October 29, 2014

Four Years

Today marks our four year wedding anniversary and I feel overwhelmingly grateful to be sharing my life with this amazing man.

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Yes, he comes with flaws and yes, he drives me crazy.  But at his core, he is a God-fearing man, a man of integrity, a man with an amazing sense of humor, a super-duper hard worker,  a man that doesn’t sweat the small stuff, who loves well and is always willing to grow and work together on our marriage.  Frankly, that is one of my favorite things about him.  He will try to do better.  And in our marriage – and likely other marriages – we have to always want to get better.  Because when two imperfect human beings come together, it creates an imperfect – yet special and incredible – bond.  And one that requires work. And to have a partner that makes me laugh, keeps me honest, sanctifies me AND grows and works on our marriage as much as we did on day one?  Yeah, it’s a giant blessing from God.  One that I don’t take lightly.

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The love I have for this guy is hard to describe yet at the same time, simple in many ways.  He truly is my best friend and I fall in love with him more and more as each day passes us.  And it hurts my heart at times.  Like that painful love.  Like I can’t wait to see him at night after work.  And when he leaves for work in the morning, I think, “wow, I love that guy” and my heart already starts to miss him (I know, barf…but it’s true!).  He’s so special.  Like really, really special and I want him by my side always.

And as I reflect on four years, what comes to me is just a smile and warm heart of what we have been through together.

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We have traveled and had many of nights at home, just the two of us.  And other times our house has been filled with people we love.

We have laughed…a lot.

And we have cried.  We have fought and loved and prayed and lost and loved again…and again.  We have celebrated success and milestones and dreams coming true.  And we have wept at those who are no longer with us.  And we have wept over four lost children…four children that we will meet in heaven one day.  We have trusted God.  And then questioned God.  And then thanked God.  We’ve shared our life with many friends and family that we love more than words can say.  We’ve packed boxes and said goodbye to a place, Chicago, that will forever hold a place in our hearts.  We’ve closed chapters and opened new ones.  We have made big messes and we’ve cleaned up our messes.  We’ve asked for forgiveness.  Over and over.  Because in a marriage, that’s what you do.  And man oh man, we have had – and still do – have fun.  Lots of it.

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And through it all, we haven’t lost sight of why we are here today.  God.  He orchestrated this, he continues to do work in both of us and in our marriage.  He is the reason we can celebrate our love and marriage yesterday, today and tomorrow.  And for that, we are humbled.  We are thankful.  And we celebrate this union today.  This union that is a complete and perfect gift from God.

October 23, 2014

Bold Living Rooms

I’ve been seeing all kinds of unique spaces these days, especially these bold living rooms.  I see them and think “ooohhh I want to do that!” And then I realize I’m not as brave as my emotions (and that funny voice in my head) lead me to believe.  But, I am still inspired and one day maybe I will try something this bold!  What do you think?  Would you ever do something like this in your living room?

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October 22, 2014

Where to Buy Throw Pillows

I recently had a friend ask me where I recommended buying throw pillows.  She loves loves throw pillows, but has a hard time deciding on where to buy and from there, what to buy.  Let me let you in on a little secret.  I, too LOVE throw pillows.  Like borderline obsessed.  Like have dreams of owning a textile company to make pillows.  Ahhhh, one day.

Anyways, there are a lot of good options out there and fortunately, there are a lot of good options that won’t break the bank.  I have curated a list of where to buy throw pillows and highlighted some of my favorites in the below.  Ahem, I am probably going to buy the monogram one for our nursery and I just bought the Miami one for our family room.  I am all about personalization!  All sources are listed below.  Happy shopping!

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1.  Urban Outfitters (Can you even believe it?!  They have amazing options AND great prices!)
2.  Lulu & Georgia (mid-range pricing with incredible options…I love the bold colors and patterns)
3.  West Elm (they have stepped up their pillow game as of late…check them out for sure!)
4.  Target (no brainer…for a super bargain and great design, Target is always a win)
5.  Anthropologie (broader range of pricing from mid-to-high but the quality is impeccable…I bought the gold dots one featured for our nursery and it’s perfect)
6.  Jayson Home (you are going to fork out a lot of cash for these but for quality, design and craftsmanship, it could be worth it to you)
7.  Pottery Barn (always a go-to for classics but these days, they are cranking out some creative pillows, especially for the holiday seasons)
8.  Caitlin Wilson Textiles (mid-range price point, incredible entrepreneur with unique, bold and soft patterns…in fact, I covered two chairs in her textiles and love them!)
9. Lint and Honey (My latest find – a Canadian based designer – I have fallen hard for these pillows…how can you not?!)

October 19, 2014

Coming to Term

It has taken me (well, us) over 3 years to get to this place, this incredible moment in time that I didn’t think I would get to.  A full-term pregnancy.  After 4 pregnancies that resulted nowhere near term (you can read about those here and here and here and here), it was hard to stay hopeful, positive, optimistic.  What wasn’t hard, to a certain degree, was putting our trust in God and being reminded no matter what, to be content.  With a baby, without a baby.  Rick was very, very instrumental to help me get to that place.  I am not sure I was there all the time, or there perfectly, but, it was a constant thought that made way to my head and into my heart.  Be content in all circumstances.

Fast forward, I am almost 38 weeks pregnant, proof below :)

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I often get the question “how do you feel?”  And by the grace of God, my response has been, I feel good.  Because I do.  I have had a pregnancy where I would say physically, it has been really, really good.  I sleep.  I sleep so well that I have picked up a really bad case of snoring in the third trimester and poor Rick is now the one who isn’t sleeping…bless his heart.  I have worked out somewhat regularly throughout the pregnancy. (Disclosure #1 – as I am high risk, I wasn’t allowed to work out my first trimester.  Disclosure #2 – by working out I mean very moderate exercise…walking, eliptical and the like…so no, I wasn’t those super moms running marathons or benching 100 pounds while the baby kicks me in the ribs.)  While my energy levels have varied, for the most part, I have a good amount of energy.  I have gained a healthy amount of weight.  Sure, would I have loved to be the woman who gains 20 pounds?  Yeah.  But I knew from the start that wouldn’t be me.  I set a goal of gaining 25-30 pounds and right now I am at 30.  A little on the higher side of my goal but it’s okay.  The ice cream has been worth it.

Emotionally?  That is a different story.  For me, I would say the emotional piece of answering the question “how do you feel?” is where I don’t always respond “good.”  Why?  Well, for the most part, it hasn’t been major but, my hormones have gotten the best of me at times during this pregnancy, namely the third trimester.  Of course women talked about that and you read about it.  But I found more women and more articles and blogs and forums and apps focused on the physical symptoms and hurdles you face being pregnant (weight gain, stretch marks, no sleeping, varicose veins, acne, heartburn, achy hips, etc.).  So when I found myself with no acne and no heartburn, weeping tears at 3am wondering why I even got pregnant and how will my marriage survive and all kinds of other absurd thoughts (but VERY real thoughts at the time), I realized I needed to talk about this more.  Again, physically, I was doing just great.  Emotionally I was a wreck with a capital W. 

I needed support and prayers.  It comes as no surprise, the next day, when I shared this part of my pregnancy – the part where I questioned why I married Rick and why he is a jack @$$ (sorry, that was what I was thinking at the time), that most of the thoughts in my head were negative, the part where I wasn’t sure if having a child was what I wanted (ummm, a little late for that, Ann) and a thousand thoughts in between – with a group of women and vulnerably and weakly asked for prayers, I started to be lifted.  I was lifted out of that place, one day, one hour, one moment at a time.  I literally couldn’t pray for myself and needed the intercession of women I love and trust to help me.  And they did.  As I type right now goose bumps are covering my entire body.  I honestly didn’t even really believe their prayers would work but I was so desperate, lost and scared, I had nowhere else to go.

Since that period of time in the beginning of my third trimester, I have, for the most part, been back to myself.  I have had moments of emotional hormonal absurd breakdowns, yes.  Like most pregnant women do.  But the power of prayer – and continued prayer – had lifted me and continues to lift me.  And, again, for the most part, I have really enjoyed this pregnancy.

I have thanked God for the miracle in my belly.  I have cried tears of joy feeling this child move around inside of me.  I have been able to pour love and creativity into her nursery, her first space in this world.  I have had physical woes and emotional woes and I am thankful for both.  Because that is what pregnancy is and that is what pregnancy does and it’s worth it.  And ladies, I am going to bet I am not the only one who went through some extremely tough emotional times during pregnancy.  May I encourage you?  May I remind you that you are not alone?  That your thoughts and emotions and hormones are real.  Please, please don’t let them fester as they will.  I let them fester too long and only wish I would have asked for help and been brave enough to share sooner.  Talk to someone, ask for help, ask for prayers.  I am not sure where I would be if I didn’t share the ugliness of my pregnancy and ask for help from women who I trust.  Please, please do the same!

My days of being pregnant are coming to an end and while I am incredibly excited and ready to meet this little girl, this gift from heaven, I am also in awe at the last 38 weeks of my life.  Things God has shown me.  The trials faced between Rick and me.  The ups, the downs, the tears of pain, the tears of joy.  My changing body, a growing life inside of me.  I am most certain that there is no greater miracle God shows us every single day across the world, than the miracle of life.

PS – I no longer think Rick is a jack @$$ and in fact, as I look back not only on this pregnancy but our marriage, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for him, his strength, his prayers, his leadership of our family.  I can’t even believe I get this amazing guy to be the father of this little girl. 

PPS (or is it PSS?) – If you are one who prays, I welcome your prayers these last couple weeks.  Prayers for a safe and healthy delivery and that this little one would enter the world well, surrounded by love!

October 9, 2014

Cocktail Hour with Chairish

Hey hey!  It’s Thursday and you know what that means?  It’s basically the weekend and the countdown to cocktail hour begins!  I am thrilled to share with you a project I worked on in conjunction with Chairish.  Hopefully you all know of Chairish, BUT, for those of you who don’t, check it out STAT.  Here’s a cliff note of who/what they are, taken from their website:  Chairish.com makes it fun and easy for design lovers to buy and sell pre-loved decor to one another. Our shop exclusively features curator-approved treasures in a full-service and trustworthy environment.

Having just moved, I can totally relate to being in a new space and realizing both a) some of my furniture from my previous home doesn’t work in the new space and b) there are a few pieces of furniture needed based on the new space.  Chairish is a win-win on this front.  Sell your goods.  Buy some goods.  It’s perfect.  But take note, they don’t just sell anything.  They do have a curation process to ensure it meets their brand criteria.  The best part?  They make the selling process very easy.  See below from their website:

When it’s time for a new look, Chairish is the best way to sell your fabulous pre-owned home furnishings. Here’s why:

  1. You make more money. Up to 80% of the selling price goes back to you. Listing with Chairish is always free.
  2. We handle the pesky logistics. Chairish manages payment and shipping details. We use top notch white glove movers and well-known commercial services for smaller items.
  3. We have the right buyers. The Chairish curation team approves every listing to ensure the best experience for our design-oriented buyers and sellers. We attract buyers who will value and appreciate your fine furnishings.

Okay, enough details, let’s get to the fun stuff!  Here is the space I designed using mostly Chairish products that are available right now, featuring an amazing pair of crescent bar stools.  All sources are listed below (and if you want to check out all the bar stools that are available on Chairish right now, click here).  Get shopping, selling, eating and drinking with Chairish and House & Host.  Cheers!

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1.  Chairish Mid Century Cocktail Set // 2.  Chairish Chrome Bar Table // 3. Amazon Cocktail Books // 4. CB2 Perspective Mirrors // 5. Chairish Bar Stools // 6. Chairish White Sheer Chandelier // 7. West Elm Round Rug //8. Chairish Tufted Storage Ottoman // 9. Crate & Barrel Ice Bucket Tool Set // 10. Chairish Vogue Illustration // 11. Chairish Vintage Metal Bar Cart

 

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