September 19, 2014

My Keepers

I received the below forward from a dear family member a couple weeks ago.  First, I have to say getting a “forward” was sort of nice.  Remember those email “forwards” which are now really the crux of social media?  In the world of content overload, this email actually did stop me and slow me down for a few minutes to read.  Funny how email forwards are a thing of the past!

And it struck a chord with me because lately, I have been pursuing and focused on many of the things God does NOT care about.  Focused on things vs. people.  Focused on projects vs. serving in a meaningful way.  Focused on myself vs. others.  This happens, life happens and sometimes we – ahem, I – end up needing to reevaluate, adjust and refocus.  And this is the beauty of life.  That each day is new, each moment is new.  And we have chance after chance to learn and grow and spend our precious minutes on earth on the work that matters.  The people that matter.

So, without further ado, here is the forward.  I hope it helps you as it helped me.  And I don’t know the original source to give credit.

I grew up with practical parents. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it… A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away..

 I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things.. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

 It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy.. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there would always be more.

 But then my father died, and on that clear winter’s night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t any more.

 Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away…never to return.. So… while we have it….. it’s best we love it…. and care for it… and fix it when it’s broken……… and heal it when it’s sick.

This is true. for marriage……. and old cars….. and children with bad report cards….. and dogs with bad hips…. and aging parents….. and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.
Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.

 There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special…….. and so, we keep them close!

 I received this from someone who thinks I am a ‘keeper’, so I’ve sent it to the people I think of in the same way… Now it’s your turn to send this to those people that are “keepers” in your life. Good friends are like stars…. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there. Keep them close!

 TEN THINGS GOD WON’T ASK ON THAT DAY.

  1. God won’t ask what kind of car you drove. He’ll ask how many people you drove who didn’t have transportation.
  2. God won’t ask the square footage of your house, He’ll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
  3. God won’t ask about the clothes you had in your closet, He’ll ask how many you helped to clothe.
  4. God won’t ask what your highest salary was. He’ll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.
  5. God won’t ask what your job title was. He’ll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.
  6. God won’t ask how many friends you had. He’ll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.
  7. God won’t ask in what neighborhood you lived, He’ll ask how you treated your neighbors.
  8. God won’t ask about the color of your skin, He’ll ask about the content of your character.
  9. God won’t ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation. He’ll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.
  10. God won’t have to ask how many people you forwarded this to, He already knows your decision.
September 16, 2014

Vintage French Baby Shower

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Last month I had my bebe shower and it. was. perfect.  I am so thankful to my sweet friends, mom and sister for doing this for me!  When I finally got to the point of my pregnancy where I needed to start thinking about a shower, I knew what I wanted:  A Vintage French Baby Shower, around lunchtime, some champagne and my closest friends and family!  From the food to the drink and all the sweet details in between, my vision was classy French with soft-toned pink/peach/ivory colors and decor.  Here is a recap of the celebration…enjoy!

Setting the Tone // The Invitation!
Source: Posh Paperie

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What Matters Most // Food and Drinks!
Source: My close friends and Chicago restauranteurs, Rayah and Mutaz Abdullah (they did an incredible job catering…homemade potato chips, French bread baked the day of the shower for the sandwiches, an incredible cheese spread, simple mixed greens with homemade dressing…perfection!)And of course, some sparkling Rose to toast at the soiree!

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End Well // The Sweets!
Source: La Fournette Bakery & Cafe (macarons)
Source: Sweet Mandy B’s (cupcakes)

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The Heart and Soul // My People!
I love the picture of my sweet friend Vaneesha praying over our food and bebe U!

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Wrap It All Together // The Thank You Cards
Source:  Posh Paperie

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Photography:  And a HUGE thank you to Danielle Moss for her amazing photography skills!

 

September 5, 2014

My Six Hosting Essentials

Since living in a hotel for, ahem, 4 1/2 months, hosting has gone a bit by the wayside.  But, my passion for doing so hasn’t.  So in the absence of actually hosting cocktail parties and bbq’s and intimate dinner parties al fresco, I decided to bring you my six hosting essentials curated by yours truly.  I would say that 95% of the parties and dinners I host, I am equipped with all 6 of these goodies!

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1.  I use these slate cheeseboards from Crate & Barrel for so many things.  For a cheese board, of course.  I lean them and use them as welcome signs chalking the guest of honors name, for example.  I use them as a serving tray for all kinds of food.  They are versatile and worth getting!

2.  A welcome cocktail.  If you aren’t in the mood to be creative or you don’t have time to bring out your inner mixologist, just go back to basics.  Serve a glass of champagne or prosecco to get people in the mood.  Done and done!

3.  Cute cloth napkins.  These are from Anthropologie and I love them as they are modern french, reusable and neutral.

4.  Fresh flowers in the guest bathroom.  This example is perfect as it literally is 3 stems in small vase set right on the sink.  Perfect.  You could use a vase or a mason jar or a candle holder that no longer has a candle in it.  And just go to your local grocery store or florist and spend $10 or less on some flowers.  Easy, beautiful and cheap!

5.  A few candles to enhance the ambiance.  I usually light a candle in the bathroom and have 1-2 more in the living/dining space depending on the theme and party type.  This Voluspa candle from Anthropologie is my favorite.  Like I love it to pieces.  The smell is bold and floral and fresh.  I usually light this particular one in the bathroom as it’s pretty fragrant and you don’t want to compete with the smell of food in your living/dining/kitchen area.

6.  Something sweet.  I have a sweet tooth.  I love chocolate and ice cream and cupcakes and brownies and cake and I believe that a party isn’t a party unless something sweet is served.  And when push comes to shove, skip the baking and go to the store or a local bakery and pick up something.  You don’t need to be the hero and unless you are Martha Stewart, spending a few bucks at a bakery or cupcake shop will result in a far prettier dessert, yes?!

September 1, 2014

First Home Improvement Project – Floors!

Hey there! Happy Labor Day.  I am spending mine catching up on work, some house projects and organization to get ready to move into our new house!

Speaking of house…when Rick and I were buying our house, we were all over the board on which kind of house we would settle on, based on what we were seeing in the market.  A house from 1920 that had incredible charm, but all the bathrooms needed a gut rehab.  A new construction with minimal character but pristine appliances and finishings. A house in an amazing location that needed basically an entire gut rehab.

Our deciding factor (in addition to some of the obvious things like price and location) was trying to get a move-in ready abode.  With him still new in his job (and busier than ever), a baby due in November and the 8,000 other life things, we decided move-in ready was the way to go, in an effort to save our marriage and not kill each other during a massive home renovation.

So the little Jurassic Park house is ready for us and we will be moved in next week with only one pre-move-in project that is relatively minor but was a must for me – staining the hardwood floors.  Rick didn’t totally agree with this, but, we came to agreement (and by we, I mean I).  Our previous home, like this new home, had similar floors – an orange-y maple oak.  It was the only thing I would change about the house and thankfully, my loving husband approved.  Truth be told I hate orange-y maple oak floors.  And gosh, so many houses have them!  But given the house, otherwise, was move-in ready and this project was small (only about 35% of the house has these floors), it clearly wasn’t a deal-breaker and the project was manageable for us.

I found a company, got some quotes, made a decision and the work starts on Thursday.  And here we are.  A few days from stain-and-refinish-the-orange-go-time.  My desired outcome is in the family of walnut.  Fingers crossed we can get these bad boys in the family of some of these beauties below!

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I will send you actual pictures of how the floors turn out and we can see if we got close to any of the above!

August 27, 2014

Decorating With Mirrors

I love me some beautiful mirrors.  They are a design necessity and you can go big, go small, go in multiples and almost never fail.  You can splurge or save on them.  You can buy them new or snag up a perfect antique one at a flea market.  They work well alone and paired with others.  These are just a few reasons I love decorating with mirrors. Not to mention their functional purpose: brightening up spaces, increase the perceived size of a space and giving a space customized lighting, depending on where and how you hang them.

And below are some of my favorite ways to maximize your space in creative ways using mirrors.  What are your favorites?

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Sources:  Apartment Therapy // Little Green Notebook // Ana Rosa Tumblr // Country Design Style // I Do, I Don’t Design // Apartment Therapy // Source Unknown

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