January 18, 2015

Bloom Where You Are Planted. Literally.

I like Miami.

There, I said it.  And I’ll say it again.  I like Miami.

Almost one year ago, Rick and I committed to moving to Miami for his job and eventually, for mine as well.  I was ready for the move, for a change and a new challenge.  And we arrived and the first few weeks were filled with excitement and sunshine and butterflies.  You know, like the honeymoon phase of a new relationship.  Your eyes don’t even let you see anything but joy.  It’s sort of remarkable, that honeymoon phase, isn’t it?  You literally are blinded by love.

And then BAMMO! It starts to rain.  And then pour.  And lightning and thunderstorm.  While I am speaking (er, I mean writing) figuratively, this was also literal as we moved to Miami in the heart of hurricane season and it rained.  And rained.  And the clouds covered up all that puppy love I had.  And they never went away.

I don’t know if it was because I wouldn’t let them go away or, that the season was just truly cloudy with a side of crappy and an extra serving of loneliness.  And no dessert.

Either way, I borderline hated Miami.  Just ask my husband…I was super fun to be around…8 months pregnant…hormonal…hot and sweaty (and not the good-honeymoon-phase-kind of hot and sweaty…the literal kind of hot and sweaty that happens during hurricane season in Miami whilst super pregnant).  Without a home church.  Or friends.  Or dinner parties. Or even a house to host a dinner party.  Or wine (ahem, reference pregnant above).

And a husband who was working a ton in a new job.

And hot and sweaty.

And missing home.

And resenting the move.

And hot and sweaty.

Okay, I’m done.  You get it.  Miami and me?  Basically, I wanted a divorce the second the honeymoon phase ended.  It was hard to have hope.  Or to like Miami. Or to pretend to be happy as an act of “see, honey, I am adaptable and I like new challenges and I know God will see us through.” I wanted to conquer that act but actually couldn’t because I’m not an actress.  Plus, I wear my emotions all over everywhere.  All the time.

With no other choice, I sort-of-resentfully forged through.

We got into our house.  We had a baby.  My hormones subsided.  I got a friend.  And then another friend.  And painted some walls in our house. And then tons of visitors came. And our house starting becoming comfortable.  And then I found a cute restaurant in the neighborhood.  And God was speaking to me (and had been the whole time…I just wasn’t listening), reminding me of that hope that I so wanted.  That it would be worth it.  That Miami isn’t so bad after all.  Don’t sign those divorce papers just yet.

The sun came back out.  Again, figuratively and literally as hurricane season ended here in Miami and the hot and sweaty went away.  And I took walks with Zoey.  And said hello to my neighbors.  And then we had dinner parties.  And BBQs.  And I began to pray more.  And thank God more.  And my perception started to change.

And in my front yard and in my back yard, orchids had bloomed.  I had no idea we had fresh flowers in our yard, let alone these beautiful orchids.  Orchids…

orchid-1 orchid-2

The most highly coveted of ornamental plants, the delicate, exotic and graceful orchid represents love, luxury, beauty and strength.

Different cultures throughout history have believed in the healing, disease-fighting and protective properties of the orchid.

Yeah, we have orchids in our yard.  Orchids that will forever be symbolic for me.  Because after the hurricanes and rains and thunderstorms, beauty appeared right before my eyes, in my yard.  And in my heart.

We know the storms don’t last forever.  But sometimes we have a hard time remembering that.  Life brings hopelessness, loneliness, pain, fear.  It then, eventually, brings hopefulness, family, friends, joy, laughter.  And what should we do during all of that?  Bloom where you are planted.  Weather the storm.  Embrace the pain.  Pray. Cry.  Laugh.  Pray again. Get hot and sweaty.  Bring your umbrella.  And your sunglasses.  Because the storm won’t last forever.  Because the orchids will bloom.

And the beauty becomes blinding in all the right ways.

January 16, 2015

Dissecting the Design – Zoey’s Nursery, Part Deux

Ahhh, gallery walls.  I am obsessed.  Most rooms in my house have at least one and some days I want to cover every single square inch of my walls with art and photography and frames and whatever else would round out the collage.  But, that may get obnoxious and feel a little claustrophobic.

What isn’t obnoxious is the gallery wall in Zoey’s nursery!  We are on part deux of our dissecting the design series.  Here are all the sources…hopefully you walk away inspired for your next project.

Oh and if you missed part un, click here!


1. Vintage – found this trio mirror at an antique store in New England…I always snag up pieces from my travels and this has been with me for 6-7 years and I’ve hung it in 3-4 different places and now it lives in Zoey’s nursery!
2.  This is my baby shower invitation that I framed.  It was custom designed from Posh Paperie.
3.  Rifle Paper Co Un Deux Trois print – this was an awesome find that literally set the tone for the gallery wall!
4.  Vintage – this was a great find at an antique store in Savannah, Georgia during our travels while moving from Chicago to Miami (can someone say road trip?!).  Always keep your eyes open for vintage prints on your travels…they are cheap, tell a story and can create such personalization in a space.
5.  Bebe banner – this is Rifle Paper Co botanicals garlands that had been used at my baby shower.  Love this as it can be personalized however you want.  And if you get sick of it, just change it out with new words!
6.  MadeByGirl Love print (check out MadeByGirl for sure…she has awesome stuff)
7.  Rifle Paper Co floral heart print
8.  Anthropologie zinc letter (a gallery wall wouldn’t be complete with the quintessential Anthro letter…ha)
9.  Picture of Rick and me in Seattle during our gender reveal.  Frame is from World Market.
10.  From the Rifle Paper Co botanicals garlands set mentioned in #5
11.  Chalkboard hanger (found in store at Jayson Home in Chicago…I checked and don’t see them online)

January 14, 2015

Dissecting the Design – Zoey’s Nursery, Part Un

Okay!  From my last post on Zoey’s nursery, here is part un (ahem, that’s one in French…which will make sense if you follow this series) of dissecting the design.  Any questions?  Just ping me!  All sources listed below.


1. The Accent Wall! Benjamin Moore Peach Cloud (it’s the perfect shade…not too pink, not too peach…just right!).  Oh and I am a Benjamin Moore loyalist and I do believe it’s the best paint out there.
2. RH Baby & Child Girl’s Nursery Bedding
3. FLOR square tiles (to say I am obsessed with FLOR is an understatement).  I did “Made You Look” and “Rake Me Over” in Bone and used a checkerboard design.  FLOR is awesome for kids rooms!
4. RH Baby & Child Iron Crib


5. Anthropologie Mirror
6.  RH Baby & Child Bellina Dresser
7.  RH Baby & Child Changing Pad and Cover
8.  The rest of the walls I stayed neutral as to not have the room be too pinky/peach.  I went with Benjamin Moore Mountain Peak WhiteThere are like 8 billion shades of white/off white to choose from in paint. To simplify, basically, this is an off-white color that errs a bit on the side of the gray family (so it carries a blue undertone vs. a warm yellow undertone).  For the record, I once was told by a professional painter I have crazy eyes to see colors and color tones.  #justsayin

January 12, 2015

New year, new words.

I came across these quotes and they resonated with me so I thought I’d share some words of wisdom on this lovely Monday.  Have a great week everyone!

quotes-new-beginnings 291 Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive

January 9, 2015

Zoey’s Nursery!


I am so excited to officially share with you Zoey’s nursery and a few newborn pictures!  Her nursery means so much more to me than a fun design project.  It means a baby.  It means a space for a life that often times, I didn’t think we would get to have.  It means a growing family.  A haven where Zoey can call home, can be safe, can have fun, can learn, grow.   It represents so many things, emotions and most of all, love.

When I started the design process, there was no head or intellect involved.  It was all heart.  ALL HEART.  I wanted her nursery to be a place of warmth and family and meaning.  Yes, of course, it had to be functional.  But more than that, it had to be a little space we all could escape to, sit, pray, be comfortable.

Every time I am in there listening to music with her or rocking her or nursing her, there is a peace that takes over and a joy in my heart that is the best feeling in the world.  I believe with all my heart, spaces and rooms and nurseries and homes overall can create those emotions for people.  Hence why I am so passionate about design :)  It’s more than an expensive chair or painted walls or a perfect piece of art.  It’s the feeling, the emotion, the meaning.  And this nursery is doing all the things I wanted it to and as an added bonus, it’s cute.  Ha.

Without further ado, welcome to Zoey Ai’s little room.  In the next week I am going to dissect the details and share more of the background of the pieces, the art, etc. as well as resources so you know where to get everything.  I have gotten a handful of questions already on where I bought certain things so I figured that would help!

Last, a BIG thank you to Roxanne of Lilibean Photography!  She captured Zoey’s nursery perfectly and all credit to the images below goes to her.





Ann-Ueno-Nursery-13 Ann-Ueno-Nursery-6 Ann-Ueno-Nursery-4



Ann-Ueno-Nursery-12 Ann-Ueno-Nursery-10 Ann-Ueno-Nursery-9








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