My wonderful friend and her awesome husband threw the funnest “Yacht Social Club” themed party over the weekend, and it was just so beautifully thought out and designed, I could NOT help but snap away with the camera. Continue reading
Bonjour, bon ami! And Bonne Année 2013!
It has been faaaar too long since I’ve made some time to blog, but like most of you, I have been just too busy, and fortunately I have found lots of inspiration lately for blogging. A new year always brings a fresh start, and I’m wasting no time this year at shaking out the dust and purging (similar to last year!).
Friday afternoon, after reading a number of friends’ Facebook and Pinterest posts about ‘organizing everything in your life’ and the hundreds of ways to free yourself of the clutter and mess that naturally comes with the ‘holidaze,’ I started to make a list. I’m not one to really make formal resolutions and stick to them, but I do like lists. And I can stick to a list. And I love scratching things off my lists!
Here is my first “2013 Cleanse” list (I’m sure there will be many more in the next 360 days!) after a mental assessment of what I need to do with another fresh start at hand:
- Clean out hallway linen closet – reorganize shelves; get rid of unused items
- Clean out hallway coat closet – purge unused coats/items; reorganize shoes and other stored items
- Consolidate luggage pieces and move into garage
- Clean out/purge/decide what to keep in seasonal clothing storage containers under bed
- Get rid of useless/space-eating knicknacks (on desk, shelves, etc)
- Brainstorm/visualize ways to maximize unused/wasted but much needed space (check out the many mobile and iPad apps to help with home decor!)
- Maximize bathroom space for additional storage
- Get rid of oversized bedroom chair; create small reading nook in bedroom corner
Find tall shelving for bedroom (thanks, ApartmentTherapy for these amazing storage ideas!!) & smaller comfy chair for new reading nook
Buy black high gloss paint for interior doors (seems like such a small change but wow, what a difference), and paint doors within 30 days
Buy crisp white high gloss paint for bathroom, and paint said bathroom within 30 days
- Start marking items for garage sale (ie. small old green tin table; unused shelf in dining room); prepare for garage sale within the next two weeks
- Find stud finder on Amazon (and stop hanging things on the old drywall)
- Research new bedroom colors/decor, and brainstorm within Houzz (dedicated exclusively to home decor, renovation and inspiration) and Pinterest, of course!
Phew, I have to get started! How much can I get done by tomorrow? Well, I guess I will have a better idea by Sunday around 3pm. But I am certainly excited to update you on my progress!!
What are you doing to take advantage of 2013’s fresh start? I would love to hear your ideas and stay motivated!
Stay tuned for my updates this weekend! Until then, enjoy the first of fifty-two weekends to come!!
Bonjour, bon ami!!!
It feels as though I have been running every day, and unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to update my little space here. Fortunately, my mother is feeling much better, and so I’m very thankful for that. And luckily, in between all the running around, I have been able to finish a couple home projects, one of which I am soooo excited about!!
Remember being a kid and playing with your coloring books, markers and crayons, and then discovering that you had amazing blank canvases in your house where you could create your brilliant works of art? You probably also remember the big trouble you or your siblings got into for turning those walls into your childhood art gallery.
You have probably seen recent home improvement blog posts like this one on Apartment Therapy about kid-loving chalkboard paint and chalkboard walls in homes that provide hours of entertainment and a true gallery for their masterpieces. I decided to use the chalkboard paint to create a functional wall in my kitchen, where finding a lose clean piece of paper nearby while I’m cooking or cleaning is nearly impossible. Now I have the best and most convenient post-it-note ever!!
Here are a few pictures of this very fun and very easy project:
Now I never have to worry about jotting down a quick note to myself that I’m out of milk, peanut butter, olive oil, paper towels or anything else that I notice I need throughout the day of cooking, cleaning or other. And not like when I was a kid, this girl will never get in trouble for drawing on this wall!
You can find chalkboard paint at your local home improvement store like (my personal favorite) Lowes. Depending on the size of the wall you want to paint, it can take you a few minutes to prep the wall with sandpaper and tape the trim, and twenty minutes to paint a first coat (it will go on very streaky and thin, but that’s okay – a second or third coat will cover it beautifully). After an hour or so, you can paint a second coat, and after another hour a third if you need it. Then two or three days later, you can christen your chalkboard wall by writing on it with chalk and wiping it off, thereby dusting it and making it ready for your everyday scribbling, drawing and reminder note writing!
I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend, bon ami!!
Bonjour, bon ami!!
It has been a busy week for me, but I’m happy to say my mom is here resting with me and with the family, and we will be visiting her longtime doctor for a second opinion and hopefully some good advice on how we can keep her healthy and vital. Thank you all again for your kind thoughts and prayers – it has definitely helped!!
In between all of the chaos, I’ve been feeling a bit blue – not a sad blue, but rather a soothing happier blue, like turquoise. Perhaps it is because of all of the gorgeous images I’ve run across lately. In fact, I’m already feeling the ‘bedroom makeover’ itch because of a few of these pictures. Take a look!!
Well I’m off to be with the family and make sure my mom takes it easy. Perhaps we will do a little shopping since we’re so inspired by this beautiful turquoise color this week – a little bedroom or kitchen makeover?
Here’s wishing you all a beautiful ‘turquoise’ day in your own belle vie!!
First, I want to thank all of you for your kind words, thoughts, prayers and support for my mom and family. I am so happy to say that she has been released from hospital, and I will be seeing her in just two days (she doesn’t live in the country, but fortunately she is clear to travel, and I can’t get her back home to the US fast enough!!). It’s a great relief to know she is feeling better and we now know what we need to fix. I am so grateful to the wonderful hospital, doctors and staff who took care of mom.
After speaking to her over the weekend and between the tears for fears (no pun intended!), my mom did encourage me to stay busy and not worry since she was feeling better and would be home soon. Just like a mom, she made me promise I would get back on track with my 2012 Project Harmony, and so I did! This weekend I was able to tackle the hallway closet and bathroom a bit more, as well as do some rearranging and purging from the bedroom.
I am so happy with the results!! The hallway closet is no longer a pit of darkness, and it can now accommodate far more, including part of a certain better half’s future wardrobe 🙂 !! I even experimented a bit and added a little chevron pizzazz – I’ll be finishing the linen closet with the same stylish touch. The hallway closet was the test. It’s a lot of work, and it’s one more reason that my better half
thinks I’m nuts loves me for being nuts, but I love it!!
Being an apartment renter without a private patio or backyard means maximizing the small space I have. So instead of taking up more floor space on laundry day to air dry my delicates on a fold-out stand, I picked up a wall mounted clothesline at BB&B for the unused space above my bathtub. When it isn’t in use, you would never know it was there. The silver plate that hides the retractable line is pretty inconspicuous, and the anchor latch even more so. So convenient and easy!!
Well after last week’s craziness, and as I face another chaotic week ahead, it feels so good to know that I can find more peace and harmony in my home. I can’t wait to share that peace and harmony with my mom, sister and brother-in-law this week. Until we speak again, bon ami, continue living la belle vie – the only life to worth living!!
I’ve been a bit busy with my 2012 Project Harmony work, and before I knew it some days had passed without updating the blog!! Apologies for that… but I’ve made great progress recently!
After revamping my desk area, I started tackling my closets, which is no small feat. But until I find a few last things to finish the closets, I’ve tabled them for now… Instead, I’ve moved on to a project that I started a while back. A couple months ago, I found a great article about saving a drab desk chair from becoming a curbside tragedy. I knew I had to do something with my own horrible black boring desk chair, and so the day after Thanksgiving I found a great fabric, and this past weekend my better half and I performed minor surgery – and voila! We are sooo happy with the results!!
The desk chair will also now be invited to come out when visitors are over!!
It was definitely a project that required two people, just to make sure the reupholstery fabric was taut. It was also very helpful to have a handyman to take the chair apart and put it back together afterwards. Removing the original fabric was very tedious – there were lots of staples holding it on, so removing them all was impossible. But be sure to use a canvas or upholstery fabric so that it is strong enough to handle the staples and tight pull.
After we finished the project, we realized we were bitten by the reupholstery bug – we can’t wait to find our next chair needing a facelift!!
Well I still have a couple weeks left in the 2012 PH, and I will have a couple more updates in the next couple of days to share with you.
How are your 2012 home improvement projects progressing? I would love to hear about your projects – help me keep up my motivation for these last two weeks!! 😉
Until the next progress report – continue living la belle vie, my lovelies!
This evening as a few office friends and I left our 9-5 gigs, I mentioned running to pick up a few things after work, like mason jars to begin making preserves. It is Meyer Lemon season, after all!!
And just as the words came out of my mouth, the thought crossed my mind that if it weren’t for the concrete jungle in which I live, one might never know I was much of a city girl, let alone a bit of a country girl too.
One work friend asked where I am originally from, and my answer, “San Diego,” was met with a bit of a chuckle, since San Diego certainly isn’t thought to be very ‘country.’ However, if you ask anyone who was born (in the 70s or earlier) and raised in San Diego, they would actually tell you a different story. I grew up in a small town of less than 40,000 people in a northern suburb of America’s finest city, where there was a lot of open farmland, even a fully functional (and quite pungent) dairy, avocado and citrus groves – a little bit of country surrounding the small growing metropolis.
I know that it is because I grew up with things like fresh local eggs, produce and open land that deep down inside, during those evenings of never-ending brake lights, stop-and-go traffic, and blaring sirens as background music… I yearn for the country, even though I always thought of myself as more of a big city girl.
So while my life is currently rooted in one of the world’s most exciting cities, I try to bring that little bit of country into my concrete & steel world. I can’t wait to start canning the Meyer Lemons for baking and cooking! And in getting in touch with my country side, I have found a number of great links with instructions, recipes and tips:
~ Introduction to home canning and preserving
~ 85 Recipes for home canning fruits & veggies from A-Z
~ The Kitchn’s roundup of 5 great canning websites
If you aren’t into the whole sterilization/hot water canning/pickling procedure, here are some gorgeous and novel (and relatively easy!) ideas for mason jars outside of home canning:
What do you do to bring a little bit of country into your fast-paced city life? Any suggestions for this country-turned-city girl?
Keep living your best belle vie, bon ami!!
As many of you know, I am in the midst of PH 2012, aka Project Harmony, and my early successful results were a precursor to my continued progress in this project!! As promised, I am here to update you on the liberating results thus far:
~ the mini home office ~
footnote: You’ll notice there are no ‘before’ photos. This is because my office space/corner was such a disaster, I couldn’t bear to actually use it as an office. It was more a place where opened and junk mail went to die… So I’ll let you use your imagination for the ‘before’ state. Here is ‘after’!! (I’m sooo happy!!)
And yes, that is my furry children’s window perch to the left, formerly a quilt covered leather bench, that has since been claimed by said furry children.
Now my office area isn’t an eye-sore in my living room. Instead, it is a pleasant little corner near windows where I can enjoy my cup of coffee or tea while I work, with storage for all necessary and wanted items, made cozy with personal knickknacks and photos. The missing element to this project is my reupholstered office chair (a current WIP!). Updates to that coming soon!
Here are a few more touches to my newly revamped office area:
~ bathroom organization ~
I didn’t realize that I needed help with some bathroom organization and storage, until my better half and I bought the wrong shelving unit from Ikea this weekend. We accidentally bought a small ‘Billy’ 3-tier bookshelf which didn’t fit the Kassett magazine boxes. So before disassembling the thing, we tried to find a home for it, and a home we found in the bathroom. Now we have a small space to hold guest towels, extra supplies and even guest toiletries, a number of which I happen to come across during this project! Overnight guests have use of new disposable razors, face wash, lotion, new toothbrushes and floss. Who needs a Holiday Inn?
I can’t wait to share the big changes in the hallway, linen and bedroom closets!! A lot of purging happening at the LBH HQs, and as much as I thrive in a random and somewhat chaotic world, this small bit of organization feels AB-FAB! Speaking of, did you catch the all new 2012 episode of Ab-Fab this past Sunday on BBCA??
How are your decluttering and organization projects going? I’d love to hear about your progress!!
For now, I’m taking a little Ab-Fab break with a glass of Bolly at my new desk (I WISH!), and I’m looking for things to file, throw or give away. I can’t wait to post my next progress report!!
Until then, may you all continue to live la belle vie, bon ami!!
- Project Harmony: Day 1 Victories!! (labellehibou.com)
I am already finding huge success with my new one-month decluttering project, which I have appropriately entitled “Project Harmony.” I am a few small steps closer to feeling like this!!
I’m actually already feeling like this, and here’s why: last night after a long day at the 9-5, I was pretty wiped out, and didn’t get to start on PH (Project Harmony). I was in bed pretty early, and thus woke up a bit early this morning. I stared at the small mess on my kitchen table and started putting things away, like the bag of recent Target buys, the pretty wrapping paper I found on clearance, throwing away receipts, etc. When I pulled out my gift wrap box under my bed, I saw a big bulky old duffel that was now a dust bunny magnet. I resolved to putting it in a “donation” box that I would start putting together, and when I opened the duffel to make sure there wasn’t anything important in it, I found these:
Two gifted gift certificates from friends that I thought I had accidentally tossed in the trash!!! Oh happy day!!!
PH has me so inspired in the very first day – I feel like I can do ANYTHING! Now if only I could figure out how to create a shoe closet like THIS for myself in my teeny apartment…
A girl can dream, right?
Day One of PH: TRES BIEN!!!!
How are your home organization projects or New Year~New Slate projects going? Inspire me with your own progress and success stories!!
- New Year = Decluttered Slate! (labellehibou.com)
I hope your 2012 has started off full of excitement and anticipation of many great things to come in the next year. Many people begin their year with resolutions and plans for change. I don’t like to formalize any resolutions, but I do like to start the year with a clean de-cluttered slate!
I would give an arm (maybe not an arm, but possibly a digit…) to be uber-organized and clutter-free like the above picture. So this year, I’m giving myself ONE MONTH to tackle a few projects I’ve wanted to tackle and haven’t yet.
AND… I will be updating you on my progress! I’ll even take REAL PICTURES of my befores and afters, so you can see my progress, and of course offer any suggestions you may see!
I’ve enlisted the help of a friend of mine who is a real-life ‘Monica Geller’ when it comes to organizing. She also has some great prep-taste!
Here’s an idea as to my next few weeks’ declutter activities and a peak into some of my upcoming progress reports-slash-blog posts:
1. Hallway closet: toss empty boxes, reorganize coats, repurpose unused laundry baskets
2. Corner desk tornado: enough said.
3. Downsize bedroom oversized chair
4. Old unused tvs!!!
Here are a few great suggestions and quick&easy suggestions for kicking off 2012 with a little less clutter and a lot less stress:
~ Real Simple created “The Get It Together Plan” with great suggestions and advice for starting and finishing the de-clutter projects (yes, it is rightly called “The Get It Together Plan”…)
~ Nate Berkus has some great ideas for being clutter-free in 5 days!
~ Apartment Therapy’s list of great articles and tips to a cleaner space with small and fast methods for everyday (not for 8 hours in one very loooong day…)
~ I found a GEM! ImperfectHomemaking has a fabulous series called “31 Days to An Organized Home” – AWESOME, VALUABLE and PRACTICAL suggestions here!
~ of course, the Queen of Home Charm, Martha Stewart, has some great ideas and inspiration for organizing the various spaces in your home.
~ and lastly, remember that this project doesn’t have to be just about throwing things away or bagging up stuff for the Salvation Army – look at it as an opportunity to find some unique and beautiful decor ideas and inspiration!! That’s what Brabourne Farm did – who wouldn’t love to organize their files and things in such a stylish way??
What kinds of cleaning/decluttering projects are you working on or planning? I’d love to hear your ideas!!
Well… I better get to work! It helps to know that there are a few people out there keeping tabs on my progress – that’s some motivation!!!
Wish me luck!!