Time for fall shopping which means Summer Sales…

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Ever since moving into my condo I have been paying off debt including one student loan (whooohoooo) first so I can save for the down payment to buy it next year. So things like the rec room and landscaping have been on hold. However, I know the best part of home purchases is buying when stores have major discounts. Patio and outdoor furniture have been on sale now for a while but I’m still waiting for some funky retro umbrellas to get marked down.

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I like fringe styles but unsure if that’s what I want for my patio table. I am going back and forth on if I want a solid hot pink or black and white stripes…

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{Jennyk21 via instagram}

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Maybe I should scour Craigslist or Ebay and see what I find. I think something is incredibly nostalgic about seeing retro pieces of patio furniture from our childhood. I’m an 80’s baby and though I don’t want vintage seating, I do like when people mix some of the styles together for their yards. Even if it’s a small nook.

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My fab cousins actually gave me their old patio table and chairs that I will spray paint next year and get new cushions. That will be another post. I know the color scheme I want is black, white and hot pink but I just haven’t decided the colors of the pieces… except the frames which will be pink.

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Scalloped and key like trims are also fun and adds so much personality. Decisions decisions…

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{Lost my sources….but one of the vacay images is via you make fashion}


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My introduction to Arhaus…

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I meant to post about my first introduction to the Arhaus showroom a couple months ago but forgot. I was in Shaumburg, Illinois at the Woodfield Mall heading to another store when store windows captured my eye. Everything was so glamorous and dramatic. The lighting was moody and gave this deep glow everywhere. I felt like I was in furniture heaven.

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Then Jayson approached us. He was incredibly knowledgable about the products and even went as far as to rearrange some showroom pieces so I could get a better vision on what I had in mind.

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I think I even mentioned that the pieces were out of my price range and he could have easily left me alone to approach other customers, but he didn’t. Even when one rude lady interrupted us to ask him a question and even tried to take him toward the area she needed help in, he politely informed her that he would finish up with us first before helping her. I was stunned as I never get that quality of service. Unfortunately some salespeople assume what customers will spend money based on appearance and even race. I’m a designer and though I was looking for myself, I could have been shopping for a client. Often times my experience in a store determines where I spend my client’s money. In college, one of my instructors told us if we ever design or work in a showroom, to treat all people equally. You never know who is sitting on money! In his experience, the most casual dressers ended up being the ones to spend a lot. So I appreciated Jayson’s professionalism during that time.

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But the furniture….and the fabric….

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Everything there made me wish I was rich…

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You can browse digital online catalogues…
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Some of my favorite lighting by them…and a fab mirror!

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What I like about some of the pieces at Arhaus is the craftsmanship of the furniture. The distressing and carving in some of their furniture is all done by hand by Italian artisans to make each piece feel as if it has history.  They are having an annual storewide sale 20-40% off so you may want to check them out. No this isn’t a sponsored post, I just really like what they have to offer and can’t wait to make my first purchase.

 


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Happy 4th…

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Hope your holiday brings you relaxation and joy…

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Whether you picnic in a park…

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Head to the beach…

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Grill out…

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Relax on a boat…

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Catch up on summer reading…

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Skip the diets and make your own popsicles…

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Hang out by a bonfire…

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Roast marshmellows and make smores…

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Or Surround yourself with loved ones and friends…

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Whatever you do, be safe and enjoy. Happy Fourth of July.


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Grassy party backdrops…

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A design trend I’ve noticed this year is greenery as a backdrop for photobooths or dessert tables. I love this classy elegant look to an outdoor summer wedding or party…

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Having a lit marquee sign or uplights will be perfect for an evening affair…

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This is one of my all time favorite reception lounge designs. I really like the mirrored pedastals and tables with the different mirrors. This is a great way to reflect light in a space while the sparkles of the lighting and candles bounce around…

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What a cool July 4th backdrop….

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{Images via colin cowie, kristi murphy, hostess blog, CFD NY, karas party ideas, style me pretty, Wildflower Linens, & Katie Vowels for Annie McElwain}


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Hotel Indulgences: My review of the vibrant The Saguaro resort in Scottsdale Arizona…

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Beware of sensory overload with these colorful images of The Saguaro-Scottsdale. This above is my own picture. I lost a lot of photos when my Galaxy S4 wouldn’t turn back on so I had to resort to instagram screenshots and pics I emailed myself along with others found online.

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Yeah I know I am a whole 10 months late with this but with the constant rain and flip flopping 80-one-day-55-the-next tempertures, I have done little else than dream of going right back there…somewhere hot consistantly. This isn’t a sponsored post, I just really loved my two night three day stay there last August.

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Designed by Stamberg Aferiat Architecture, the Saguaro Scottsdale is a very vibrant, colorful fun stay in Arizona. It was a standout search for me as everything else is the color of sand and neutral. That’s because there are building codes prohiting the exteriors to be anything other than that. The colors are based on Arizona’s wildflowers.  It’s located in oldtown Scottsdale which is simple walks and short golf cart rides to restaurants, bars, and shopping. The golf cart rides are free, you just tip the drivers and that was a ball of fun. One recommendation is have them take you to the nearby CVS so you can stock up on snacks and waters for your room as there are no……..I repeat………NO soda machines or vending machines which I find incredibly odd. For the resort fee, the least they can do is offer you one complimentary bottled water per day per guest.

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The hotel used to be a motel so you walk outside to get to your rooms which can be noisy depending on where you face (pools vs cityview). We opted for a city view which pretty much was just the hotel’s check in area and landscaping. The balconies aren’t really big at all, just standing room but still nice to get fresh air. It would be nice if they had small stools that are bar height to sit on while out there. However people on ground level with pool views had little patios to lounge out on.

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The hotel looks exactly like the pictures which is all I really cared about. The beds were super comfy and the Kuerig coffee makers were a nice touch each morning. The landscaping and colors just really perked up my mood. One minor goofy thing was the bathroom sliding door. The idea is cool but it really didn’t leave you feeling private. It wasn’t as if there was a gap or anything just a little odd for a bathroom setting. I roomed with my friend so it was fine.
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Although we didn’t dine out at the hotel’s restaurant, we did partake in cocktails poolside at the main pool which was super chill.  We lounged at the pool before our spa appointments (which were affordable for an hour service and had complimentary drink vouchers to be used at the pool)! We soaked up enough sun to have 2 rounds of cocktails and burning skin. I guess the crowd didn’t come until after our spa appointments because afterward the pool was packed and the music was more lively than when we were there.

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I just loved the southwestern landscaping. The furthest west I’ve been was Vegas but I don’t remember much except the strip, the ride on top of the Stratosphere and seeing West Side mountains for the first time.  So this was a way for me to soak up all of the landscaping the desert has to offer.

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I just couldn’t stop staring at the unique formations of cacti…

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The pool was such a calming place on Monday. I guess everyone had left the resort on Sunday…

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Although we didn’t use them, I liked how the resort offers free use of the bikes.

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The pool bar had water misters that cooled you off and some shade for sun relief…

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Secret Garden themed parties…

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Enchanted forests and secret garden themes are wonderful to celebrate nuptials or babies. You can have dinner parties or early brunches in this theme as long as you decorate with some key elements. The super large mirrors is very dramatic for a cocktail hour or reception.

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Ever since I seen rapper Ludacris’ wife’s baby shower set in a secret garden theme, I’ve been wanting to blog about it. They had lit birdcages adorned with flowers, donuts hung from ribbon and a lot of the guest, like singers Monica & Letoya Luckett, wore floral dresses. How beautiful.

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Creating intimate elaborate tables for the wedding party or bride and groom while having simpler centerpieces on the remaining tables can save money…

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Key elements: string leafy garland. Get them bulk or buy from places like Michael’s and use 40% off coupons. If it’s for a kid’s party, use Dollar Tree garland and save coins for other things.

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Use string lights and electric candles to create ambience…

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String together flowers or floral garland for drama. You might want to only do this behind a gift or cake table as this can get quite costly…

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Use mason jars and mismatched china as well as rustic decor like burlap, branches, bark pieces, faux tree stumps, rope and wicker…

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You have to incorporate moss somewhere and covering giant letters or making a grassy centerpiece is a start…

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Adorn a cupcake stand or cake table with flower heads. Just grab a bouquet from the grocery store to jazz up the presentation…

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Lanterns, wood crates, old dressers and empty frames are other decorating options. You want to have a “just thrown together” look without being too matchy. It should feel relaxed but polished. Remember the more you layer the better so play with height and make sure different foods are at different levels. You want to build your food table upward…

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{Images via Moxie Sox Photography Amanda O’Shannessy Creative Lynette Boyle Photography Amy Burke Designs Page Bertelsen Photographyceremony blog, 100 layer cake, celebrations at home, southern weddings, oui oui}


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Tuesday’s Tips: mosquito repelling plants and flowers

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Nothing like June: the start of summer, the longer days, the warmer nights, the outdoor eats, carnivals and festivals, etc. However with everything sometimes you have some give and other times you have some takes and one thing I can’t stand are mosquitos. They die in your cocktails when you leave them uncovered. They cause you to itch and scratch and just plain obnoxious. So here are some plants that repels mosquitos.

 
Marigolds are said to have a repulsive smelling aroma that bugs dislike. 

Lavender is not only a beautiful soothing plant with a calming scent for humans, but it’s a natural mosquito repellent. you can also pull some and place in your bedroom to help relax your body when it’s time for bed.

Geranium’s have a pretty cascading look  that repels mosquitos because of the strong fragrance.

 
Citronella grass is not only low maintenance but lemon scented ones are best for keeping mosquitoes at bay.

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Basil not only satisfies chefs but lemon basil and cinnamon basil deters insects like flies and mosquitos.

 
Garlic not only tastes good but it works for repelling.

Peppermint can double as cocktail garnishes and relief for itching if you do get bit by one (by simply rubbing the leaves on the bite). It’s a taste and smell most bugs dislike.

Rosemary is another great herb I love to cook with especially in green beans and pork chops. It attracts butterflies  and naturally repels mosquitos, cabbage moths and other bugs. They can be pruned and make for great landscaping additions as it looks like a shrub.

They also even say catnip helps and works way better than any spray you can get. Unless you have a fence, I wouldn’t advise. I don’t have a fence around my condo and I swear the neighborhood cats see my cat looking out of the patio doors and windows and they keep coming on my property hiding in my bushes as if I will let my cat out to play. Never fails, every friggin evening these cats come up, even when I’m on the porch. They will simply walk in the street and go up my neighbors driveway until I go inside. So the last thing I’m trying to do is have a buncha cracked out cats on my lawn 😂.

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Overall mint and lemon smelling flowers are the common denominator in most. Instead of spending money on spray that may not work, try a natural route that can not only be a great addition for your food prep, but ones that are also beautiful on the eyes. Happy gardening!
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And happy eating and drinking!

{Images via kitchen concoctions, confectionalism, topiaries, good housekeeping, & she wears many hats,}

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Have you seen Zara Home’s new lookbook?

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One thing that can describe Zara Home’s new lookbook is tailored comfort. The bedding is classic and the colors are very neutral. What I like most is how the lookbook is styled and shot. The backdrops especially are very beautiful. I found some gems I will do a collage about soon.

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Have I ever mentioned how much I adore lanterns? The can get a bit pricey but they are on my list of wants…

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For those of you expecting but don’t want the common areas of your home to turn into colorful kiddie patterns, this bassinet/stroller thing is for you…

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This just makes me want to ask someone for an old twin mattress to cover with a fun fitted sheet and stroll out on the grass in the backyard. Seriously…

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Love the use of baskets to hide planters…

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Seriously…landscaping is expensive…

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First I had every intention on posting this yesterday morning. Most times I have that intention and then I kept browsing images and keep finding more and more…then I tried to find sources and the next thing you know it was afternoon & I ended up drafting the post for today. I wish you could see how many drafts I have. I try to find just the right amount of inspiration for the topic & I like to stop when I’m content with what I found. Searching landscaping images turned into a blackhole for me. It just goes to show how much time blogging takes especially for a full time worker like me who has to juggle clients and a life.

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I am one month in my condo and I really hate aluminum siding so I want to take the focus off of that. I am not trying to spend hundreds and hundreds but boy…. how easily can you do it! Have you seen how much outdoor pottery costs?

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Some of the things I really like is the streamlined look of shaped topiaries and bushes. I also like symmetry so spacing the exact same arrangement on sides of the garage or porch are ideal to me…

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I like tall rectangular planters with those bushes to give some privacy. It has a very modern and clean look…

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I saw these flowers at a local garden store that hadn’t yet been placed out for pricing. The were gorgeous so I snapped a few pics..

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I would like to have an assortment of pink, purple and blue flower bushes that comes back every year. One peony bush was $69….one. So that is an investment I will make at a later date. I did home Cross smaller peony plants for $15 at Home Depot. Those are my favs so I really want to get some…

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But… .gosh how pretty are floral bushes? I have a newfound respect for people that spend the time and money landscaping their yards this way. So muxh goes into it and I have no clue where to start so when I buy this weekend, I will have my parents help me…

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