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How to Decorate Your Home with and Care for Your Succulents

Do you love succulent plants? There is just something appealing about the idea of something beautiful and green that doesn’t require a lot of attention. Succulents are the cats of plants. They are everywhere these days. They’re cute and succulent care is easy. Put them in a cute gold hanging planter pot and voila, you’ve got an instant conversation starter.

succulents, boho, Wayfair, succulent plants, succulent care

I’ve been redecorating my office; updating and streamlining. I’m trying to make my workspace a more peaceful place with less distractions. I want more light and less clutter. A workspace should be a place of inspiration and warmth, especially when you are a creative type. I’m a writer. I thrive in natural light, free-flowing energy and clarity.

Succulents remind me of driving to my grandpa’s house in Mexico when I was a child. Yes, we drove from Chicago to Mexico every summer. At that time, there were five of us kids ( later there would be six) and it was a long, hot drive in August. One of the things we looked forward to the most was the change of scenery. We didn’t have cactus and deserts in Chicago so we always thought it was pretty cool to see.

READ ALSO: How a Piece of Furniture Transformed my Life

Succulent plants have been on my list for my office for quite some time. Between watching all the dormify Youtube videos with my teenage girls and just wanting something more natural, something that could actually lighten the air in my office, I finally bought myself a small collection of succulents. Now, I need to figure out succulent care and how to keep them alive and thriving.

succulents, boho, Wayfair, succulent plants, succulent care

The thing is that I don’t know too much about succulent care other than my rule #1, when you have these types of plants, you have to plant them in pretty planter pots. It’s the only way to do it, right? There is just something about a tiny, hearty succulent sitting in your line of sight that conjures up thoughts of warm weather and the summers of my childhood.

READ ALSO: When a Deck is More than a Deck

Since I don’t want to be that person who buys beautiful plants and then lets them all die because I don’t know anything about succulent care, I’ve done some research. Turns out that it’s pretty simple to take care of succulents but do you actually have to give them some love and attention.

Succulent care for Newbies

 

  1. Choose a succulent that you love but that is appropriate for your home.
  2. Provide a very well-draining potting soil. You do not want moisture staying in there too long.
  3. Choose a beautiful succulent plant pot. This is where you can really make your succulents shine as a part of your décor.
  4. Place your potted succulents in a bright and sunny location. Mine are in my office window.
  5. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. When watering, be sure to soak the roots.
  6. Last but not least, be sure to fertilize your succulents at least once a year.

Succulents are great because they are hearty and hard to kill. They are perfect for someone who wants to care for plants but who might not necessarily have the time to care for something fickler like orchids. A succulent garden is every bit as beautiful as any other kind of plant and sometimes even more so because each plant is so different and they come in such a variety of textures and shapes. It’s also a great way to teach kids responsibility and caring for living things. My 11-year-old loves hers.

Do you love succulents? What is your best tip for succulent care?

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daybed with trundle, Ghislain Daybed, wayfair, home office make over, Marie Kondo, organization

As many of you know, we’ve been in the midst of a full-on Marie Kondo-ing of our entire house and this is when I realized how a daybed with trundle could transform our home office. I was hoping we’d be done by the end of January but, alas, it’s going to take more time. Even though January was an entire year long, so many things came up.

There are some things that I’ve realized that I want to do since beginning this organization journey 1) Stop acquiring “stuff” 2) Minimize what I do have 3) Minimalize our home. I want to focus on experiences and making memories not having stuff.

I’m finding that all this “stuff” not only clutters my home, it clutters my mind and my life. Let’s be honest, as a mom, I don’t have room in any of the three for clutter. Clutter overwhelms me and keeps me from being present. The stuff keeps me from entertaining because the stuff is literally in the way and taking up too much room.

READ ALSO: Is the Marie Kindo Method for You?

In my quest to embrace minimalism, I decided to not only get rid of stuff but replace things with more efficient things. For example, my home office is in desperate need of being streamlined. It’s a small space with a lot of stuff. Stuff that belongs there and stuff that’s found its way there while trying to escape another room. My girls have a tendency to believe that “cleaning” their room means moving all the extra stuff that doesn’t have a place to my office.

My office is supposed to be a bedroom. But I need an office since I work from home. My family comes to visit from out of town a lot and I need a place for them to sleep. One of the things I’m doing in my pursuit of streamlined minimalism is replacing the uncomfortable futon in my office with a stylish daybed with a trundle. This will give me adequate seating space in my office, a great place to shoot video in good light and bonus, a sleep space for 2 people. At the very least, I can put my girls in there and give their beds to adults who stay over.

READ ALSO: Home is Wherever the People You Love Are

daybed with trundle, Ghislain Daybed, wayfair, home office make over, Marie Kondo, organization

We decided on the Ghislain Daybed with Trundle in gray. It is very modern and aesthetically pleasing daybed but also very functional and purposeful. You can’t believe how a simple piece of furniture can transform not only the space but the functionality of that space. It also helped to streamline the space in a way that makes it more usable.

Have you ever owned a piece of furniture that not only changed the space but changed the way you used the space?

 

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organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

My house is in disarray. It needs tidying up like I need sleep. Desperately. I don’t know about you but when my house is in chaos, my mind is in chaos. When my mind is in disarray, I feel overwhelmed and it’s hard for me to get my bearings.
When my perspective is skewed, it’s hard to stay focused on the positive and when that happens, it’s impossible to hit goals and chase down dreams because you’re too busy chasing your own tail. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo organization method is helping me to organize my life, my home, my mind and my soul. Who knew the KonMari organization method would work for me.

Enter fate and an unlikely Netflix binge, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Not going to lie, I bought the book a couple years ago. I started reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and it made sense but I’m a visual learner. You can tell me but it’s better if you show me.

Friday night, I turned on Netflix to find my next great binge and there it was, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Not normally my cup of tea but as I’m trying to be more positive and I know my method of tidying up is not working, I knew that organization is not my strong suit but it needs to be.

As soon as I saw the look of being lost on the first couples face, I could relate. It’s like one day you look around and you’re asking yourself, how did I get here? Whose life am I living because it’s so off the mark from what you imagined for yourself.
Before we had kids and when the kids were toddlers, my house was immaculate. Organization was my jam. A place for everything and everything in its place. Tidying up was not a problem. Then, the Big Guy lost his job and we had to do the whole commuter marriage thing and I was alone with a 2 & 4 year old.

READ ALSO: What is Commuter Marriage?

I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and if I’m being completely honest, a little depressed. Everything became too much and something had to give. I had to let go of the idea of a perfect house and focus on taking care of 2 small children by myself. The house went on the market and loads of stuff went into storage so the house could be shown. A couple temporary moves with stuff in storage and us in small quarters and somehow we acquired more stuff.

Then there was the miscarriage, our dog dying and the year of living with our in laws while stuff was in storage. My goal was just to survive. Tidying up and organization were not my priorities. It was just one more thing to do in an ever growing pile of things to do. Things that were overwhelming and exhausting at a time when I was already buried up to my neck in obligations and in full survival mode.

We’ve been in this house for 6 years and we’re still not fully unpacked and we’ve accumulated so much stuff just to replace stuff that was in storage or unfindable when we needed it. There’s always a holiday, visitors, traveling or some other obligation so we never get the time, or if I’m being honest, have the desire to sift through and sort through our lives so we keep the downstairs clean while the attic and garage are bursting at the seams and clean, folded laundry is stacked in all the bedrooms towering over us while we sleep.

READ ALSO: How to Get Your House Company Ready without Killing Yourself

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

It’s embarrassing, all the “stuff” we have. We don’t need it. But I’ve realized, the way some people eat their feelings, I shop to feel better. Then, I feel worse when I get the bill and I feel complete shit when I see my house full of stuff. I feel guilty. I actually feel embarrassed to carry my Louis Vuitton handbag bought for me as a gift by my husband because I feel like it’s just one more possession; a luxury that I either don’t need or don’t deserve. I haven’t quite figured out which.

I saw Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and learned the KonMari method of organization at the right time.

Just as I’ve recently decided that there is no more try only do. I decided we were doing this. Saturday morning, I asked my family to watch the first episode with me so we were all on the same page. We’ve started with the clothes. We’re still sorting through them. I went through so much clothing and moved so much clothing, shoes and bags around my room that after 15 hours, my entire body was aching; buckling under the physical pressure of organizing closets but my mind felt free and light. That is worth as many hours as it takes.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

We each went through our own stuff because I feel like only each of us can decide what’s important and sparks joy for us. At 11 and 13-years-old my girls can do that plus, they’re going to be more respectful of how they treat their belongings and how they appreciate the work it takes to tidy up more if they do it themselves. If we do it for them, they can’t fully appreciate what that entails. We all worked all day doing this.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

We started Saturday around noon collected about 15-20 bags of clothing to donate to the women’s shelter. We’re not even done yet. There will be more. I plan to use the KonMari tidying up organization method throughout my entire home over the next month or so. We’re in it as long as it takes. I will keep you all updated on here on Mondays.

How does Marie Kondo’s tidying up method work?

It’s not about throwing out all of your stuff. It’s about keeping what makes you happy and letting the rest go because, after all, it is just stuff.

Does it bring you joy?

Pick it up in your hands and decide if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t give it to someone who it will spark joy for.

For me, there are exceptions, there are articles of clothing like undergarments, socks and pajamas that don’t particularly spark joy but are necessary so I kept them but if they caused annoyance or I just had a dislike for, I threw out.

The goal is not to have to rebuy spanx but to not have clutter and not hold on to stuff just to have stuff.

What to do with the stuff?

It’s hard for me to get rid of stuff because I grew up poor. I tend to want to hold on to things and I form emotional attachments to things, especially where my kids are concerned. Marie Kondo has a sentimental category and it makes you take a moment and consider what things really mean to you.

I’m still going through my clothes, shoes, handbags and jewelry in my bedroom but I’m planning on doing the entire house. It may take me a couple months with work and life but purging feels good, folding in threes calms me and the less stuff I have the less overwhelmed I feel. Maybe I’m a minimalist on the inside?

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

Where do I start?

The life changing magic of Tidying up with Marie Kondo and the KonMari organization method should be done in this order;

Clothing

Hold each piece in your hand and decide if it sparks joy in your heart. If it doesn’t, give it away.

Books

She says to give them a little shake to wake them up and then decide what sparks joy. The rest donate to your local library, school or build your own little free library for your neighbors and friends.

Papers

Bills, receipts and etcetera.

Komono

Kitchen, Bathroom, Garage, Attic and everything miscellaneous.

Sentimental Items

Things that have sentimental value to you like photos, videos, heirlooms and things that bring you sentimental joy. It’s personal and only you can decide. It doesn’t have to be logical or make sense to anyone else. Besides, you can always go through your “Stuff” again later.

I fully realize that for some people tidying up and organization is not life changing. Some of you already have a handle on this aspect of your life but some of us are out of control and the chaos of the clutter is an outward reflection of the inner mess we feel; controlling one helps us to reign in the other. So maybe cleaning up and folding in thirds is not your jam, maybe you don’t have “too much stuff”. Maybe you think its crazy to throw out perfectly good stuff. I have a problem with this too. That’s why we’re donating our stuff. Then I can feel like I am controlling my mess, getting the closet organizers and clearing my mind without guilt about waste.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

 

What are your tips for keeping your house clutter free and making your home feel peaceful?

Are you experiencing the Life changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and trying the KonMari organization method as your guide to your closet organizer?

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Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

The holidays are here and there is nowhere I’d rather be than home for the holidays. I repeat, this is not a drill, the holidays are here. Last week was Thanksgiving, which means my house is decorated for Christmas. We’ve officially entered Nutcracker season. Next week, we host our first-holiday party with family and friends. That can’t happen without my home exuding all the warm and fuzzy feelings of the season.

I know full well that the warm and fuzzies come from the people we surround ourselves with. People, family and friends, they are what make these special occasions special. But there is just something about a home decorated for the holidays that lends itself to that spirit of good cheer.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

It doesn’t matter how you decorate; whether it be traditional, modern, or a mix of both. The décor is the icing on a good time cake.  It helps create an ambiance. I won’t lie, there is just something about the glow of warm lights, garland and Nutcrackers that make my heart happy.

READ ALSO: Barn Doors are the New Black in Interior Design

 

The Big Guy and I have been building our décor, over many years and across many phases and homes, in our 20 years together so it’s a bit of this and that but when you put it all together, it’s sure to warm the cockles of even the Grinchiest of hearts and really, isn’t that what its all about? Smiles on faces, laughter ringing out above Christmas carols, glowing flames in the fireplace, stolen kisses under the mistletoe all while the smell of Christmas cookies baking wafts through the house.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

Huh. I guess I’m more excited about next weeks party than I thought.

It’s been a rough year. Things have been crazy and tight and pulled in lots of direction and on top of all of that, I’m recovering from surgery. Today is my first day out of the house in 24 days due to recovery (I’ve not suddenly become agoraphobic or anything). It’s only my second day out of pajamas and its time to get out of my head and into the Christmas spirit. I think the remedy to what ails me is to finish decorating the house for the holidays.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

READ ALSO: How to Create the Coziest House on the Block this Holiday Season

Every year, I add to our holiday décor. This year I did a little shopping at Wayfair because 1) I had a gift card 2) they had some crazy good deals 3) I love their variety.

Wayfair, Christmas decorations, How to decorate for the holidays, home for the holidays

No matter what your style is, they have something for everyone. Honestly, I bought so much stuff, I didn’t decorate one area of my house with it. I decorated the entire house throughout with some of my new pieces and they make me happy. Can you say Moose with ornaments on its antlers? Because apparently in 2018, that is my happy place. Doesn’t sound holiday enough for you? That’s ok because Wayfair’s got something for everyone, like Santa.

How do you decorate for the holidays? What makes home for the holidays the only place to be for you?

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When a Back Deck is More than Just a Deck

It’s finally fall and that means it is finally cool enough to sit outside again and enjoy nature. One of my favorite things to do is sit outside on weekend mornings and drink coffee with the Big Guy. It’s like date night but without getting dressed up.

Disclosure: This is a compensated post written in partnership with Wayfair, but, as always, all opinions are my own.

After almost 20 years of marriage, with a tween and a teenage daughter, you have to squeeze in that alone together time anywhere you can get it. Seriously, it’s not about what you do but with who you do it. For me, sitting on the back deck with a hot cup of milky coffee in my pajama pants and a comfy sweater sitting next to the Big Guy is one of my favorite things to do.

Of course, I wouldn’t turn up my nose to sitting on the back deck under the stars sitting on that same love seat enjoying a nice glass of Malbec. It’s about making the time and effort to find those stolen moments with the ones you love.

This summer, we traveled a lot so we didn’t get to do everything we wanted to our yard. Like, I’m still waiting for my hot tub to show up. But we did do something that really changed the entire aesthetic of our yard and gave us some privacy. I mean, what’s the point of going outside on the deck to enjoy some alone time with your favorite guy away from the kids if every single person who lives in the addition can walk past on the walking path? So, we put up a Gazebo and strung some globe lights.

 

The gazebo gives us privacy and protects us from the elements and bugs. It has a mosquito net around all 4 sides (because mosquitos love me and nothing ruins an intimate moment than itching and scratching) and, for extra privacy, it has nylon walls that can zip around all four sides. The globe lights add the perfect warm glow inside the gazebo.

Not to say that we only use the gazeebo and lights for spending time alone together, it’s great for parties too. We strung globe lights throughout the entire yard and it’s perfect for when you are entertaining. We like to entertain as a family and it’s nice to have the warm glow in the yard so children and adults alike can see how to get to and from the house. The gazebo comes in great as a retreat for those of us who want to enjoy the party but not get eaten up by the mosquitos.

The thing that makes my backyard my dream backyard is the fact that it’s not an extension of our living space. With the gazebo, it’s almost like having another room in the house but instead of being surrounded by four walls, you are surrounded by nature. There is nothing quite like spending time with the ones you love, listening to the owls comingle with your children’s laughter, playing cards or making up silly songs, having a few drinks or just enjoying a conversation while the kids chase fireflies around the yard. These are the moments memories are made.

A dream backyard is not about what you have, it’s about what you do in the space. For us, our gazeebo and globe lights create an ambiance that affects the way we feel when we are in the space. We are happy because we are together and these days are fleeting like a dream you’ve woken from smiling. You smile because you feel happy but you can’t remember why and does it even really matter?

What do you do to make the space in your house feel like a home?

 

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glassdoor, sliding doors, barn door, DIY, home renovation, frosted panel, interior barn door

You’ve heard about breaking the glass ceiling but what do you know about a glassdoor, barn door and sliding doors is the real question? Renovating an old house sounds like an adventure to some ears. Not mine. I like new. I don’t like old, especially in houses. Put it this way, I’d love to visit your old renovated and updated house but I prefer mine to be brand spanking new. I know, I sound like the biggest ageist alive but I promise I have good reasons. Just bear with me.

Firstly, I grew up in an over 100-year-old house. It was small, of course, they sold it as “cozy”. I never had a “shower” until I was in college because the house I grew up in had 1 bathroom (with 6 kids) and 1 claw foot tub. Sounds so quaint, right? Try 1 bathroom with 6 kids when the stomach flu hits. Not as “quaint” as it might sound.

glassdoor, sliding doors, barn door, DIY, home renovation, frosted panel, interior barn door

The entire house was very sectioned off. Every room had a door. Of course, every room felt like a closet so “old houses” are not for claustrophobics, which my mom happens to be. On the plus side, there were plenty of spaces to hide and seek, especially when you were in trouble as a kid. However, you spent a lot of time with the people you loved developing your personality. My kids go to my mom’s house and are always in awe how we all lived there together and everyone survived.

Aside from everything needing to be “updated” in old houses and them being oddly laid out, chances are there are some residual remnants of the previous owners and I’m not just talking about those creepy baby portraits we found in my parents crawl space right next to a first edition copy of “The Joy of Sex”. No, that’s not creepy at all. I’m talking about the things you don’t see, like the whispers in the middle of the night with no people attached to them. Of course, apparently, that can happen in new houses too.

READ ALSO: The True Story behind my Ghost Photo

Still, after buying two brand spanking new houses, in a moment of relocation desperation, we bought an “old house” with “good bones”. FTW, “good bones” is code for you’re going to spend a lot of money to get this house to look and feel the way you want it. Now, our house is not 100’s of years old. It was built in 1977.

It’s a beautiful 2-story John Hughes special in the suburbs. In a coveted neighborhood that’s lush with green rolling heels and miles of biking paths, parks, tennis courts, a clubhouse with not 1 but 3 swimming pools. On paper, it is everything we wanted. Well, mostly. I wanted new. I wanted a basement and a loft. Apparently, lofts weren’t a thing in the 70’s.

Still, desperation to relocate out of our temporary housing at our in-laws had me wearing my DIY goggles. I thought I could do all the things. Feral cats as past tenants, no problem. Complete kitchen renovation; we’ve got this. 1990’s textured walls; I can fix that. Desperate times tricks the brain into believing it can when it can’t. Well, it can because I’m a Mexican, not a Mexicant. But boy was it a lot of work.

We’ve lived in the house for almost 6 years and it’s been a labor of love (and hate on some days) but slowly but surely, it is becoming the house we always wanted. It’s amazing how knocking out a few walls and opening up the floor plan can bring an old house into the future. It’s shaping up nicely. Of course, if I ever see country blue wallpaper ever again, it will be too soon. Thank God for a mother in law who knows about all these things and doesn’t mind helping out her high maintenance daughter-in-law (apparently, they were as ready for us to be gone as we were to go).

READ ALSO: Moving and Trying Not to Die is Hard

We’ve replaced all the flooring in the house, renovated the entire kitchen, movie room, dining room, eat-in and over the past few weeks, the Big Guy put his back into giving me a new half-bath and laundry room area. You can’t imagine what a difference removing wallpaper, adding some paint, new flooring, sink, lighting and a sliding door can make. It looks like a new house. Chip and Joanna Gaines ain’t got nothing on us. * That was a joke. They make that stuff look easy. It’s not but it is definitely worth it.

I would have never thought that a door would have any bearing on the way a room came together. When I think of doors, it’s an afterthought purely for function. I was wrong. It’s the first thing someone sees when they enter a room. The door creates the vibe, especially if it’s an amazing statement piece door.

glassdoor, sliding doors, barn door, DIY, home renovation, frosted panel, interior barn door

I don’t know about you but I have been cuckoo for sliding barn doors for the past couple of years. I’ve seen them in all the new builds and in all the Interior design magazines. I was super jealous because I thought they just weren’t to be a part of my story and then, I partnered with Wayfair on a sliding door project and the heaven’s parted and angels sang and I knew these “good bones” were about to get better.

We removed the old brown, hollowed door which paired perfectly with the circa 1970’s wallpaper that led from our hallway to the laundry room and replaced it with a brand new modern frosted glass, interior barn door. It changed the whole look of the space.

glassdoor, sliding doors, barn door, DIY, home renovation, frosted panel, interior barn door

I am not an interior decorator but I have been living in this old house for 6 years (and it’s still very much a work in process as you can tell from the missing baseboards) and trying really hard to get these old bones to support the facelift we’ve been giving our home. If you’re thinking of buying an old house with “good bones” and testing your DIY skills don’t be afraid. It can be amazing.

Just know that it will take some sweat equity on your part but in the end, it will totally be worth it. There is something very satisfying about building your dream house with your own two hands. Of course, there is nothing wrong with outsourcing if you need to. But don’t call me. I only remove wall texture as a labor of love, you couldn’t afford my rates.

It’s easier than ever to renovate your home with Youtube tutorials, the DIY channel and places like Wayfair to get affordable options to update your home. Now, about those creepy baby portraits and any residual energy from the previous owners, you’re all on your own.

What’s on your bucket list of DIY home renovations; new deck, new kitchen, new glassdoor, barn door or sliding doors?

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backyard, garden, patio,How to Make Your Dream Backyard Garden and Patio

Wondering how to get your dream backyard garden and patio? The weather is warming up, the sun is shining and I am having dreams of sitting on my back deck, watching the girls play with their friends while I finally put that margarita machine to use with my friends.

My backyard garden and patio are much like my house, a fixer-upper. Luckily, the Big Guy doesn’t shy away from DIY home renovations and I have lots of great ideas. This is why we work so well together.

READ ALSO: How to Refresh a Room to Inspire Change

Currently, our backyard garden and patio are good. The grass is lush, the firepit is welcoming and the deck is clean. We have lots of shade and it’s just a really comfortable space to be in. However, there is no covering on the deck ( we built a pergola and hung drapes at our previous house) and that means no privacy which is a slight issue when the neighborhood walking paths run parallel to your backyard.

What would your dream backyard garden and patio look like?

My dream backyard garden and patio would include some kind of coverage and protection from the weather, as well as, some privacy. I’d like something that allowed us to be outside while protected from the mosquitos as well if I’m being honest. I’d like my outdoor living space to be an extension of our indoor living space. I’d like it to be fun, functional and comfortable but stylish.

I love the idea of globe string lights hung throughout the yard for ambiance. Perhaps some new Adirondack chairs around the fire pit. They make me nostalgic of our summers in Ogunquit and truly that is my happy place. Definitely, need a grill for cooking outdoors. I love the taste of chargrilled food in the summertime. Ample seating for those friends of mine that I plan on hosting for margaritas.

READ ALSO: Elote Casserole Recipe

If I’m really dreaming big, a hot tub with all the jets would be a great addition to our family’s yard. We all have muscle aches; between the girls and ballet and the Big Guy and I with all the old age and broken bones and whatnot, a hot tub is a must. I know a hot tub sounds ultra retro but I promise we won’t be getting any lava lamps or water beds any time soon.

Here are a few items on my wishlist to make my dream backyard garden and patio a reality.

Willingboro Solid Wood Adirondack ChairWillingboro Solid Wood Adirondack Chair // More Patio FurnitureFordyce Solid Wood Adirondack ChairFordyce Solid Wood Adirondack Chair // More Adirondack Chairs100-Light 100 ft. Globe String Lights100-Light 100 ft. Globe String Lights // More String LightsWire Free Take Me SpeakerWire Free Take Me Speaker // More Decorative Media Players
Outdoor Kitchen Prep TableOutdoor Kitchen Prep Table // More Outdoor Kitchens13.5 in. Cadet Built-In/Kamado Charcoal Grill13.5 in. Cadet Built-In/Kamado Charcoal Grill // More Charcoal GrillsKamado Grill CoverKamado Grill Cover // More Grill CoversOdilia Tropical Palms Indoor/Outdoor Area RugOdilia Tropical Palms Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug // More Area Rugs
Greening Outdoor Daybed with Ottoman & CushionsGreening Outdoor Daybed with Ottoman & Cushions // More Patio FurnitureRyele Canopy Outdoor Patio Daybed with CushionsRyele Canopy Outdoor Patio Daybed with Cushions // More Outdoor Sofas & LoveseatsNewport Circular Sun Daybed with CushionsNewport Circular Sun Daybed with Cushions // More Patio DaybedsCollingswood 3-Piece Conversation Set with CushionsCollingswood 3-Piece Conversation Set with Cushions // More Conversation Sets
Benbow 8-Piece Sofa Set with CushionsBenbow 8-Piece Sofa Set with Cushions // More Patio Lounge FurnitureVerona 11.5 ft. W x 16.5 ft. D Aluminum PergolaVerona 11.5 ft. W x 16.5 ft. D Aluminum Pergola // More Pergolas8-Person 88-Jet Spa with Stainless Jets and Waterfall8-Person 88-Jet Spa with Stainless Jets and Waterfall // More Hot TubsSpa StepSpa Step // More Hot Tub Accessories
Deluxe Spa StepDeluxe Spa Step // More Hot Tub & Spa Steps5-Person 30-Jet Spa with Backlit LED Waterfall5-Person 30-Jet Spa with Backlit LED Waterfall // More LED Lighting Hot TubsStripe Beach TowelStripe Beach Towel // More Beach TowelsMonterry Eco-Friendly Outdoor Hardwood Garden BenchMonterry Eco-Friendly Outdoor Hardwood Garden Bench // More Benches

If you could build your dream backyard garden and patio, what would that look like?

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fresh cut flowers, peonies, flowers, wayfair, spring

Where were the fresh cut flowers? Where was the sweet fragrance wafting through the air? Winter was so long this year? I am basking in the warmer temps. All I want to do is be outside surrounded by nature. I’ve brought my office outside because I am so vitamin D deprived.

One of my favorite things about spring is all the life; new growth and so much beauty. After a winter in Indiana, where everything is brown and dry, occasionally covered in dirty snow, there is nothing more welcome than sunshine, blue skies, birds singing and fresh flowers.

flowers, fresh cut flowers, mood elevator

I keep a little of the outdoors inside all year long with my orchids but at my first chance, I like to bring fresh cut flowers inside to brighten up the mood. Fresh flowers are more than just beautiful, they bring the fragrance and vibrancy of spring to life. They make you happy.

fresh cut flowers, peonies, flowers, wayfair, spring

I actually keep a flower garden outside so that I can have fresh cut flowers, all summer long.

My favorite flowers are peonies and there is something about seeing them on my table every morning that makes my heart happy. It’s funny how something so small and trivial can change your entire mood.

I can wake up feeling overwhelmed by the tasks of the day, hello laundry and dishes, the monotony of real life but somehow seeing those fresh cut peonies make an otherwise ordinary day feel special. It’s the same way that I feel when my husband surprises me with flowers. Why does that feeling need to be reserved for special occasions? Don’t we deserve to feel special every day?

fresh cut flowers, peonies, flowers, wayfair, spring

It’s like saving your favorite clothes or shoes for special occasions. Why isn’t every single day that we’re alive, that the sun is out, a special day? I want to live with more gratitude and appreciation for the small things. Life doesn’t need to be filled with momentous occasions and grandiose gestures, I just need to take a minute to see the good and the purpose in everything and be glad that I am a part of it all.

Flowers for me are such a small thing but they mean so much. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, ordinary or just uninspired with life, get yourself some fresh flowers, pop them in a cute vase and put them on a table. Before you know it, you will be a little happier, feel a little more inspired and you probably won’t even realize why. It’s the flowers feeling your heart up with joy and your house up with spring.

What’s your favorite fresh cut flower and how does it make you feel?

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Moroccan dinner party, Morocco, how to host a Moroccan dinner party, Wayfair

When I think of Morocco, I immediately think of a cacophony of flavors and cultures melding together into one amazing, vibrant and unlike any other. The beauty is everywhere from the tiles to the tapestries, the dancing, singing and deliciously in Morocco’s pairings of food.

Morocco has always been on my bucket list of travel destinations for my family, since my honeymoon in Epcot where I first tasted authentic Moroccan food at Restaurant Marrakesh. It was love at first bite and I’ve been many times since. I can’t seem to satiate my appetite for everything Moroccan.

Moroccan dinner party, Morocco, how to host a Moroccan dinner party, Wayfair

I live in the suburbs in Indiana and sadly, there are no Moroccan restaurants anywhere near where I live. So I started thinking, where there are no doors…create windows. Create all the food windows you want.

I may not be able to whisk my family away on a trip to Morocco anytime soon but I can certainly bring Morocco home to us. I’ve been wanting to experiment more with themed dinners for some time. We’ve got the themed birthday parties down, after many years of practice so why not embark on a journey of hosting dinner parties themed from different cultures and cuisines from around the world.

Luckily, my family is game for everything. We are a family of travelers and foodies. I spent my childhood summers in another country. My father is not native to this country. My children’s childhood has been infused with the spice of other cultures since they were born. We embrace differences in people, places, cultures and last (but certainly not least) food!

Our girls already have married their fond memories of belly dancing at Restaurant Marrakesh with the amazing foods they’ve eaten there on several occasions so it wasn’t too difficult to get them to embrace the idea of Moroccan food and ambiance at home. Who knows, maybe I’ll even do a little belly dancing. Probably not but you never know.

These are some of our favorite dishes:

Chicken Bastilla

Baked layers of thin pastry filled with minced chicken and almonds sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Beef Brewat Rolls

Baked layers of thin pastry stuffed with season minced beef, eggs, fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Chicken Kebabs ( The national Moroccan dish)

Couscous with Lamb Shank The national Moroccan dish – steamed tiny semolina pasta with steamed vegetables.

Bastilla 

Crispy leaves of Pastry topped with Vanilla Cream and sprinkled with Cinnamon, Powdered Sugar, and toasted almonds.

Marrakesh Express

Rum, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, topped with Dark Rum.

But to recreate an experience involves more than just recipes and food, you need ambiance; the sights, sounds, and colors of Morocco. This can easily be accomplished with a little Moroccan music playing softly in the background as the smells of Morocco permeate the entire house as you cook. You are halfway there. But how do you get the full effect; the full immersive experience? You’ve got to add that Je ne sais quoi.

I’ve found these beautiful pieces to give you that authentic Moroccan feel.

Moroccan dinner party, Morocco, how to host a Moroccan dinner party, Wayfair

Moroccan Silver Teapot

 

Moroccan dinner party, Morocco, how to host a Moroccan dinner party, WayfairMoroccan Medallion Dinnerware

 

Moroccan dinner party, Morocco, how to host a Moroccan dinner party, WayfairMoroccan Floral Cut-Out Metal Lantern

 

Moroccan dinner party, Morocco, how to host a Moroccan dinner party, WayfairFrancesca Moroccan Ivory & Light Blue Area Rug

 

Moroccan dinner party, Morocco, how to host a Moroccan dinner party, WayfairMoroccan Tunis Glasses

 

If you could travel anywhere in the entire world, where would it be? Maybe you can’t catch a plane to Casa Blanca on a whim but that doesn’t mean that we can’t experience all the beauty and flavor of Morocco via a Moroccan dinner party.

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wayfair, resolutions in decor, room makeover, How to Refresh a Room to Inspire Change

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions but I do try to set goals, aspirations. I want a clear-cut line in the sand of a life that I am working towards and that’s what I do. Every year, I take stock, pencil in a trajectory and set sail on a new year.

This year one of my goals in organization. But I don’t mean organized spice racks and alphabetized books. No, I mean clean and easy to navigate. I guess for me, organized means streamlined and minimalism. I like clean lines and fresh, crisp rooms. I want my home to be open to possibilities.

wayfair, resolutions in decor, room makeover, How to Refresh a Room to Inspire Change

For me, one of the first rooms that I want to spruce up this year is my living room. Aside from the kitchen, it’s the room on the first floor that gets the most activity. If the kitchen is the heart of our home, the living room has to be the brain. It’s the room we always use and the one that makes the first impression on our guests.

What does that mean? It means that I really want to get rid of the excess and brighten up the rooms. How am I going to do this? How can you do this? Simple.

  1. Start by getting rid of “stuff”. It’s just stuff and it just takes up space. Like the book says, if you hold it and it doesn’t bring you joy…chuck it. OK, so don’t throw it in the garbage, that’s wasteful but why not go donate it to your local homeless shelter. You’ll clean out your space while giving someone else something they need. It is win-win.
  2. My furniture is brown leather. It is beautiful and sturdy but it’s too dark. I want light colors and preferably something that doesn’t scratch up every time the dog jumps on it. She obviously thinks that she is human and it’s too late to teach her otherwise so the furniture needs to adapt. I don’t want to buy new furniture because this furniture was expensive and is still in very good shape. I’ve decided that slipcovers might be the perfect solution. They’ve come a long way since the things our parents used and they look beautiful.

wayfair, resolutions in decor, room makeover, How to Refresh a Room to Inspire Change       3. So, I’ve cleaned off the clutter and ordered some beautiful, modern slipcovers but I need to brighten up the room. My house was built in 1977 so there is a lot of dark wood, paneling, shag carpet, and wallpaper. We’ve already ripped up all the floors and put down hardwoods throughout. Next step, paint those horrible brown wood built-ins white. Done and done.

wayfair, resolutions in decor, room makeover, How to Refresh a Room to Inspire Change

4. We painted the paneling, yes I did say paneling, a soft butter color and removed the dark window treatments and replaced them with lightweight drapery to allow more sunlight into the room. We are however in the middle of changing the room to lighten it up even further and changing from the soft butter color to a silver on the walls.

wayfair, resolutions in decor, room makeover, How to Refresh a Room to Inspire Change

5. To give the room a homier feel, I would suggest adding soft, bright throw pillows and an accent pouf to give the room some movement.

wayfair, resolutions in decor, room makeover, How to Refresh a Room to Inspire Change    6. To add a touch of your own unique personality and make the room your own, I suggest adding some very personally styled art for the walls. Choose something that inspires you and makes you feel happy.

wayfair, resolutions in decor, room makeover, How to Refresh a Room to Inspire Change

7. Last but not least, a great way to make the room feel modern yet cozy is to add a light colored throw rug; something in a white, neutral or light grey will do the trick.

wayfair, resolutions in decor, room makeover, How to Refresh a Room to Inspire Change

And voila, we’ve gone from 70’s drab right into 2018 modern and chic with lots of bright sunlight. For a little extra coziness, I’m adding one of those super soft chunky yarn blankets.

wayfair, resolutions in decor, room makeover, How to Refresh a Room to Inspire Change

Now, if we can just keep those shelves clean.

What are you doing to your home that will keep you inspired to follow through on your New Year’s resolutions? Cleaned up your office? Installed mirrors in the workout room? Or maybe you organized your pantry to help keep you on a budget?

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