse for July is Princess Diana. I can’t wait to see what you all link up! I just decided on my project the other day.

Summer Style Soiree 2014 Invite

Tomorrow, I will be sharing some of our East Coast Adventures from our first month here.

boston

Emboss like a BOSS and a GIVEAWAY!!

I embossed.

I embossed and I want to do it again, and again, and AGAIN!

Today, I am sharing my new favorite DIY toy, the HomeRight Heat Pro Deluxe II. You will have a chance to win one at the end of this post!

Heat guns are amazing and great to have in your DIY tool arsenal. They do countless things that I will share at the end of this post, but today I want to focus on embossing.

If you are not familiar with embossing, it is how you achieve that raised and printed look on paper. You can use this technique on other things too, but today we are going to focus on paper. It is great to use with your favorite rubber stamps.

DIY Embossed State Art Tutorial

Here’s a tutorial on how to emboss like a boss. I really just wanted to say that!

Since, we are spending our summer months in Connecticut, I wanted a little memento I could bring home with us and add to our gallery wall. DIY state art seemed like a great choice.

embossing-supplies

To emboss you will need:

• a rubber stamp or template

• cardstock for your print

• fine tip paint brush (only if using template)

• clear embossing ink

• embossing powder

• heat gun

For my DIY state art, I used a downloaded state image from this source. I just cut it out and used it as my template and inked the outline.

DIY embossed state art tutorial

Before you begin, make sure you protect your surfaces. I also recommend working outside if you can or in a very well ventilated area.

Above is a step-by-step image tutorial. Basically, it is simple:

1) Stamp or paint on your embossing ink.

2) Pour your embossing powder over the ink and shake the excess off on a spare piece of paper. You can use your paper to add it back into its container so you can use it again.

3) Use your heat gun to set the powder in the ink. It will raise up and have a glossy sheen.

* I found it helpful to have a spare paint brush on hand to help brush the excess embossing powder off my print. Just make sure not to touch where your ink is or you could risk smudging your print.

After my practice run I made a gold one. It has such a pretty sheen to it!

DIY embossed state art tutorial

I can’t wait for the stamps I ordered to come in and play some more with embossing! I want to emboss everything right now! It’s a bit addicting!

The HomeRight Heat Pro Deluxe II has some pretty amazing applications! Here’s some of the things you can use it for:

Embossing (as seen here).

Removal of: paint, urethane from furniture and woodwork, stickers and bumper stickers, vinyl flooring, linoleum, laminate, caulk, wood putty.

Drying metal surfaces prior to painting, ignition system.

Heating shrink-wrap, window shrink coverings, frozen locks and water pipes, bearings and gears, loosening rusted bolts.

You can also solder water pipes, weld plastic, bend plastic/poly carbonate, and wax skis with it!

It comes with several attachments for scraping and different nozzles to control how the heat is directed. I used the concentrator nozzle for embossing.

homeright-heat-gun

It also has a side dial to control the temp and 2 speeds. The top of the gun lets you know what temp you are at. I found the sweet spot for embossing to be 340 degrees on the low setting.

HomeRight Heat Pro Deluxe II

This is going to come in handy for so many projects we have left to do back on the home front. I can’t wait to use it to remove paint and urethane!

To enter to win a HomeRight Heat Pro Deluxe II just follow the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can check out the Home Right website to see all their great products.

Happy Monday friends! I am going to do another embossing project soon to share with you!

Paint-dipped Ikea FRIDFULL Woven Planters

One thing I miss this summer is my herb garden. Since we have a little patio space here at our summer rental, I wanted to make sure I had some fresh herbs on hand.

This is a quick and easy painted pot project. In the amount of time it takes you to blink, you can get this done!

ikea-painted-pots

 

Pros about living here are the great stores! I am minutes from Ikea, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods…stores that are a bit of drive back home…like a 3 hour drive!

On my last Ikea haul, I grabbed 3 FRIDFULL woven 4-1/2 inch pots. They are the perfect size for little herbs and succulents.

To make them more personalized, I opted to give them a paint-dipped look with black and white paint leftover from my DIY Painted Patio Chairs.

DIY Painted-Dipped Ikea FRIDFULL Woven Pots

 

I just used my leftover painter’s tape to make a clean line as I measured 3 inches up on each one.

DIY painted pots

This is a really quick way to get that paint-dipped look.

At Trader Joe’s, I picked up a variety of herbs and a succulent. I just love these little woven planters.

planting-herbs

Now, I have a little herb garden to snip for cooking. I am hoping our little patio will get enough sun to keep these little guys happy.

little-herb-garden

As you see our garden gnome “Cheese McBean” traveled out east with us. I am going to add some more herbs when I get to the store again, but this is a good little start.

summer-home-tour-bliss-at-home-3

I moved the succulent indoors for now to make more room for herbs. I like him by our little brass heron that the boys named Rocky.

If you’d like to see more of our summer rental that will be ours until the end of August, you can check out my summer home tour below.

home tour 2

 

I hope you all enjoy your weekend. I have a project to finish up, but we are going hiking all day Saturday. We found a great spot that is close-by that has some beautiful trails and waterfalls. The boys can’t wait!

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