A Home Project Perhaps Even I Can Handle: Mudroom Bathroom Update

The bathroom off of our mudroom is like design wasteland (ha, no pun intended but hey, I couldn't help myself). When we moved in to our home almost 5 years ago, I never really gave any thought to the details of this particular spot. Now, every time I walk by it (which is like 100 times a day) it bums me out. Beige and boring- two of my least favorite things ever.

We are currently doing a couple small projects in the house- which I will cover as they progress- and my husband is without a doubt the one in charge. And rightly so- he has an incredible instinct for interior design- which is great, but also kind of annoying because it means I don't get to make any decisions, ever. I am great at sourcing images of things I like on Pinterest and Instagram, and passionately proclaiming my love for them, but when it comes to translating the designs to work within our space, forget it- total disaster waiting to happen. 

But I am convinced I have gotten better as of late- and I am determined to prove that I can pick out things, and make it all come together in a way that isn't offensive to the eyes. I have decided to make the mudroom bathroom my pet project- and you heard it here first- I am going to be decisive and I am going to execute. I want a mudroom bathroom that reflects the personality of our house- colorful and whimsical, in a modern way. If there is any room that we can get a little silly with, it is this one- so, GAME ON.

Here are a few images currently inspiring my direction for the key components:

1- Statement Wallpaper.

This geometric pattern from MuralsWallpaper incorporates the two colors we have throughout the house- orange and purple- but also brings in other options. And since I am obsessed with super high gloss paint, updating the dark wood cabinet under the sink in one of the hues, with a mirror-like shiny finish, is definitely in the plans. 

This geometric pattern from MuralsWallpaper incorporates the two colors we have throughout the house- orange and purple- but also brings in other options. And since I am obsessed with super high gloss paint, updating the dark wood cabinet under the sink in one of the hues, with a mirror-like shiny finish, is definitely in the plans. 

The other option is something like this- found on Cuckoo4Design's Instagram account and her amazing must-bookmark design blog. I could go black and white- still geometric- and leave the color statement up to the high gloss cabinet and throw in a funky piece of art behind the toilet to be reflected in the mirror. 

The other option is something like this- found on Cuckoo4Design's Instagram account and her amazing must-bookmark design blog. I could go black and white- still geometric- and leave the color statement up to the high gloss cabinet and throw in a funky piece of art behind the toilet to be reflected in the mirror. 

2- High Gloss Cabinet.

Okay- I just spent 45 minutes trying to find the original source of this image, which about 2 or 3 years ago got me totally obsessed with painting every single bathroom vanity in our house. To date, I have yet to paint one- but that all will change soon. Anyway- I THINK I originally found out it on Emily Henderson's Instagram- but regardless- check out her insta (@em_henderson) because it is amazing. 

Okay- I just spent 45 minutes trying to find the original source of this image, which about 2 or 3 years ago got me totally obsessed with painting every single bathroom vanity in our house. To date, I have yet to paint one- but that all will change soon. Anyway- I THINK I originally found out it on Emily Henderson's Instagram- but regardless- check out her insta (@em_henderson) because it is amazing. 

Having a green moment lately- and this (spotted on HGTV's website), in a high gloss finish, could be so cool. Yes, kind of random as we have no green anywhere else in our house, but still, a girl can dream...

Having a green moment lately- and this (spotted on HGTV's website), in a high gloss finish, could be so cool. Yes, kind of random as we have no green anywhere else in our house, but still, a girl can dream...

Orange is most likely what the final pick is going to be. I just have to be careful that the shade leans more towards University of Texas than University of Tennessee #hookem.

Orange is most likely what the final pick is going to be. I just have to be careful that the shade leans more towards University of Texas than University of Tennessee #hookem.

3- The Details.

Well, let's not get carried away here. For me, simply choosing a wallpaper and paint color is pretty major. So, for now- let's just say, to be continued...

 

 

 

What Moms REALLY Want For Mother's Day

Trust me on this. For any and every type of mom (at least the types of moms I would want to hang out with), there is at least one, if not 10, things on this list that would make them very happy (and get significantly more use than pretty much any "traditional" gift idea that you see advertised ad nauseam this week.)

So- from starting at the top left and working around in a somewhat clockwise manner:

1- Aviator Nation Sweats: She wants them. But she may feel insane buying them for herself. So be the hero. Because when it's a gift, you can't feel as guilty about owning a $150 hoodie. 

2- Charlotte Tilbury Makeup: When you give a limited edition makeup set- especially one from this universally coveted brand- it feels sweet and gift-y, not ill-intentioned and awkward. This one is called the Uptown Girl set, inspired by the most beautiful, iconic women of Hollywood. So, you can get all creative and sappy and tie it in to how your baby mama is the most beautiful, iconic woman ever yada yada yada...

3- Vita Fede Jewelry: Modern pieces that also manage to be timeless- her new matte black collection is the perfect addition to any jewelry box- edgy but not overly so.

4- Golden Goose Sneakers: Yeah, they start around $400. But they will be worn more often than any other equally expensive (if not more so) shoe in her closet. 

5- Bold Necklace: Look for one like this (designed by Elizabeth Cole) that takes classic elements and updated them into an oversized, more stylized, piece. She can wear it with EVERY SINGLE THING. Workwear, night out jeans and a blazer, black tie, etc.

6- Whimsical Earrings: The ultimate conversation piece, these are the earrings that transform her daily uniform (be it jeans and tee-shirt, a shift dress and blazer, etc) into something memorable. Yeah, they seem bonkers- but that is why they work. Promise. 

7- Edie Parker Clutch (or Key Charms): Depending on your budget (the charms are super cool and start at $125, a bunch of her signature clutches are actually on sale right now here), there are endless options. This is the way women do "evening" bags now, people- as a way to add a playful statement to what may otherwise feel like a serious get-up.

8- Dita Sunglasses: Oversized and awesome, these frames look great on EVERYONE. The bigger the better- super chic and guaranteed to mask all signs of sleep deprivation. 

9- Sergio Rossi Godiva Pumps: These are the perfect take on the of-the-moment pointy toe pump. I have tried them all, so I know. Very sexy, but also very sophisticated. And, there are many color options to choose from- including this wild one, which personally I would wear daily (well, on the days I give my Golden Goose sneaks a rest.)

Smart Solutions To Make Travel Less Terrifying.

There is something very calming about being efficiently packed and organized when traveling. It makes me feel slightly smug when I can confidently stroll through the airport, knowing what is where amongst my belongings. Instead of frantically rifling through my bags that I forgot this or dropped that- I hold my head high, and pretend that, just if even for the duration of my walk from security to the gate, I am that girl who totally has my sh*t together. 

In all honesty, the rigamarole to get from point A to point B is often enough to keep me from ever leaving the house- especially with my kids. Because I don't enjoy feeling like a hot mess.

So- here are a few finds that I came across putting together the Travel Innovations segment I shared this morning on TODAY. And since live TV has limited time- plus the constant chance of the unexpected, which is part of the fun- some of these things I didn't get to fully show on air. Sooooo, consider it bonus exclusive blog reader content- see, it's all about how you spin it, right? ;)

AWAY Travel: Top quality, reasonable prices, thoughtful details- this brand makes the actual act of buying a suitcase feel fun. Instead of navigating through a sea of overpriced black suitcases that all look the same piled up in a poorly designed department store, AWAY created minimalist, well-designed rolling suitcases in on-trend colors with RELEVANT benefits (built in USB charger, unbreakable shell exterior, colors that you can actually IDENTIFY on a luggage carousel, TSA friendly- but not thief friendly- lock, interior compartments that maximize space, a snap-in laundry bag, well-built wheels, etc.) for purchase online. For a family of travelers, the genius is that the bags nest inside each other- so you don't waste valuable storage space! Not only is this a huge benefit at home- but also when traveling, between 4 of us, I often feel like half of our room gets taken over by empty luggage laying around taunting us... Use THIS link to check out all the offerings- and it will also entitle you to $20 off your purchase! SCORE!

Smart Birdy: The most glam piece of luggage ever, without a doubt. I mean- can you even handle how freaking cute this brand is? Details like rose gold hardware and an optional bluetooth speaker (because, according to the founder, when she and her friends get ready to go out on a girls trip, music is essential- she SO gets it, right?!) are just the icing on the cake. See, you can pack 60 outfits in this puppy (see how HERE)- including 4 pairs of shoes. It also has the charger element, and other fun extras- but all that aside- this bag makes every trip instantly feel fabulous.  

Barracuda: It collapses down to just 4" deep- meaning you can store in under a low couch or bed, or even hang it in a closet (it comes inside a carrying bag with a hanger affixed to make it super simple.) And if you like to work on the go- the built in laptop desk is gonna be your best friend. The height is adjustable too- so you can make your temporary in-transit work station customized for your comfort. There is a removable charger- and, perhaps the element that I least expected to love most but alas, find to be a HUGE benefit- the handle swivels 360 degrees so you don't strain your wrist. 

1 Voice Weekender Garment/Duffel: When I was in the "wedding travel every weekend" phase of my early adult life, I remember lugging a hanging bag for my dress and then a second bag for all the other stuff. Such an unnecessary pain! This starts as a garment bag- zip in a dress, suit, etc.- place your shoes in the side pockets (FYI- I was able to fit a pair of heels in each pocket- yay for small feet and shoes more delicate than a men's loafer I guess), and then zip around the perimeter to magically turn said garment bag into a roomy duffel, ready to be filled with everything else you could possibly need for a 2-3 night trip. OH- and this week the company is offering 50% off with promo code 50Off...GET ON IT!

Lo & Sons Hanover Backpack: I am going to use this backpack every single day for the rest of my life. Not only is the minimalist design very cool, but the memory foam straps make the fit incredible. It is so lightweight, has just the right number of compartments to organize instead of confuse, and the back has a sleeve so you can affix it to the handle of a rolling suitcase. I featured the brand's O.G. carry-all tote in a segment when they launched, and fell in love with the smart way Lo & Sons thinks about how real people travel. Check out the site, and I highly recommend promptly replacing every bag you own with a similar Lo & Sons version - because trust me, the version they make is SO much better. Every damn time. 

The Most Fashionable Way To Protect Your Eyes From So. Much. Screen Time.

Eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain. Yup, just another day in the life of a girl (yeah, I know, I am a hop, skip and teeny tiny jump away from- gulp- 40 but in my mind, I am still like 18 so, by girl, I mean me) who spends way too much time staring at digital devices.

Oh- you can relate? Thought so.

Research shows that more than 80% of Americans report using digital devices for more than 2 hours a day- and I am guessing that, if you are reading this, you are probably like me and use digital devices exponentially more than that. (2 hours? That is just my middle-of-the-night dive down the rabbit hole of Instagram session.)

The result of all this screen time- in addition to the obvious, like over-posting pics of your kids on social media- is so serious that The Vision Council, a non-profit organization that serves as a global voice for all things related to eyewear and eyecare, has made digital eye strain a key focus for 2017- and invited me to partner with them to spread the word.

So- I have good news and bad news. I will start with the bad news….

Unless you are crazy disciplined and can survive on less than 2 hours of screen time a day, you are susceptible to daily discomforts like dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches and neck/shoulder pain.

But now- as promised- the good news!

I, like over 73% of people out there according to a recent survey, had no idea that you can protect your eyes from effects of digital eye strain with eyewear. Specialized lenses featuring blue light filters and anti-reflective treatments to minimize the effects of digital eye strain are, in fact, a thing.

You can get them with or without a prescription.

And, these lenses can be incorporated into ANY pair of frames.

SCORE! A reason to acquire more of my favorite accessory- eyeglasses…

The Vision Council recommends visiting your eyecare provider for an annual eye exam to get your eyes checked and discuss digital device usage.   I recommend that following the aforementioned exam, you seek out 3 awesome frames. Have your eyecare provider hook said frames up with blue light-filtering and anti-reflective lenses.

Keep a pair at your desk, a pair next to your bed, and a pair in your go-to daily carry-all. Your body- and, if relevant, your kids who have to deal with the miserable human become after a sleepless night- will thank you, big time.

(And yes, I know, 1 pair may be totally sufficient. But whenever I am shopping for glasses, I can never narrow it down to just one frame. So setting the bar at 3 will make me feel less excessive when I undoubtedly end up with like 5.)

For more info on digital eye strain, click HERE.

5 Things You May Never Think Of But Need To Do To Keep Your Home Healthy

Being an adult is serious business- this is a lesson I learn multiple times a day. Apparently just because in my head I still think I am in high school (and, on more than one occasion, have accidentally driven to my old house instead of my current one while listening to 90's and 9 and completely forgetting that it is not, in fact, 1997 anymore...oh, and I still sometimes date checks 2003 but that is a whole other story...)

Anyway- apparently on top of paying bills, grocery shopping and raising kids, as a home-owning grown up (gulp) I also have to maintain my house. And unlike laser hair removal, spray tan, skincare and hair color upkeep, when it comes to home maintenance, I quickly realized I have no freaking clue where to begin. I know what I don't know- and I do not know sh*t about the inner workings of pipes and drains and HVACs, oh my.

According to Ernesto Ruiz from Homesquare, a genius home maintenance service (currently available in Fairfield County, CT and Westchester County, NY) that has saved my life several times over- there are 5 things that you for sure need to be doing regularly so your home doesn't fall to pieces.  Since it seems very selfish for me to keep said things to myself, you can get the scoop in the video above, and I summarized the short list below as well since for me, if it isn't typed, screen-grabbed and saved on my iPhone, it may as well not exist:

1- Sump pump should be serviced 1-2 times a year. Because if it isn't working for any reason, your house could flood. And that would suck big time. 

2- Gutters should be cleaned out 1-2 times a year, ideally at the end of the Fall. Make sure that they not only clean out the gutters that run along the roofline, but also the pipe that takes the water from the roofline and pours it into the ground. That can get clogged up with leaves and other debris- and if the water can't drain, even the cleanest gutters are irrelevant- because it is just gonna be a wet, annoying, drippy, destructive mess.

3- Drains and traps in your kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room need to be cleaned out. Because gunk- food, toothpaste, product- builds up, and eventually will start to smell. Really bad. And a girl can only burn so many Diptyque candles before it starts to feel excessive.

4- Ventilation registers- ya know, those  rectangular shaped vents you see on the floor- need to be opened up and deep cleaned. They collect dust and allergens on a daily basis, and then basically recirculate them through the air which explains why sometimes my husband is convinced he is allergic to certain houses. They probably need to have someone come in and clean those puppies out. If you don't want to do them all, at least deal with the ones in common areas where you spend lots of time.

5- It is crucial- seriously- to have your dryer ducts and filters cleaned out yearly, 15,000 homes burn down from fires caused by lint-filled dryer ducts each year. That lint (which is kinda fun to pick out of the wire filter thingie in the dryer, at least in my opinion) is crazy flammable. So, combine that fact with the extreme heat from the dryer being pushed out through the duct, and you have what could potentially be a very dire situation. So get ahead of it. 

Okay- there you have it- hope this was helpful. And if you have other questions, feel free to send them my way, or head on over to the Homesquare website.