Archive | June, 2012

I Have a Secret

29 Jun

… or rather this desk has a secret

And I’m going to be cruel and make you wait to find out what it is.

Feel free to guess in the comments, although if I told you in my excitement, don’t ruin the suspense!

I picked it up off Craigslist yesterday- isn’t she cute?  As per my standard when I get amazing deals on amazing pieces, I felt the urge to do my happy dance.  To spare us all the embarrassment, however I just dance in my head, then grin like an idiot.

This beauty, or more aptly, future beauty, is going to be refinished for my sister-in-law’s posh NYC apartment.  It seriously is the perfect item for the space- you’ll see.

Have an awesome weekend!


Blogging My Way

28 Jun

When people ask me the name of my blog, I generally get sideways glances when I tell them.  It’s long winded, I know, but there is a point behind it, I swear!  I originally started blogging because I was feeling lost.  I decided that if I started exploring my creativity and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, it might lead me to some realizations about myself and what I wanted out of life.  My original plan was to commit to blogging at least twice a week for at least a year (hence the “Year”) and explore things outside of my comfort zone (“Strategic”), in hopes that by challenging myself, I would open up an unknown world of possibility (“Serendipity”).

serendipity [ˌsɛrənˈdɪpɪtɪ] n the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident

When I began blogging a year and a half ago, I had no idea that it would turn into a home design/DIY focused blog and that it would help me rediscover my design passions.  Serendipitous, don’t you think?  (Sorry, couldn’t resist).  I’ve enjoyed blogging and sharing my ‘adventures’ more than I ever anticipated, so it’s time to up my game.

For the past month, I’ve been an eager learner in Blogging Your Way 2.0 run by the amazing Holly Becker (of Decor8).  Maybe I can absorb some of her and the other teachers’ blogging awesomeness simply by proximity.  Just in case that doesn’t work, however, I figure I should make the most of the lessons and homework assignments.  (Some of the homework assignments have included this post and this post).  The class has far exceeded my expectations!  It has me looking at my blog in a whole new light.  I’m just disappointed that the month-long class is almost over- I want more!

The most beneficial part of this class for me is that it’s helping me find my voice.  This is an outlet for me to share my passion and build my brand, and I need to present my thoughts in the best possible way.  I always know what point I want to get across in my posts (sometimes babbling a bit too much about it), but I’m starting to really understand the best way to curate the information.  There will be a bit of trial and error really figuring this stuff out, but it’s only getting better from here!

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Soaring Solo in NYC

25 Jun

A vibrant 25 year old aspiring actress in NYC should have a vibrant exuberant home, don’t you think?   That’s why, when my wonderful sister-in-law, Lily, moved into her first solo apartment a few weeks ago, I offered to design it.

Sorry, only “Before” pictures to share today.  I’m just getting started on plans now, but I can already see how amazing the space is going to be.  I’ll be visiting her in 3 weeks, so the design countdown begins and I need to start pulling the first room together (AK, only 3 weeks to pull together a design!)

Our first design target: the living room.

Since this is her first place sans roommates, we’re starting with a near blank slate.  I mean really blank- all she’s done is unpack, so the apartment is just waiting for my vision.  She has very little usable furniture and a modest budget to work with.  I couldn’t ask for a better client, though.  She’s not afraid of color, pattern, or having fun with design.  Sounds like the recipe for a good time to me!

We’ll be reusing and revamping what we can and looking for bargains and creative solutions for the rest.  (This isn’t going to be ANY fun for me at all… ok, maybe a little)

My plan is classic chic with a glam twist and pops of color.  Can’t you just see it already??  I totally can, and I can’t wait for it to materialize.  We’ve got a few DIYs planned too, so I’ll definitely have some fun projects to share in the near future.

Behind the Objects: Getting Catty

22 Jun

In my last post, I tried to hammer home the concept of personalizing your space.  But what does that really mean?

In the land of design blogs, we talk a lot about things.  Furniture, art, accessories… material objects.  What really makes a home’s design special to the occupant, however, is the meaning behind the objects.

In this new series, I’ll be taking the time to celebrate the personal significance of the things I surround myself with.  The stories of my home.

Without further adieu (and in no particular order whatsoever)….

Object #1: Brass Cat

My parents came across this cat about a year ago while cleaning out my great aunt’s house.  She was, to put it nicely, a collector.  It needed a serious scrub, but what an outcome!  Maybe it’s because I dabble in being a crazy cat lady, I love this little guy.  So regal.

I still haven’t found the right spot for him yet (I really need to style some vignettes around this house), so currently he guards over our computers from his perch on the bookshelf.  I’m not sure of his age (certainly not new) or origins, but he feels like he has a story to tell.  Maybe it’s a story of my great aunt.

3 Ways to avoid Box Store Syndrome

20 Jun

Box Store Syndrome

1. A condition characterized by look-alike living rooms, bland bedrooms, and souless spaces.

2. Letting an unknown store decorator dictate your style; lacking a personal touch.

Never ever ever ever buy all the pieces of furniture in one set.  We’ve all done it.  We should all not do it again.  Let’s make a deal.

I’m as guilty as the rest of you, but I’m still kicking myself for it.  Take my living room.  When we first moved in, our living room was a bit of a snooze (understatement of the year).  It said nothing about who we are and it really could have been a room in any house.

By breaking up the seating set and mixing up materials with a new glass coffee table, even the in-progress living room is much more interesting.

Play with styles and finishes.  Have fun with your furniture!  You can still find a living room ‘set’ at one store, though if you look a little harder.  Instead of buying the sofa and chair of the same collection, look around the showroom for complimenting pieces.

Don’t get me wrong, not all the pieces need to be different.  A sofa of one style, and a pair of chairs in another can have the same stunning effect.

Own your space!  There are many other ways personalize a space beyond family photos.  Your room should reflect who you are.  Are you a fun young couple who loves the outdoors?  Your space should not be a stuffy formal room with perfectly polished accessories.  Love hiking? Incorporate rustic woods.  Are you a theater buff?  Add drama through window treatments.  Do you LOVE the color purple? (guilty!)  Don’t shy away from it, celebrate it!  If your room feels like YOU, it will feel more like home.

One of the best ways to put your stamp on a space is through accessories.

If an item speaks to you, find a way to incorporate it into your space.  Souvenirs from your travels, artwork from your children, or simply a piece that makes you smile will all add personality to your surroundings.

Group items together for a more cohesive feel.  Pro tip: odd numbers are almost always more pleasing to the eye.  Try this in action by grouping 3 items of different scales together (think small, med, and large).

Emily Henderson via Centsational Girl

Back to Reality

18 Jun

After a week away from reality in Cancun, it’s time to get my head back in the game.

I’m really excited about some of the cool pictures I got on vacation, including the one above.  Finally, I’m feeling as though my photo skills are looking up.  Why the sudden change in outlook?  Well, having the right tools really helps.

I am please to say, I can already cross 2 items off my 30 before 30 list


4. Buy a ‘big girl’ camera
5. Take a photography class (to learn how to use said ‘big girl’ camera)


A few days before vacation, I got my new toy: a Sony NEX 5n.  I shot using the auto mode all vacation, but I have yet to really unleash it’s full power with the manual settings.  Right around the time I ordered my camera, Living Social was offering a local 3 hour digital photography workshop.  Deal!  The workshop yesterday was exactly what I was hoping for.  I am now enlightened about HOW to use all the manual settings.  Now all I have to do is play around with the camera and figure out the best settings to get the aesthetic I’m looking for.  Later this week, I’ll share some of my experimental photoshoots.

I can’t wait to work it all out and start sharing with you a much higher caliber of photos!

Greetings from Mexico

14 Jun

Still on vacation (woo hoo) and trying to make the most of it.  I don’t sit still very well, so we’ve been keeping pretty busy.

Yesterday was quite an adventure.  We left the hotel at 7:45 am thinking that we were headed to Tulum to see some Mayan ruins and go snorkeling.  Well, the universe and a pleasant but rather befuddled trip coordinator had other plans.  We found ourselves on the tour bus to Chichin Itza instead- which wasn’t a bad thing at all, considering that’s the other excursion we were contemplating, but it was a much longer ride.  If you haven’t heard of Chichen Itza (like I hadn’t a few days ago), it’s an even larger site of Mayan ruins and something that the Hubs apparently had on his unwritten bucket list.

In this happy accident,  Hubby and I got to wander the ancient ruins,

make friends with a lizard,

see a tequila plantation,

swim in an underground natural freshwater lagoon (with fish tickling our feet!),

and visit a historical Mexican town… of which the name escapes me.

We didn’t get home until late, but it was a great day!  We’ll see what the last few days of vacation bring.

*All of the above photos are ones that I actually took.  I’m as shocked as you are.

**I apologize if these photos are huge- I’m on Hubby’s laptop which has zero photo editing software.  I miss my laptop… and my kittens