How to Make Inexpensive DIY Light Sconces

How to Make Inexpensive DIY Light Sconces

How to Make Inexpensive DIY Light Sconces

Check out how we turned vintage lights into functional and stylish wall sconces. Make wireless wall lamps in a few inexpensive and easy steps!

Have you ever had something super specific in your mind but it is nowhere to be found in real life?  That’s exactly how I felt about my DIY light sconces.  I knew there must be the perfect sconces out there somewhere.  I looked at the really expensive ones, the dupes, the vintage, and everywhere in between.

And then…it’s always when you least expect it…I walked around the corner at an antique mall and saw the perfect lights.


I immediately snapped this picture and sent it to my husband, who sent it on to my dad, and the back-and-forth began about how we could turn these into the perfect sconces!  They had everything I was looking for.  White, chippy, industrial feel, and true vintage.  Plus, the size couldn’t have been more perfect for the space.



After some discussion, the guys thought they could definitely figure something out and into my car they went!  I just loved them…and still love them…so much!  Isn’t it such a great feeling when you’ve hunted for months and the perfect thing comes along?!

No joke, I even had friends watching for sconces for me, whether they were working or not.  I knew with some creativity, we could turn them into DIY light sconces!


Let me just insert here: If you’re hunting for that perfect piece, don’t settle!  It will come along and it is always worth saving and waiting for.

I got lucky (or blessed!) that these DIY light sconces ended up costing hundreds less than other things I’d found.  But sometimes, you have to save up and it’s always worth the wait!

Is there that “perfect piece” you’re always hunting for?  Tell me about it in the comments! I’d love to hear because I can totally sympathize!


Now…onto the actual DIY light sconces…

How to Make DIY Light Sconces

Materials We Used:



DIY Light Sconce Step One:


Since our new sconces didn’t have a mounting plate, Robb had to re-create one.  We found an old piece of wood with enough thickness to hold the light in place. 

Once we had our piece of wood, all we had to do was decide how tall we wanted the mounting piece, and cut it to size.

Vintage DIY Light (6)
Vintage DIY Light (8)

DIY Light Sconce Step Two:


With the wood block cut to size for the wall, we next had to drill a hole to fit the metal tubing.  A 7/8″ forstner bit cut the perfect hole to keep the lamp snug in the wood mount.


DIY Light Sconce Step Three:


With both wood blocks cut & drilled, it was time to move the operation inside & start hanging stuff!  We love using french cleats for all our wall hanging projects.  If you’ve never used them before, they’re a life changer!

To use a french cleat:

  • Using a level, screw one half of the cleat into a stud or anchor.
  • Attach the other side of the cleat to the back of your wood block (or picture, or mirror, or whatever else you need to hang)
  • Rest the cleat from the back of your object on the cleat screwed into the wall–and you’re done!



Vintage DIY Light (3)
Vintage DIY Light (9)

DIY Light Sconce Step Four:


Once our sconce was mounted, we purchased these wireless puck lights.  We used heavy duty command strips to attach the lights in the sconce itself.  I love how the lights came with their own remote and various light settings!

No wires, no mess, no fuss!


Vintage DIY Light (2)
Vintage DIY Light (1)

Now that you have your DIY light sconces hung, it’s time to think about what goes under them.  I saved up and waited for the perfect piece and we absolutely love how this 10 foot apothecary balances out the large scale of the piano in our music room.

It makes amazing storage and you can read more about how I use it to store my home decor in THIS post!!

In case you’re in the market for an apothecary, I found some that are worth the wait.  Prepare to drool over these.  Just WOW!!!

Check out these gorgeous (and super functional) pieces:



A gallery wall is also a beautiful option and looks amazing when anchored between sconces.  I shared my favorite gallery wall tips and ideas on THIS post!!  DIY light sconces are a perfect choice to flank a fireplace or mantel as well.  You can find some ideas for mantel styling on THIS post.

Sconces are a great choice anytime you want to “bookend” your wall decor or add some symmetry. While my personal preference is to have asymmetrical decor for my mantel or gallery wall, the sconces add just the right amount of symmetry to balance out the rest of the wall decor.

There is something that I love about the traditional idea of sconces, also, even if you use your own unique touch by making them DIY light sconces!



I hope this gives you a little inspiration as you work on creating the perfect lighting situation for your wall.  When you’re out hunting for those vintage lights, keep in mind that there are a lot of creative ways to create your perfect DIY light sconce.  If you love the sconces and they have all the elements you need for your space, grab them!  You can tackle the DIY challenge!

While your lights may have a totally different look, I hope you’re inspired to get creative and come up with your own way to make those sconces a functional part of your decor!



I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  













Apothecaries to Milk Glass

Apothecaries to Milk Glass

Apothecaries to Milk Glass

Hello Friends!

Happy Friday! We are just really enjoying summer and I especially enjoyed the chance to go to Haven Conference last week!  What fun things have you and your family been doing?

Here is my list of favorites from this week:


Vintage Printers Cabinet


I love vintage pieces like this. They add so much functional character to any space! These pieces work great to organize all the “hard-to-sort” things and then double as decor!  This is a great find from Etsy.

Vintage Apothecary


I love apothecaries for the same reason!  So many possibilities!  Also, these pieces are easy to style! This one is from Etsy – Check it out here! (UPDATE: This cabinet sold, but you can find similar ones HERE & HERE!)

Milk Glass Pendant Light


Isn’t this just so adorable?? I love this light! S o classy!  Lighting is one of those things that can make or break a room, and if you need to update lighting, this is the perfect piece! Get it here from Target.

Gold Sconce Wall Light


Here is another beautiful lighting option. This is just so lovely and would be perfect for any room update! You can also get these from Target.

Marble Candle Holder


How cute is this candle holder?! I just love it! It would work well for tablescapes or styled on a shelf. There are two different sizes. You can find the 3″x4″ here and the 1.5″x4″ here.

Artificial Greenery


This is a beautiful piece in a lovely glass vase!  It’s a faux Kerria Japonica. Such a pretty plant!  You can get it here from Target.

Pottery Bowl


I love this bowl!  It has a vintage look to it that I really like!  It would look pretty on a kitchen counter or a coffee table. You can get it here from Target.


I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  

And that’s all!! I hope you find somethings you like! I would love to hear how you will style these things in you home! Hope your summer is going well!









The Best Crockpot Recipes for Simple Living

The Best Crockpot Recipes for Simple Living

The Best Crockpot Recipes for Simple Living

Check out these three favorite delicious crockpot recipes!  Find simple, healthy, slow cooker recipe ideas to save time this summer!

Meal planning in the summer months just seems more challenging.  Am I the only one?

I like to have a lot of flexibility so we can have some spontaneity.  And if possible, time for some extra fun and relaxation too!  Easy crockpot recipes are this mom’s best friend!


While I could enjoy a delicious summer salad (find some of my favorites HERE) for my dinner, my kiddos are always famished after a day at the beach or swimming in the pool and playing outside.  And if it happens to be a rainy summer day, like we get here in Florida, they are ready for a hearty, hot meal.

Mom, over here, is ready for a simple recipe that I can get started in the morning…so it’s ready no matter what we end up doing for the day!

Simple Crockpot Recipes to the RESCUE!!!


I don’t even have a fancy, pretty crockpot to show you in this post.  I am still using the one we received for a wedding gift…18 years ago now, believe it or not!

Good news?  These simple recipe meals taste amazing in our 18-year-old crockpot and are family favorites for all 5 of us!


Before sharing these super simple crockpot recipes with you, I should add a disclaimer.  I don’t like recipes where I have to measure or be too precise.  I also just use what I have on hand! 

But after experimenting with these crockpot recipes over the years, and knowing they are sure to be loved by our whole family, I do keep ingredients on hand! 

So feel free to use what you have on hand, add and take away flavorings that you know your family loves, but most of all, just get some inspiration to grab your crockpot and enjoy a simple dinner! Use that extra time to do something fun instead!


Easy Crockpot Taco Chicken



  • Chicken breasts
  • Black beans
  • Taco seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Garlic salt
  • Minced onion
  • Tortilla chips or flour tortilla shells
  • Shredded cheese
  • Optional: Rotel
Taco chicken recipe ingredients

I always spray my crockpot with a little bit of cooking spray before adding all of my ingredients.  It helps with the clean up and I don’t worry about stirring throughout the day to keep things from sticking on the sides!

I add two packets of the mild taco seasoning.  You can add more or less for the amount of chicken and beans you are cooking.  I generously cover the chicken with garlic powder and garlic salt. 

If I have minced onion, I usually add a little of that for flavoring.  We also like the Rotel sauce.  I get the mild so that it isn’t too hot for anyone.  One can is great for some extra flavor.

I let the chicken taco dinner slow cook through the day.  I prefer the 8 hours for any crockpot recipe, whenever possible.

Taco chicken recipe ingredients

I put the black beans in first, undrained.  I do 4 cans for our family, or 2 of the larger cans.  This is a meal that makes great leftovers, so I always make some extra! 

After putting the beans in, I add chicken breasts.  I try to always keep a bag of frozen chicken breasts on hand for easy crockpot meals.  For our family, I do 6-7 (of the large ones) so that we have enough left for a second meal. 

Of course, you’ll just add the amount of beans and chicken to suit your family!

Taco chicken recipe ingredients

The chicken will really fall apart, which I love.  We enjoy the chicken served over the beans, with a side of tortilla chips or flour shells.  You can add a variety of toppings.  My kiddos like it more simple, so I sprinkle the top with shredded cheese and if I have tomatoes, add a few of those.

It is a reasonably healthy, low-calorie, easy crockpot meal that tastes wonderful!  I also love that it uses simple ingredients that are easy to keep on hand.  It warms up really well for leftovers, so I love that too.

Taco chicken recipe ingredients

Simple Crockpot Zesty Italian Chicken



  • Chicken breasts or tenderloins
  • Baby carrots
  • Zesty Italian dressing
  • Garlic powder
  • Minced onion
  • Lemon pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Taco chicken recipe ingredients

As with all of my crockpot recipes, I start by spraying the crockpot with cooking spray.  For this recipe, I fill my crockpot about 1/5 of the way with water and then add my chicken.  This recipe works great with chicken breasts and sometimes I like to use the chicken tenderloins as well.  They are a nice size for our kids, especially.

I season the chicken before adding the carrots, as I want the seasonings to really soak in on the chicken!  I use one bottle of zesty Italian dressing over the chicken, followed by generous amounts of the garlic powder and lemon pepper.  I add a little bit of minced onion.

Taco chicken recipe ingredients

Lastly, I add the baby carrots and sprinkle them with regular salt and pepper.  All the flavorings really soak in, but I do like to give those a dash as they begin cooking.

If possible, I let this slow cook for 8 hours.  Our whole home smells AMAZING within a few hours.  It’s a great way to get everyone excited for family dinner!

Taco chicken recipe ingredients

I usually serve this with some rice or pasta, though sometimes we just add a second vegetable (which is a lot healthier anyway!). 

Any chicken that is left, I like to shred and refrigerate.  It is great to add to some chicken pasta for lunches or even a refreshing dinner!  You can find my favorite chicken pasta recipe HERE.

Taco chicken recipe ingredients

Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken


Clearly, we eat a lot of chicken around here!  But, it’s relatively inexpensive, healthy, and easy to keep on hand!


  • Chicken breasts or tenderloins
  • Baked beans
  • BBQ sauce (we like the honey BBQ, but you can substitute this with your favorite BBQ flavoring)
  • Garlic powder
  • Lemon pepper
  • Minced onion (or finely chop up a fresh onion if you have one on hand)
Taco chicken recipe ingredients

First thing I do?  You got it!

After spraying my crockpot with cooking spray, I add the baked beans.  I prefer the Bush’s brand, but that is just personal preference.  Next, I add the chicken breasts or tenderloins and BBQ sauce.  Usually, I use a whole bottle for the amount of chicken and beans I am cooking.

I generously top it all with garlic powder, a little lemon pepper, and a bit of minced onion.  After a couple of hours, your whole family will be asking “How long until dinner?!” 

Or if we are gone for the day, I always look forward to being greeted with that welcoming aroma of dinner cooking!

Taco chicken recipe ingredients

We enjoy this dinner served with steam fresh sweet corn or fresh corn on the cob.

Again, a healthy meal choice that is filling!  Shredding the leftover chicken and using it for BBQ chicken sandwiches for lunches or a second dinner is another win for a busy day!

Taco chicken recipe ingredients

I know these are all extremely simple and you’ll notice repeated ingredients.  My preference is  to not keep a huge stock of food and ingredients and since I know these are my go-to flavorings, it keeps me from having a lot of stuff that gets wasted! 

You won’t find gourmet cooking going on around here, but at the end of the day, a simple recipe that our whole family enjoys is always a win!

I’m linking up some more crock pot inspiration from some of my blogging friends!  There are so many mouth-watering, easy, slow cooker recipes here.  I can’t wait to try them myself!!!

These recipes from My Home and Travels  look amazing and I love the breakfast ideas.  Perfect with school starting next month!

Ahhhh.  Simple, staple recipes are the best for those on-the-go days!  This one from Exquisitely Unremarkable looks amazing.  I can smell it through my computer, I think!

My Family Thyme posted this slow cooker chili recipe!  Save it for fall!!!

The ultimate comfort food in this crockpot recipe from Zucchini Sisters.  Don’t miss this one either!

I love a good chowder!  This crockpot chowder recipe is going to be a must-try for me!  Check it out from Karin’s Kottage.

Who does Taco Tuesday?  Here is a new spin on it from Back Porch Bliss!

This easy slow cooker turkey chili is another delicious looking option to tuck back for fall (though chili is perfect for a rainy summer night too!) Love the healthy, easy option of this recipe from Cottage on Bunker Hill!

Enjoy!  And most of all, I hope by falling back on a simple crockpot recipe, you’ll have a little extra time to spend with the people you love the most!

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  











Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Hello Friends!

What a crazy, fun, exciting summer this has been for our family! We have had some great adventures!

This week, I have some summer neutral home decor I am so excited to share with you!  I love this week’s roundup of Friday Favorites. Hope you enjoy this list!


Striped Linen Blend Tablecloth


Tablescapes are one of my favorite things to create and the base of a good tablescape is a great tablecloth. I love this beautiful linen find from H&M. It would just be so lovely for a summer tablescape. You can get it here from H&M.

Striped Cotton Cushion Cover


More stripes! But how cute is this cushion cover? I think it would look great on a porch decorated for summer or in a cozy living room. These neutral colors are so lovely and simple. Check it out here from H&M.

Gray Ceramic Vase


Fresh flowers and greenery are two of my favorite decor staples, and every bouquet needs a nice vase! This vase is simple and lovely! You could even use it by itself on a styled shelf or vignette. Get it here from Target.

Artificial Olive Wreath


I love this real looking wreath! Just the perfect summer greenery! It’s pretty and simple. A great staple piece to add to your decor!  It would be cute styled on a door for a summer porch decor look or hanging in your home! You can get it here from Target.



How cute is this ottoman? What a great small piece of furniture that would look great in almost any room. I like how this adds a cozy feel and texture without being too loud. A great neutral piece! You can get it here from Target.

Artificial Olive Tree


This tree is just so cute! It’s the perfect thing to add some greenery in your home. This tree has been all over Instagram and I have enjoyed seeing how different people have styled it. How would you style it in your home? I love how simple it is, but still a great statement piece! Get it here from Target.

Metal Ladder


I just love this gold ladder! How cute is this? It would be so cute to hang and display blankets in a living room or bedroom. What room of your house would you put it in?  Snag it here from Target.


That’s all for this week! What are you going to get? What are you up to this summer? I would love to hear from you!

Hope you have the best week!



16 Road Trip Essentials, Tips, and Tricks

16 Road Trip Essentials, Tips, and Tricks

16 Road Trip Essentials, Tips, and Tricks

There are lots of super cool road trip people out there.  The free-spirited ones who just take off and see as many things as they can.  Then there is our family. 

We aren’t super cool and I would break out in hives without a planBUT, after 10+ years of road tripping as a family, we’ve learned a few things along the way and I thought I would share them with you.


Road Trip Essential #1


Grace upon grace.

This begins LONG before the car is loaded, long before the first kiddo asks how much longer, and long before you realize the first five things you need…and forgot.

I am all about a good plan.  Literally, I thrive under plans and structure.  Pretty sure that makes me kind of boring, but it’s just the honest truth!  But I have learned…and am still learning…to begin the road trip knowing some of our plans will fall through, some of them won’t be picture perfect, and some of them will be disappointing.  I’ve also learned that the unexpected plans often turn out to be incredible blessings.

Most of the time.  There was that twisty mountain road when Payton was a baby and I was expecting Addy (and already dealing with major pregnancy sickness)…that was NOT a blessing.  It was actually a miracle that we survived.  We don’t even laugh about it 12 years later.  It was SO BAD!!!

Now that you’re totally discouraged from ever taking a road trip…let me offer you the good news.  Only that one time in all these years have I truly wondered if we would make it.  Haha!  You’ll be just fine!

So grace.  Grace for your family who isn’t as organized as you’d like them to be.  Grace for the kiddos who drag out everything you just packed.  Grace for the family member who tells you the night before that one of their flip flops is missing.  Grace for yourself as you try to remember every single thing for every single person.  Grace!

Road Trip Essential #2


Set up an account with Priceline if you don’t already have one.  This is not sponsored in any way.  Just a friendly tip after years of success with the app.  We do not stress about booking accommodations in advance (for the road trip portion, I mean.  If we have a final destination, we like to have that well-planned out!).

It is very stressful to know you HAVE to get to Point A because you’ve already paid for it…but a kiddo is off the wall and you really want to stop an hour earlier.  Or, you get a burst of energy and want to get a couple more hours under your belt. 

We also save considerable money on lodging by using the Priceline app.  There are different types of things like that out there; this is the one we have found to be the most helpful and are familiar with now

Road Trip Essential #3


Packing.  Ugh.  I do NOT ENJOY PACKING!  But, I have learned a couple of things that really help…especially if you’re pulling into a hotel late at night when everyone is tired and you’re practically carrying the entire family into the hotel.

It is very stressful to know you HAVE to get to Point A because you’ve already paid for it…but a kiddo is off the wall and you really want to stop an hour earlier.  Or, you get a burst of energy and want to get a couple more hours under your belt. 

We also save considerable money on lodging by using the Priceline app.  There are different types of things like that out there; this is the one we have found to be the most helpful and are familiar with now

I use these zippered bagsThey come in sets with different sizes.  I have packed them different ways.  But the current method that seems to be working well is that each kiddo has one of the smaller bags with their undergarments and pjs.  They keep these in their backpacks (we will talk about those later on!).

I use one of the larger zippered bags and put an outfit for each of us.  I label them with painter’s tape.  Now don’t laugh!!!  I keep them all in the suitcase and then when we get to the hotel, I can just pull out the zippered bag that we need for that next day and toss it into my travel bag.  I try to keep the haul in and out of the hotel as minimal as possible!

What about shoes?  I usually only pack a couple pairs of shoes for each person.  Whatever easy slip ons they wear in the car are something that can go with almost any outfit.  Easy breezy.


These zippered bag sets are life savers.  I originally purchased them for our Disney cruise a few years ago but they have become a staple for our road trip packing!

There you have it.  We are only on #3 and you’re thinking, “She. Is. Over. The. Top.”  But I already told you we weren’t those cool people that could just wing it all!!!  Haha!

Road Trip Essential #4


Let’s make this one a little less structured.  Really, this should probably be the first essential but I told you these are just in super random order.


Unless you are road tripping for weeks and weeks, or you have very specific health and dietary needs…let’s just relax about the snacks.  In fact, I got so tired of hearing myself monitor the snacks that I decided we had to have a better system.  So here’s what we do (what WE do, not what everyone will choose to do.)

Step One to road trip snacks

I go shopping and only buy snacks that I know my kids and husband will eat.  This is not the time to try new things or decide that we are going to be super healthy.  I buy only the pre-packaged items and I do not buy snacks that are extra messy.  Out of experience, I can say that while pringles are yummy, they are SUPER MESSY for younger children! 

I bring them home, set everything out on the kitchen island, and move on to step two.

Step Two to road trip snacks

I hand each kiddo a gallon size zip lock bag.  Depending on the length of the trip, etc., I determine how many snacks they get to choose.  If we are traveling all day, I usually say 5-6.  Do they usually eat 6 snacks in a day?  Of course not.  Do I want them to be happy, content, and feel like they are getting a major treat?  Absolutely!

They choose their allotted snacks, zip up the bag, and that goes into their backpack.

Step Three to road trip snacks

They are not allowed to ask me for a snack.  If they want a snack, they get it from their bag.  If they eat all their snacks before lunch (one of mine will…every single time), fine.  They know they will not refill their snack bags until the next day.  One of my kiddos will maybe only eat one snack the entire day because “they might need them later”. 

They are happy and I’m happy.  No fuss!

Because I know someone will ask…Robb gets his own snacks and I wouldn’t dare try to say how many and when they should be eaten. (Where is the laughing emoji?!?!)

I pack a tote full of snacks that goes in the back of the SUV but can be accessed to refill the next day!

By the way, I always pack a box of large zip locks.  They have come in handy for all manner of things!

Road Trip Essential #5


Get yourself a cute travel bag!  I’ve used different ones over the years (I kind of have a bag problem!) but my current favorite is this one.  It is super cute, has enough structure that it isn’t falling all over the place, and holds a decent amount of necessary items (including space for the gray zippered bag with everyone’s clothes!).  I keep this by my feet and only keep things in it that I need access to for the trip.

Trust me, when you are schlepping in and out of hotels, it helps to feel like you at least look a tiny bit put together!!!

Road Trip Essential #6


We just completed our first road trip with this gadget and I won’t leave home without it now!  This air vent pocket holder is the best thing since sliced bread! 

I got one for both the driver and passenger sides.  They kept our phones, wallets, and little essentials from falling all over the place.  I wasn’t constantly digging through my travel bag for cash at every gas station!  They are inexpensive and I promise you’ll love it!

Road Trip Essential #7


Kids’ backpacks!!!  By the time we get to our summer road trip, every kiddo has an empty backpack from the school year.  We pull them out and use them for their travel bags.  I love that they hold a lot, can zip up, and the kids can easily carry them on their backs…themselves.

What goes in their backpack?

  • Snack bag
  • Zippered bag with pjs and undergarments
  • Small toiletry bag
  • Electronic device and charger
  • Water bottle
  • Camera, small toy, notebooks, etc.

Since our kids are getting a little older, they are responsible for packing these items not only before the trip, but at each stop as well.  It’s a great chance to teach responsibility in a very reasonable, age-appropriate way!

Road Trip Essential #8


Need I say more?!  Our road trips typically are not for the purpose of antiquing and shopping (because let’s be honest, we don’t have space for much!) but if we know we are going to have some spare time, I like to jump on this site and see what might be around the area we are in.  We’ve found some really amazing places…some really interesting places…and some total fails too.  But you never know if you don’t try!

Road Trip Essential #8


This is another must have that’s under $10Headrest hooks!  They work for everything from hanging a plastic bag for trash to the kids’ backpacks to getting travel blankets off the floor.  These are pretty sturdy and for the quality and function, you can’t go wrong!  Do yourself a favor!!!

These would also be great for just everyday use to hang grocery bags or tote bags!

Road Trip Essential #10




Because face it, 20 questions might get us to the interstate.

Our kids are a little older now and over the years, we have collected an assortment of electronics.  Our SUV also has a DVD player, so we try to pick up a couple of new movies for a long road trip. 

The library is also a great source for free DVDs!  If your vehicle doesn’t have a DVD player, this holder  is great for keeping your IPad up high and in the middle so all the kiddos’ can see!

I also tried to have a few different quiet activities like this for some creative fun (but non-messy and doesn’t require a lot of parts and pieces!)

Little car games like this can also be great to fill some time and give everyone a break from screen time!

When I was a kid, we used to keep track of all the license plates we could see and this is a fun way for the kids to have a great visual and a little competitive fun!  Or maybe it could be parents against the kids?

Road Trip Essential #11


Highly-functional toiletry bag.

I am clueless why it took me so long to spend $19 on something that works so well, but I LOVE this toiletry bag.  It holds a ton of stuff in different compartments (love that make up brushes aren’t rubbing against things and if there are little spills, EVERYTHING doesn’t get damp!  Plus, it coordinates with my Escape bag, so of course that little detail makes me happy!

When I saw the matching little zippered bags, I asked for this for my birthday because, well, every travel bag needs little zippered bags and I love that these match!

Convenience cannot be rated highly enough for road tripping!  I find that I have my own business organized and coordinated, it’s a little easier to deal with all the kiddos’ things (which have likely become much less organized by this point. Ha!)

Road Trip Essential #12


I’m writing this into the blog post because it is SO basic.  Too basic, apparently, because I inevitably forget half the time!

Save up some grocery bags for a couple weeks before your trip.  The “travel trash cans” you can buy look nice, but I really don’t want to actually clean them out.  A plastic bag hanging on one of the headrest hooks does the trick perfectly!  Maybe by writing this, I’ll actually remember for next time!  Ha!

Road Trip Essential #13


Let’s chat quickly about souvenirs.  Does anyone else find that the little trinkets and souvenirs can end up consuming the vacation budget?!


We started a fun tradition long before we even had kids and I’m so thankful for it!  We try to pick up a Christmas ornament from stops along our road trips and vacations.  It’s usually a pretty inexpensive investment that gives us YEARS of memories!  If we are passing through a new state, we try to find something there as well.  Even cheap gas station keychains can sometimes end up being great little ornaments!

I always choose something in neutral tones or metal so that no matter how we decorate our tree, it will always be a pretty addition.  When Christmas rolls around, it is so fun to decorate our tree together and talk about all the fun trips and memories!

Our kids each have certain kinds of things they like to collect for their souvenirs.  For Payton, it is stickers for her water bottles, Addy loves keychains, and Harrison likes magnets and postcards to put on the metal cabinet in his room. 

We give them each some spending money at the beginning of the trip and they get to learn lessons about managing their money and being responsible for it along the way!  These simple little souvenirs help everyone feel like they “got something fun” and don’t break the bank!

Road Trip Essential #14


Tide to Go pens and wipes.  Enough said.

Road Trip Essential #15


I also ordered this for our trip this year, after searching for a better hand sanitizer solution for the car.  To be honest, we need the cup holder space, so the hand sanitizer kept getting moved, then the top would pop off, etc., etc. 

This suction cup holder makes it easy for the kids to grab a squirt as they get in the car, no one is losing their personal bottle, and Mom feels a little better about the rest area stops.

Inexpensive, but worked really well and fits most hand sanitizer bottles, so you can still use whatever your favorite brand may be.

Road Trip Essential #16



A long road trip in uncomfortable clothes is literally unbearable.  This is my favorite kind of travel outfit.  It doesn’t wrinkle, doesn’t show spills or stains, and looks reasonably put together whenever we want to make stops.


You never know when the perfect road trip picture spot will come along!  It is cute with flip flops for the car and when you get to your destination, you can dress it up with some wedge sandals and a denim jacket!


This isn’t your typical road trip essentials list, perhaps, but hopefully a few of my favorites that I’ve tested and proven true over the years will help YOUR road trip to be a little more comfortable!

Now…where has your favorite road trip taken you?  Any favorite traveling tips?




Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Hello Friends!

Another wonderful week of summer!! I am with my kiddos in Oklahoma and having a blast at camp!  I still wanted to share some of my favorite finds from this week. I have a mix of home decor and fashion items lined up for you today. Hope you find something you like!


Blue Floral Dress


This is just the perfect summer dress! I would probably style it with a jean jacket and a jute purse. Add some sandals and you are good to go with an adorable summer outfit!  You can get it here from H&M.

Jute Beach Tote


Speaking of a jute bag, this one is perfect! I love the adorable tassels. This is another great item from H&M. I think you will love it and could use it in so many different ways! How would you style it? Get one from H&M here.

Braided Rope Slides


I love these!  They would also go great with the floral dress! These are the perfect slides for vacation or just a day on the town! What would you wear them with? Get a pair here from H&M and let me know!

Round Woven Placemats


I love these! Many of you know that I try to do a new tablescape each week. These are great placemats for summer! I love the look! I can think of so many ways I could use these on a tablescape! This is another great find from H&M that you can get here.

Artificial Kerria Japonica


This is a lovely artificial plant in a beautiful vase! I think this could also work well on a tablescape or would be good on a summer mantel. How would you style this in your home? You can get it here from the Studio McGee collection at Target.

Ironstone Pitcher


Ironstone is just my favorite! I have a small collection and love finding pieces like this! This one is from Etsy, so if you want it, grab it quick! I know it would look great with some pretty summer wild flowers in the center of a table!

Ruffle Trimmed Bedspread


This is just such an adorable bedding set! Summer is a great time to do a room refresh. If you are looking for a beautiful and light weight comforter, this is it! It’s made from a woven cotton fabric and is just so very cozy!


That’s all for this week! What are you going to get? What are you up to this summer? I would love to hear from you! Hope you have a great week!

How to Make an Easily Personalized Beach Bag

How to Make an Easily Personalized Beach Bag

How to Make an Easily Personalized Beach Bag

I’ll admit.  As much as I personally love the beach, it has only been the last few years that we have truly and actually enjoyed it as a family.  It is so much more relaxing now that my kids are old enough to be more independent, no one needs an afternoon nap, they can help carry stuff, etc.!

Organizational Problem


But, we’ve had a little problem that finally became a really big problem this summer.  All the kids have snorkels and goggles, which is perfect for beach fun.  However, on the second trip of the season, when they realized the gear was all mixed up (and some were rightfully not thrilled about sharing snorkels!), I very quickly became weary of the…let’s say….”discussion”.  We decided to turn it into a fun, summer, DIY project!

Whether your gear is beach related, or for sports, travel, toys, or organization, I this beach bag DIY could help you solve a problem too!

Beach Bag Organizing Solution


We pulled out our Cricut Explore Air 2 for a fun beach bag DIY.  Now, we have only scratched the surface with all the fun things we can make with the Cricut, but it is SO fun!  I found these mesh bags on Amazon and they are literally the perfect beach backpacks!


I wanted the mesh so that water and sand could drain and dry easily.  I love that the straps are adjustable, which works for even the youngest kiddo.  I also love the drawstring pouch for a water bottle and the outside zippered pouch for goggles and sunglasses.  This particular bag also has a little zipper pocket on the inside.  Perfect for keys, cash, card, etc.!

To make sure that no one gets their bag and gear mixed up…and to have some fun…we used the Cricut to add names to our DIY project.  The kids picked their font and helped me make them, so the DIY was part of their fun too!

I love that they can use these bags for a lot more than just the beach.  Even a good overnight bag for weekend trips or to contain all of their things for road trips!


Here’s how we did it:

Materials Needed for DIY Beach Bag


Process for DIY Beach Bag


Step One: Design the text


First of all, each of the kids looked through the Cricut Design Space fonts and chose the one they wanted.  I measured the flat part of the DIY Mesh Backpack and adjusted the names to fit that space.  I love that the Cricut Design Space makes it so simple to get the dimensions right and that I can do it right from my phone!

Cricut Beach Bags (2)
Cricut Beach Bags (3)

Step Two: Cut the iron-on vinyl


To get the vinyl cut, you’ll want to lay it on the Cricut mat SHINY SIDE DOWN!  (I say that because I did not pay attention the first time and wasted a section of my vinyl! See Below!). Double check to make sure that your text is MIRROR IMAGED within the Cricut Design Space.  It must be mirrored for the iron-on.

Next, load the Cricut mat and let it do its thing!

Cricut Beach Bags (5)
Cricut Beach Bags (6)

Step Three:  Weed the vinyl


Carefully and slowly weed the backing from the vinyl.  I like to cut around the text first so that I can use the rest of the vinyl for another project.  Make sure to weed out all of the little parts too, like the circle out of an “O”, etc.

Step Four:  Press on the Text


You can use an iron, but I am really glad I got the Cricut Heat Press.  It makes it easy to make sure I am on the correct heat setting for whatever material I’m using. I also really like the timer function.  Plus, I can press on the whole text at once with the large field of the heat press.

Look up the Cricut Heat Guide to find out what heat setting your material needs.  A quick google search can help you too!  This Cricut Heat Guide will also tell you exactly how long to use the press for your project.

For the bags we used, we did 30 seconds at 340 degrees on the front and then flipped it over and did 15 seconds from the underneath. 

It was really nice to not be trying to guess at this process, so the Cricut Heat Press was extremely useful and worth the investment if you plan to do a lot of iron-on projects (which we have already done just this summer!)

Step Four:  Wait until the transfer is cool to the touch, then slowly peel off!



Organizing Your DIY Beach Bag


I thought it would be fun to treat the kids with a fresh supply of beach gear and toys.  A Walmart, Target, and Dollar Tree run helped me restock their favorites for a budget-friendly price.  Here are the things I got for their bags:

Other Fun Cricut DIY Projects


So far, we have personalized canvas tote bags for gifts, a cute, straw beach hat (also for a gift), plastic tumblers to use around the house this summer so everyone isn’t get their cups mixed up, small drawstring bags to carry snacks, drinks, etc. for summer camp, and cards for birthdays and Father’s Day!

We are beginners with our Cricut but are already having so much fun!!!  I can’t wait to use it for projects in my classroom this fall and the kids have lists of things they want to personalize for their school supplies too!

And then my brain is making lists of all the fun things we can make for the holidays too!  It’s going to be so fun and hopefully by then, we will have learned many more techniques and uses for our Cricut!

I am linking up some great summer DIY project suggestions and ideas from some of my blogging friends for even more inspiration! 

Check these out:


Have fun creating!




Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Hello Friends!

            It’s my birthday! So this week, I am sharing my most favorite thing right now – French Zinc Decor. I absolutely love the look of these pieces! Most in this list are on Etsy, so if you like them, get them quick! I would love to see how you  style French Zinc in your home!


French Zinc Pitcher


How adorable is this pitcher? I absolutely love it! So many ways it could be styled in so many rooms!  I would love to add some pretty flowers and set it in the center of a summer tablescape. How would you style it?

Antique French Water Scoop


This is the perfect summer piece! This would be cute in a French styled shelf with other vintage items and a few touches of greenery. I just love this little piece!  You can get it here.

Zinc Cabaret Plates


These are so unique! Each plates has the names of different dances from a cabaret guinguette! So many of you love my vintage signs, and these are a great vintage french version!  Get them from Etsy here,

French Zinc Bucket


Buckets are great styling pieces because they are so versatile! You can use this cute zinc bucket in so many ways!  It also makes a great planter!!  Find it on Etsy.

French Zinc Tray


This Etsy listing suggest it would work well in a coffee bar, and I agree! This would be such an adorable piece to add to a French vintage kitchen or coffee bar!  You can find it here on Etsy

French Bottle Dryer


I love the practically of this piece!  Just like the tray, it could be used in a coffee bar or kitchen to hang or store mugs. Another piece that can be found on Etsy.

Zinc Tags


How adorable are these! These would be so cute tied around a planter or a vase. The description says they are actually hotel room number key fobs. So fun!! Check them out here!

Zinc Apothecary Chest


This may be the largest splurge item I have ever shared with you! But I just had to include it in this list. It’s beautiful and the styling possibilities are endless!!  Check it out here on Etsy and let me know if you think it’s worth the splurge! Would love to see it go to one of my sweet readers!

Thanks for reading the blog today and letting me share my favorites from this week! It was fun to share all my French Zinc favorites. Hope your summer is going well! Have a great weekend!

Patriotic Vintage Decor Made Simple and Easy

Patriotic Vintage Decor Made Simple and Easy

Patriotic Vintage Decor Made Simple and Easy

Simple ideas to transform your home in a patriotic vintage style this summer. Check out my home tour for lots of ideas!
I LOVE the Fourth of July

I love the significance of the day, I love the fireworks, the excuse for extra yummy food, the gathering of friends and family, the rich and meaningful colors of our flag, the feeling of people uniting behind something they believe in, the music, the relaxed atmosphere…I love it all.

I even love the outfits!  It’s one of those few days of the year that I can coordinate our family without anyone wondering why??? Haha!  You can click HERE to find some outfits that I pulled together for the entire family for the Fourth of July this year!

And even though I am known for using neutral (or very muted) colors in my décor…almost solely…the Fourth of July is the one season where you’ll find me adding color and LOVING it!  With the exception of the bedrooms and bathrooms, I add some patriotic touches all throughout our home.

If you’re needing some last minute ideas, you can find several ways to decorate your home for the Fourth of July for under $5 and in less than 5 minutes HERE.  I think almost everyone has $5 and 5 minutes between now and Sunday, so you’re safe!

Come on in and tour our patriotic home.  We could have a pretty epic party if you all came in person, but since that would be maybe a little too epic, hopefully an overload of pictures will do the trick!

Patriotic Vintage Front Porch Fourth of July Décor


In general, I keep our exterior décor pretty simple.  Our Florida sun and rain (especially in the summer) isn’t friendly to most décor! I still like to find inexpensive, simple ways to add some festive touches.  These outdoor flag buntings work perfectly.  We are using them for the second year in a row and they still look good!  I linked a couple of other styles and sizes HERE and HERE.

I keep my everyday outdoor pillows  out all year around and just add little accessories.  These pillows have been out here for a few years now and still look great!  I clean them a few times a year with this outdoor fabric cleaner

This year, I found these small, 2 foot flag buntings at the Dollar Tree.  I grabbed several of them and found that they made fun outdoor décor too!  I know they won’t last past this summer, but for $1, you can’t really go wrong!  I used jute twine  to attach them to the porch swings.  Layered with the pillows, they really pop and I love the way they look, even when I’m just pulling in my driveway!

I used some small pieces of tape to attach one to each of our front doors as well!  The flag buntings are just overall cheerful and inviting and I do love how they tie in with the large buntings on the pergola too!

Outdoor Patriotic Tablescape


I had fun putting together a simple “sweet tea” party under the pergola.  A simple addition of some flags to my cement swan planter and a vintage French grain sack with a blue stripe set the stage. 

 I added some cute drinking glasses that say “Harrison’s Sandwiches”.  Unfortunately, I’ve had those for many years and can’t link them.  They were a fun combination with a vintage cutting board , vintage bottle, glass carafe, and ironstone saucers.   A little bowl of red cherries added one more nod to the red, white, and blue!

When setting patriotic tablescapes, I often use food as part of my décor!  You can see some patriotic cupcakes (that were DELICIOUS) HERE and an easy way to make out-of-the-box brownies look festive and fun HERE.

Consider using your patriotic-themed desserts and side dishes to help your tablescape look festive without having to purchase a lot of décor!

And definitely don’t underestimate the value of some cute disposable dishes for your Fourth of July get-together too!

Patriotic Vintage Entryway Decor

I only added two elements to my summer entryway to give it a festive, patriotic flair!  You can find out a lot more detail about my summer entryway HERE and for the Fourth of July, I added a couple of vintage favorites!

I tucked three vintage American flags into a cute straw bag, sitting on the bench.  I found these vintage, 48-star flags on our summer adventure to Alaska!  That was a fun find, especially since Alaska is the 49th state to be added to the Union.  Alaska doesn’t have a treasure trove of vintage and antiques, as everything that makes it’s way there is done so very intentionally and people don’t usually take a lot of “extra”.  It was fun to think about how these three 48-star flags made it all the way to the 49th state!

Even if you don’t have vintage flags, you can still add a really great patriotic look in this simple way.  Pick up a few flags and add them to baskets, bags, planters, and pots.  It’s a perfect way to make things feel festive without having to change any of your regular décor!

In the entryway, I also added one of my favorite vintage finds.  We spotted this framed newspaper article at an antique shop.  I couldn’t pass up the $25 piece of history and I love the Wednesday, August 15th, 1945 date to accompany the “Peace At Last” headline!

Next time you’re strolling through an antique mall, keep an eye out for historical elements that you can add to your seasonal décor.  They are great conversation pieces. I love that we get to proudly display this piece of history in our own home over 75 years later!

Patriotic Vintage Living Room


In our family room, I took about 10 minutes and added a few more flags!

One of my favorite ways to add flags to my regular summer décor is to criss-cross them in a planter.  If you’re lucky and patient enough to hunt for vintage ones, I love the look they have.  You can find some online to purchase HERE and HERE.

You can also buy the inexpensive packs of little flags and tea-stain them.  This makes a fun, summertime DIY!  I don’t even bother to tea-stain them though.  Remember…I’m all about quick and simple patriotic décor!  Either way, they look great, are super budget-friendly, and add a fun look to your Fourth of July décor!

The other thing I added in the family room is a large, vintage flag on our mantel.  I found this flag at an antique mall many years ago.  I love that it is a 48-star flag (though a 46-star flag is always on my hunting list). 

To add a more casual look, I off-centered the flag, tucking the stars side under a vintage architectural piece with chippy blue-gray paint and tucked the other side under a vintage ironstone jelly mold with a plant.  I left the right side of it hanging lower.  A little different, but I love the relaxed look of it!

Patriotic Vintage Music Room


I love this little sitting area in our music room and it is always so fun to decorate for the seasons!  This is probably the most heavily decorated room for the Fourth of July, because I was just having so much fun with it.  But in reality, it only took six flags to get this look! 

I tucked two small flags into my thrifted shell planter and a third small flag into a little ironstone planter.  Using two larger flags, I tucked those in with some fresh branches in my large, vintage French grape hod.  It’s such a fun piece to decorate and I love that no matter the season, it makes a big statement with the large branches.

To finish this space, I added a large, 48-star flag.  We found this vintage flag last fall at a big antiques market and if you can believe it, only paid $75 for it!  I love the old wool, the stamping along the side, and the hand-stitched stars.  It definitely has loads of character and I know we will hang it proudly in our home for years and years and years to come!

Patriotic Vintage Kitchen


If we were going to be entertaining for the Fourth of July this year, I would have added more décor in the kitchen.  Since we will be traveling, I kept it simple by adding two medium-sized flags to an arrangement of fresh greenery from my yard.

The kitchen is a great spot to display dishes and entertaining pieces that have red, white, and blue!  I’ve linked up a few favorites HERE, HERE, and HERE.

I’ll close out my Patriotic Home Tour with a couple of my favorite quotes:


“True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth…”

-Eleanor Roosevelt


“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”

-Peter Marshall


Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy, and happy Fourth of July!  Thanks for visiting our home today!



Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Hello Friends!

Happy Friday! Today, I wanted to share some of my summer vintage favorites. There are so many vintage items you can use year round, but here are some that I think go really well with summer decor.

I hope you enjoy these summer finds! Let me know if you get any of them and how you style them in your house. It’s so fun to share the things we love. Thanks for letting me share with you!

Vintage Cloche


I love these glass beauties! This one from Etsy is so lovely! I can envision it with maybe a starfish or seashells. You could add anything that matched your summer decor for an easy vintage look.  I love the adorable chippy-paint base that’s paired with it!  Let me know if you are the lucky one to grab it!

White Chippy Architectural Salvage Pieces


I love architectural salvage pieces! You can find them at vintage markets, antique stores, or Etsy. This one from Etsy is so pretty! I love the look of the crisp white paint. It’s the perfect small piece to add to a mantel or shelf for summer styling! Definitely a vintage decor staple!

Turkish Pillow Cover


One great way to make your home your own is by adding unique texture in your decor. I love the way this pillow looks! It has that cozy vintage look to it that would be perfect for a space styled for summer! You can get it here from Etsy.



I found these on Etsy and just had to add them to this list!  How cute are they? The perfect architectural salvage piece for summer! These would be perfect for a summer mantel! How would you style this pair of chippy white balusters?

Sea Sponge Vase


I have used sea sponges and coral a lot this year in my summer decor.  I enjoy creating a coastal farmhouse look in our south Florida home during summer time. These are the perfect touch! This sponge I found on Etsy is actually a vase! Wouldn’t it look great on a shelf with some beautiful summer blooms? Grab it here on Etsy!

Mortar & Pestle


I love little vintage mortar and pestle sets. This one is beautiful stoneware with three mortars and two pestles!  This set is so versatile. You can use them in so many different rooms in your home and style them in lots of ways! How would you style this set?

Palm Leaf


In South Florida, I just cut these off trees in my backyard. But if you don’t live near palm trees, this is a great option for your summer decor! I love how real these look!  Get them here!

Can I just say I’m so glad you are here! Thanks for reading the blog today and letting me share my finds with you!




How to Decorate a Beautiful Coffee Table in 4 Easy Steps

How to Decorate a Beautiful Coffee Table in 4 Easy Steps

How to Decorate a Beautiful Coffee Table in 4 Easy Steps

Have you ever wanted to switch up your décor…without changing the entire room?  Or have you ever tried to decorate something and just got so frustrated that you gave up and left it the same…again?


I hope you answered yes so I’m not alone in this!!!


Especially in our fast-paced culture with the world at our fingertips, we can easily catch the feeling that we should always be making big changes, doing the next best thing, renovating, improving, even house shopping every few years…you name it.  While I love a good project, I am a huge fan of small, simple changes that help us continue loving our own homes, as imperfect as they are.



If you’ve been around for awhile, you have probably heard me talk about this before.  If you are new, (welcome!) and hopefully you’ll quickly find out that I am really passionate about HOME.  But if you’re at all like me, I can get a little tired of looking at the same thing over and over.  Before I know it, I can have myself talked into “maybe we should just look for a “better” home”, when all I really need is to just fall in love again with the home I have.


It’s kind of like marriage…dating your spouse is a real thing!  We are coming up on our 18th wedding anniversary and I’m pretty sure that my hubby “gets tired of seeing the same thing” sometimes.  But you stick with it…you find ways to continue falling in love…right?


But I digress.  Haha!

So what does that have to do with coffee table styling?  Well, sometimes just a simple switch of your coffee table arrangement can help the entire room feel fresh, give you something new to look at, and you might just love that room again!


While I am also a big fan of the concept that home décor should be whatever YOU want it to be for YOUR home, I also understand that sometimes we want to refresh things a little but feel stuck.  My goal for this blog post is to give you the basic tips and ideas for coffee table styling…some rules of thumb, so to speak…and then let you fill in the blanks with what makes you smile!


So let’s get started!

Four Essential Elements of Coffee Table Styling

  • Base
  • Tall item
  • Medium item
  • Shorter object


Let’s break this down into details so that you can start hunting for pieces that will definitely work for your coffee table vignette!


Coffee Table Styling Essential #1


  • Choose a base


This could be a basket, tray, cutting board, large book, crate, dough bowl, or any other piece you might want to use as the foundation for your coffee table vignette.  My coffee tables are both quite large, but you’ll want to choose a scale that feels right for your coffee table.  I like to think of my base as being about one third to one half of the table size.


Having a base for your vignette helps the décor feel grounded and intentional.  I also love the practical reasons of making it easier to move around for cleaning and especially to slide it over for playing family games!  Your home décor should always feel like it enhances your family life, not be in the way of it.


My favorite bases for coffee table vignette styling are vintage cutting boards.  I love that they add a lot of character and patina to my décor.  They are also flat, easy to maneuver, and easy to store.  You can even store them in plain sight by stacking them, leaning them in a corner, or against your kitchen backsplash!


Another thing to keep in mind when choosing your coffee table vignette base is to choose something that contrasts with your coffee table.  If you have a wood-toned coffee table, consider a base that is either an opposite, yet complementary, wood tone or perhaps white or metal.  My family room coffee table is wood with chippy white paint, so with a table like that, you can really use woods or whites!  The important thing is to have a bit of contrast so that it doesn’t seem like you were trying too hard to make them “match”.


Have fun with your coffee table vignette base!  Consider investing in a vintage piece that you really love and that can be used year-round in your décor.  By doing this, you’re sure to love the styling much more for a longer period of time, have less “extra décor” to store away, and can easily switch the smaller décor items that go on the base.


Coffee Table Styling Essential #2


  • Choose your tallest item.


Lanterns, buckets, vintage vessels, and tall vases are all natural choices for the first item you’ll choose for your coffee table vignette.  Depending on how you use the space, you’ll want to determine the height for your tallest item.  If you have a TV on the opposite wall, for example, you’ll want to make sure you don’t block the view.  Play around with some different options to settle on a final scale, as the tallest item sets the scale for the rest of your coffee table vignette. 


In our back living room, there is no TV and there are not chairs directly opposite the coffee table.  This gives me a lot of freedom with the height of my vignette.  I love making a dramatic statement with these kinds of vignettes, so taller branches, such as these palm branches, are really fun for that. 

You could even consider if there are ways to rearrange your furniture to give you more freedom with your vignettes.  But if not, don’t worry!  There are lots of fun ways to style smaller vignettes!  For me, the main key is lots of texture and layers!

I often use my taller item to hold some kind of greenery  Greenery (or flowers) is a key essential for me in a coffee table vignette.   It brings a lot of life to the vignette as well as adding an additional texture.  You can use real or faux.  If you choose to put greenery in your tallest item, have some fun with the vessel.  A great pottery piece, basket, or vintage vessel can be another way to add character and interest to your vignette.  Additionally, a simple switch of flowers or greenery can help your vignette transition from season to season…or just switch things up for the fun of it!

Coffee Table Styling Essential #3


  • Choose your medium item.


Candlesticks, cloche, pot with plant, ironstone compote, lantern, jar, or vase…they all make great medium items for your vignette.  Often, my tall and medium items might be a tiered pair of something, like candlesticks or lanterns.  If you have two items that you want to use together but they are the same height, put one on a stack of vintage books  to create your tall and medium items.  The books will add even more of a layered, curated look to your vignette, as well as more texture! 


A large book, like this vintage dictionary, standing up also makes a great medium item.  I often use some of my larger books to create the medium item in my grouping.  I think they go with most anything, despite the season, and add a lot of texture and character to a vignette.  You can also do this with nice coffee table books or picture books!  It is a great way to add a personal element to your coffee table vignette!

Smaller architectural items can make perfect medium items for coffee table styling!  Actually, a chippy corbel can be great for your tall item too!  I often use architectural salvage pieces for my vignette base, or layer a salvage piece on my base for extra texture.  You can even use an architectural salvage base to add height to a smaller item in order to make it your medium item! 

Coffee Table Styling Essential #4


  • Choose your smallest item.


I like to think of the smallest item as my “seasonal” touch, whether it’s a piece of coral for summer, a little pumpkin in the fall, a reindeer figure in the winter, or a cute cement bunny in the spring!  Keeping those seasonal items in smaller sizes can be super helpful with your storage.  Additionally, if you have a coffee table vignette that you love and don’t want to change, just switch out that seasonal item and you have a brand new look in 1 minute’s time!


Other items that work great for the small item can include:


These are just a few of MANY, many possibilities!  Get creative with your smallest item and look around your vintage collections to see what you could use!  If you decide to do a little shopping for this smaller item, there is good news!  You can usually switch out these smaller pieces with a little less expense, especially if you’re doing so with seasonal items. 


(That’s not to say that you might spend more on a pretty vintage clock or ironstone jelly mold than you do on your tall and medium items combined!)


My main point is that to change your vignette, you don’t always have to change all of the essentials at once!  Remember…we are looking for simple, easy changes that make you smile when you walk through the room!


A Few Other Tips to Consider When Styling Your Coffee Table Vignette


Using Greenery in Your Coffee Table Décor


Almost every coffee table vignette I create will have some kind of greenery or flowers mixed in!  Whether fresh or faux, I think they add so much life to the vignette.  Greenery also helps to soften the edges of your coffee table vignette pieces and help everything blend in.  You can find a couple of my favorite faux greenery HERE and HERE.


Where to Find Vintage Items for Your Coffee Table Décor


I get most of my vintage pieces from favorite vintage shops and vintage markets.  However, I can often find some of the smaller items at thrift stores and flea markets.  And don’t discount some of the big box stores for pieces as well.  While much of my décor is vintage, I definitely mix new pieces in as well.  Seasonal décor is something I specifically look for at places like Target, Homegoods, and Walmart.

You can find my favorite tips for vintage hunting HERE.


How to Get a Cohesive Look for Your Coffee Table Décor


This is not a hard and fast rule because if it were, I break it often!  However, I do like to keep some common elements in each vignette.  In this vignette with the zinc basket, you’ll find that the two bases I layer have a similar wood tone.  The bucket with the olive tree is zinc, tying in with the zinc basket.  While the book is a stand-alone element, the blue-gray tones of the cover and the tan tones of the pages flow nicely with the wood cutting boards and zinc pieces.  The sponge is another unique element, though it’s coloring has a common tone to the bread boards.




Several different elements, yet the colors tie them together.  You could find common elements through material, texture, color, and pattern.


Use Layering to Add Texture to Your Coffee Table Décor


Layer, layer, layer!  Layering is a great way to add texture and character to your coffee table vignette.  In this summer vignette I created for our back living room, I could have used the zinc basket as my base and put all of the same tall, medium and small items.  However, I used an extra-large bread board under the basket and a small bread board inside the basket. 

Essentially stacking three bases for my vignette, I was able to bring in a contrasting tone (since the coffee table has a zinc top), add a color that would connect with the book pages and sponge, and add some extra patina.  Because of the location of this vignette, I don’t have to worry too much about height, so I could add those layers with no concern of blocking anything.

However, even on a space where you need to keep a direct line of sight to another piece of furniture or TV, you can add layers with thin things such as:


What Do I Do Next?


Create!   Go have fun with your décor! 

Experiment!  Gather many more items than you could possibly use and try lots of options until you find the one that makes you smile!  Walk away if you get frustrated and come back to it later (works like a charm!)

I hope this has given you lots of ideas to work with simple vignettes throughout your home!  There are so many fun ways to decorate and the possibilities are truly limitless!



I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  



30 Affordable Fourth of July Outfits

30 Affordable Fourth of July Outfits

30 Affordable Fourth of July Outfits

I love summer holidays and dressing for the season! I picked out my favorite Fourth of July outfits for the whole family and you can check out the budget-friendly looks here!

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share some décor ideas with you, but in a little different way!  Especially for fun holidays like the Fourth of July, I like to think about not only getting our home decorated, but also making sure our family is dressed for the occasion!


You may not know this about me, but…

I LOVE clothes!  If you would’ve looked in my closet just a couple weeks ago, you might have cringed, actually.  It was a little out of control.  But in my defense, we don’t have “seasonal clothes storage”, so everything, for all 4 seasons, for teaching, for church, for casual, and for play…are all in the same place.  Yikes.

But I did get it cleaned out (now the tote is in the back of my suv waiting for donation) and put together some fun summer outfits!  The other thing you might not know about me is that if there is a clothing piece I really love, I will wear it for YEARS!  I put on a dress the other day that I’ve had for at least 10 years and I still love it!


And I’ll admit, there is a trend in my closet of lots of white (anyone surprised?! Ha!) and also lots of blue, ranging from lighter blues to navy.  Even though our home is full of neutrals, I actually love to wear bright colors, and especially as a teacher, do so often.  If I were creating a capsule wardrobe for summer, though, it would be all white and a range of blues!

I thought it would be fun to share some Fourth of July outfits with you in this post!  I rounded up some favorites for girls, boys, guys, and ladies!

I love the whole Fourth of July holiday and it is always fun to get ready.  We don’t have any set traditions; we just have fun wherever we are and whatever is going on!  The past few years, we have been traveling or on vacation over the Fourth of July, so that has made some really fun memories!  Last year, we visited the Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska on the Fourth of July!  That was definitely a unique holiday!

I LOVE dressing my kids for the seasons and since the Fourth of July usually falls around vacation time, I like to stock up on a few cute outfits that they can wear for the holiday, but also are fun for the entire summer.  While there are some flag-specific outfits sprinkled throughout, you’ll find a lot of pieces that hint at the Fourth of July holiday but aren’t so specific that they can’t be worn other times!

I also love to mix and match pieces and do this very often with my own wardrobe as well as my kids!  Robb is usually kind of on his own. Ha!  He wears a lot of blue and gray shirts with jeans, but he will mix in other options from time to time, so I included a few things for the guys…things I know Robb would wear!

While my kids might be perfectly happy in “play clothes”, I do love to have some nice, casual outfits for them to wear too.  If we are attending a party, BBQ, or fun event, I love to put a cute outfit on them.  But I also love for it to be something that isn’t too “precious”!  There is a range of prices and styles here, as I like to have a couple of the nicer pieces on hand, as well as options for play…and things that won’t make me cringe if they get stained with watermelon or BBQ!

We don’t own all of these pieces, of course, but we do have several of them that we love and then similar pieces to the others.  I hope this gives you some ideas…and maybe even inspires you to mix and match with wardrobe pieces that you already own!  Check out these Fourth of July outfits for kids!

I hope this gives you some fun ideas for the Fourth of July!  Whether you are celebrating at home, with friends and family, or on vacation, I hope it is full of fun memories!

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  



How to Make Coastal Farmhouse Decorating Easy

How to Make Coastal Farmhouse Decorating Easy

How to Make Coastal Farmhouse Decorating Easy

Happy Summer!  If you are hopping over from She Gave It a Go, welcome!  I am so excited that you’ve come to visit!  Wasn’t Brendt’s home tour so inspiring?  I always love to visit people’s homes and see how each one expresses their own, unique style…that’s what home should be! To all my subscribers, welcome back!  I am always so happy to have you join the fun and especially to invite you into our summer home today!

Each season is unique and so fun to decorate for.  To me, summer has an especially unique vibe, with it’s casual, comfortable look.  A little less “fuss”, a little more “lived in”, with low-maintenance and easy being priorities!  I love that summer décor can really be what you want.  You could choose bright, vibrant colors, floral prints, a monochromatic scheme, tropical vibes, a casual, coastal look, gingham, country style, and so much more!  Summer décor can be as simple as adding a few patriotic touches to your everyday décor or you can have fun giving your home a whole new look!

Whatever style you choose and as much or as little as you decorate, I think the key factor to summer décor is having fun with it!  The feeling I want to have in the summer is laid-back, relaxed, and fun!  I love to try and create that feeling with the way I decorate our home for summer, especially with some vintage coastal farmhouse vibes!

So, come on in and let’s get started!

Coastal Farmhouse Entryway


I’ll be the first to admit that our entryway doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.  I do love this tiny, little space in our home, though, and had fun styling it with a vintage coastal look for summer.  I picked up this brown seed cubby last year and by a happy accident, it ended up in the entryway!  I love how it makes a statement in this space but doesn’t take up a lot of physical space (it’s a very small entryway and also a pass-thru from our music room to the family room!). I added a chippy bench and a couple of yard sale finds with the old suitcase and little straw hat.  I think I paid a total of $10 for them!  Gotta love a good thrifted find!


Cubbies can be a fun spot to decorate for the seasons and I enjoyed adding a natural, coastal look with coral pieces like these.  To give extra texture and a touch of color, I used vintage books.  They also help give some height variation for more interest!


The star of the show in the entryway, for me, is this drapeux (French word for flag) from my friend Kendra @homespuncottage .  She created this from vintage linen and I absolutely love how it makes a big statement in the entryway, but still contributes to a light and airy look.  The drapeux was a great way to get a “soft” element in here as well!



To finish off the entryway, I added three straw hats to the wall.  I love the texture and fun element that they add.

Coastal Farmhouse Family Room


The family room is the next stop, so step on in!  Since our home is so open, I love making a big statement on this gallery wall.  You can see it from the entryway, kitchen, and dining room, so it’s a fun challenge to make it all flow together, yet have unique and designated spaces.  You can get all the details on my summer mantel HERE and find out why it’s the first time I’ve ever decorated my mantel for summer! 

I used the French lavabo as my statement piece and filled it with an arrangement, mixed with fresh palm branches (I tucked a glass of water down in the bottom for the branches!), faux fern bushes from Flower and Home Marketplace, and some sea fans and sponges from our local seashell shop!


My gallery wall consists of some vintage seascape prints that I’ve collected over time.  I always look for great deals on vintage art; thrift stores and flea markets are a great place to look!  This year, I added a small drapeux from @homespuncottage and some framed grain sack remnants from @thecottonshedI love the play on words with the “sand” print!  A vintage beach sign from @whiteflowerfarmhouse gives a fun touch to finish off the gallery wall.  I always love to hunt for vintage signs that I can work into my seasonal décor!  You can get my favorite tips for vintage hunting HERE

On the mantel, I added some architectural salvage, vintage books, a small mortar and pestle, and an ironstone jelly mold that is just the right fit for a fresh baby plant!

On my sofa, I combined white and cream throw pillows.  Most of mine are made from vintage fabrics, but you can find amazing new throw pillows to immediately freshen your space.  Check HERE and HERE for some neutral ones with texture!  I love using stripes in the summer and these large, vintage-inspired blue stripe pillows from Olde Tyme Marketplace add a fun summer touch.  I picked these up at her store a few years ago in Madison, Indiana!

I kept the coffee table really simple, but a big statement with this huge wooden trough.  I stacked some vintage books inside and added a large mortar and pestle with a fresh plant.  I have been using these little ivy plants a lot this spring and summer and love the unstructured lines they add to a vignette!

Coastal Farmhouse Kitchen


Just around the corner is our grand central station!  While I love for my kitchen to look pretty, I also am really particular about what I use to decorate in this space.  I try to use items that are functional AND pretty for a practical aesthetic.  For example, this old scale is almost always full of fruit and I try to keep my ironstone berry strainer full of grapes…though those don’t last long at all around here!

To give a base to my kitchen vignettes, I love to use pieces from my vintage bread board collection.  I have quite a lot of them and they move around the house.  But you can always find them in my kitchen and I especially love to layer them for extra texture and character. 

One non-functional thing I always try to have in my kitchen is a vessel with fresh flowers or greenery.  In the summer, this is especially easy, since we have so many palm trees around our yard.  In fact, our entire fence line is palm trees, so I have an abundance year round!  I love to cut them and use in my flower arrangements for the summer.  If I don’t have flowers, I cut a few extra and enjoy a fresh greenery bouquet! 

No matter what fresh greenery you can cut for free, one of my favorite ways to make a statement is to use a creative vessel!  I love to find vintage pieces that can work to hold flowers, greenery, and plants, even in unexpected ways!  This vintage French wine barrel is one of my favorites to use and I’m loving it with the fresh palm branches this summer!  It’s an easy and free way to add some immediate vintage coastal vibes to our home!

If you don’t have free palm branches around your yard, I’m linking some beautiful faux branches HERE and HERE

I leave my favorite summer candle out on the kitchen island, ready for slow, long summer evenings and add some small plants throughout the space.  But my number one tip for kitchen décor is to use functional items that you LOVE and look pretty also!

Coastal Farmhouse Dining Room


Other than my summer gallery wall, I think my summer dining room is my favorite décor spot in the house!  I shared a lot of details about our dining room apothecary/hutch over on THIS post.  I shared my thought process behind styling dining room shelves along with some ideas that can transfer to other shelving spots throughout your home.

This apothecary is a special piece.  Since we got it in January and refinished it (you can find out how we did that with oven cleaner HERE ), it has become one of my favorite pieces to decorate.  I had a lot of fun using pieces from my vintage collections to give this a coastal farmhouse look!

One of my favorite things was adding glass cloches  to stacks of ironstone dishes and butter pats, as well as adding coral to some of my mortar and pestle pieces.  The combination of white, glass, and natural elements gave me the vintage coastal farmhouse look I wanted while keeping the space light, bright, and airy!  I also love how my vintage bottles add the slightest bit of my light blue summer color to my dining room hutch!

Other than playing around with some fun, summer tablescapes, I keep the dining room fairly cleared off!  I enjoy adding fresh palm branches to my vintage French zinc pitcher and using my European pickling jars for occasional fresh flowers.  These also make a great spot to add some flags for the summer holidays!

Coastal Farmhouse Living Room


Our back living and dining room are such wonderful bonus spaces.  Since this long stretch of square footage is under air, we enjoy having an air conditioned “sun room” and this room is my favorite summer hangout spot!  You can usually find me in the mornings in my favorite chair with a cup of coffee and getting started with my work!  Such a treat for me, since during the school year, it’s a mad dash out of the door each morning!

In this room, I added a lot of summer textures, such as stacked baskets, worn books with a blue patina, vintage coral pieces, and linen pillows.  Last year, we turned this antique library table into a coffee table and I love how the zinc top ties in with my summer décor!  I picked up this zinc bucket and surprisingly, my olive plant is doing pretty well with all the sunlight it gets in this spot!

To add even a little more texture and a slight bit of color, I stacked some French grain sacks on the lidded baskets.  I love the little touch of light blue and the linen is my favorite textile for summer décor! 

One fun addition to this room is this blue-gray cabinet from my friend @velmaolivevintage!  She took this old factory/hardware cabinet, gave it a fresh color and painted the swiss cross on the front.  I love how that detail ties in with the drapeux hanging in the entryway and family room!  Little details like that make me so happy and I love the bit of summer color this piece added! 

I felt like all the elements I wanted to include in my summer styling really came together in this room.  You can find my favorite summer styling tips HERE.  My favorite elements that helped me pull my summer house together are:

  • Light woods and lots of white
  • Woven textures, through rugs and baskets
  • Accents of light blue and gray
  • Natural elements, like coral, sponges, and palm branches
  • Light textiles with gauzy throw blankets and linen


I hope you’ve enjoyed touring our Summer House, vintage coastal farmhouse style!  I have a wonderful treat for you, as you hop on over to visit Cassie Bustamante You’re going to love her take on summer styling, along with loads of décor inspiration for your home!  Make sure to say hello while you’re over there!!


You can find even more inspiration by checking out each of these amazing home bloggers.  I love how every style is unique and creates a beautiful and inviting home!  These talented bloggers are sure to give you great ideas as you create your own Summer Home!

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  



This week I’m joining some of my blogging friend’s for the Bloggers Best Summer Home Tours! All week long we are welcoming you into our homes. You can visit each summer home tour by clicking the links below.

Monday’s Tours

The Tattered Pew / Stonegable / My Wee Abode

White Arrows Home / Fiddle Leaf Blog / Dabbling and Decorating

Tuesday’s Tours

The Flowering Farmhouse / Sanddollar Lane / Cottage In The Mitten

Up To Date Interiors / Bricks ‘n Blooms / Cottage On Bunker Hill

Wednsday’s Tours

Open Doors Open Hearts/ Pasha Is Home / Shiplap and Shells

A Blue Nest / Cloches and Lavender / Simply 2 Moms

Thursday’s Tours

Cassie Bustamante / First Day of Home / Midwest Life and Style

County Road 407 / She Gave It A Go / Robyn’s French Nest

Friday’s Tours

The Ponds Farmhouse / DIY Beautify / Follow The Yellow Brick Home

My Thrift Store Addiction / Tatertots and Jello / Sweet Pea

Shop This Post!


Father’s Day Favorites

Father’s Day Favorites

Father’s Day Favorites

Father’s Day is just around the corner and I have been shopping! Sometimes, guys can be so hard to buy for!  So I asked Robb to help me out this year and we worked together to share with you a Father’s Day gift guide! All items are linked in this post so you can shop away and maybe check shopping off your Father’s Day prep list.


Nike Visor


This is such a nice accessory for any dad who spends time outside. I love the crisp clean look that could match almost any outfit–especially on the tee box!  Grab it here from Nike!

Golf Balls


Speaking of outside, golfing is such a great sport and these are a great gift for the sporty dad in your life! These Callaways are such a great deal from Amazon!

Hey Dude! Men’s Loafer


These shoes look so comfy!! I know my husband likes to have shoes he can just slip on quick if he needs to step outside to check the grill or help one of the kids. These are the perfect shoes!

BBQ Gloves


Speaking of grilling, how cool are these?? They are like oven mitts, but manly and more functional! They are rated to stand heat up to 1472° F! That is insane! These will definitely protect dad’s hands so he can cook some yummy food for all of us! Get them here from Amazon.

Long Arm Allen Wrench Key Set


This is such a nice little set for the handyman dad in your life! Very nice quality and includes both SAE and metric measurements! You can order them here from Home Depot.

Profile Gauge Tool


This handy tool helps to measure any kind of shape so you can cut the materials you need correctly! It’s really cool and would be really helpful for woodworking or DIY projects. It’s on sale right now from Amazon.

Personalized Leather Journal


This is such a dad gift! If you have a dad in your life that loves writing or drawing, this is perfect! You also could get it ahead of time and fill it with sweet notes and pictures like a scrapbook of why you appreciate him. How sweet would that be? You can get it today from Amazon!

Home WiFi Thermostat


We have probably all had the experience where a dad, your father or maybe your husband, makes a house-wide announcement that no one can touch the thermostat, or else! Well, if you know a dad that is crazy about keeping the house just the right temp, this thing is perfect!  We have this in our home and Robb loves it!  Order it here from Home Depot!

Score Tower


This would be so perfect for yard games! And it even comes with drink holders!! How cool! We love playing outdoor games with friends and family and I’m sure this would be a well loved gift! You can get it here from Amazon.

Corn Hole


Speaking of outdoor games, who doesn’t love Corn Hole? This game is so fun and the perfect outdoor summer activity! This is a really nice set from Amazon!

Bacon Press


This is such a cool gadget! It helps cook your bacon even and crisp! This would be perfect to have for a Father’s Day breakfast and all those future times when Dad makes breakfast. You can pick this up from Amazon.

Passport Wallet


Places are opening back up and opportunities for travel are back! If you are shopping for a dad that loves to travel, this passport wallet is so nice! It’s classy and manly. You can get it from J. Crew.

Luggage Tag


Speaking of traveling, this luggage tag is also from J. Crew and would go so well with that passport wallet!  It’s the same brown leather and so nice!  It says “This bag is not yours”. How fun!  You can find it here.

Striped Socks


Here is another classy item from J.Crew. These striped socks are sure to be a hit with any dad! Practical, yet fashionable. Comfy and durable. You’re gonna want to grab some of these!  Find them here.

Longhorn Gift Card


If all else fails, grab a gift card to his favorite restaurant! My husband suggested LongHorn!  It can be rather hard to find a good gift sometimes, and this one is sure to be a hit!  Here is the link for a $25 gift card to LongHorn.

So, what will you be buying for Dad? I would love to hear how you celebrate Father’s Day in your family and what gifts you will buy for the Father or Fathers in your life. I have been so blessed with a wonderful father and an incredible husband & father of our children, and I can’t wait to celebrate them!

How to Make a Dining Room Hutch Beautiful

How to Make a Dining Room Hutch Beautiful

How to Make a Dining Room Hutch Beautiful

Are dining room china cabinets or hutches even in style?  In our fast-paced culture where formal dining rooms are no longer a house-hunting must-have, this is a very good question!  I guess it really depends on who you ask, but in my opinion, the general idea of dining room storage still holds a lot of value. 

No matter the style of the home, shelving of some kind is very popular.  So while a more modern farmhouse style home might have floating shelves or another home may have an open concept with open shelving running through the kitchen, the idea of some kind of shelves to hold dishes and décor is still very popular.  And with open concept homes being so common, it is not unlikely to see a pretty shelving unit in a living room or kitchen instead of a formal dining space! 

I think the changing trend is perhaps more in what goes on the dining room hutch or china cabinet rather than discarding any kind of storage. 

So whether your shelves are in the kitchen, dining room, living room, or some other space, I hope this post will inspire you to rethink how you use those shelves and even spark some creativity! 

We purchased this apothecary last winter.  You can find all the details about its history and how we restored the original paint in this post .  I have so much fun styling this piece for the seasons, just as I would any other space in our home. That’s my first tip for dining room or kitchen shelf styling:

Have fun rotating décor on your shelves! 

It’s okay to store certain pieces away, bring others out, add, take away, feature collections, and in general, treat your shelves as you would a mantel or entryway table!

What to Use as a Dining Room Hutch


For the purposes of this post, I’ll call it a hutch, but it could be any kind of shelves or cabinet!  This is a great spot to get creative with your furniture!  A vintage step back cabinet, pie safe, apothecary, floating shelves or open shelving are all great ideas for a dining room!  And those are just a few out of a long list!

In our dining room, we added this antique apothecary.  I love all the drawers for storage (though at the writing of this post, they are basically empty!), so I guess I should say I love the idea of all the drawers for storage!  Maybe at some point, I’ll do some reorganizing in my kitchen and move some of the “dining room” type of things to those drawers.  Whatever piece you use, the first consideration is function.

 If you have lots of storage in your home, this may not need to be a consideration.  But if you need to be conscious of storage space, a dining room hutch or cabinet is a GREAT place to add extra storage for anything from dishes to linens to extra kitchen ware or even pantry items! 


As much as possible, I do like to store things in the room or space that they are used in.  But in our first “real” house, I had a big wall in our kitchen where we put a dining room hutch and I kept all of our everyday dishes and flatware on the shelves and down below was my main pantry space!  It looked good in the space but most of all, was a desperately needed storage piece for our odd kitchen!  (Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture!  That was a long time ago!)

Once you have identified how you need the piece to function, have fun choosing just the right piece.  This may take some patience, especially if you are working within a budget or have a really specific style.  I waited a few years before we found this apothecary that fits our space and needs so perfectly!



If you are looking for a vintage piece, you can find some of my favorite vintage hunting tips HEREThe main thing to remember is patience!  It is worth waiting for the piece you LOVE versus settling for a piece that you’re not even going to like in a few months!

Now that you’ve chosen your dining room hutch or storage piece….

What to Put in Your Dining Room Hutch


Here’s the key: If you put things in your hutch that you use often or you rotate things around often enough, you never have to worry about deep cleaning!  Sometimes people worry that dishes sitting out on open shelving will be dirty.  If you are keeping things that you love using, that won’t be a problem!  There may be that special dish or piece that you keep for sentimental reasons, but if it gets a little dusty, no worries.  You’re probably not using it anyway!

On my hutch/apothecary, I use it as a fun spot to decorate with favorite collection pieces or seasonal items.  I like to keep out pieces that I use often for tablescapes, as well as favorite vintage items and seasonal décor.

If you are using your dining room hutch primarily for dishes, consider adding some décor pieces throughout.  A little pot with a fresh plant or a cloche covering a stack of bowls or some terra cotta pots can add a lot of interest to this space and make it more of a décor statement rather than just a storage unit!

Here is a list of things you might consider using in your hutch along with functional items:


  • Vintage Collections: Clocks, vases, ironstone, mortar and pestles, pottery, bottles, jars, crocks, and cloches are just a few that come to mind!  If you have a favorite collection, get it out where you can see it!  Consider grouping collection items to make a statement.
  • Sentimental Pieces: That pretty jar that belonged to your grandma or those candlesticks you received as a wedding gift?  Dig them out from the recesses of the closet and use them!  Unless it’s some kind of strong color or just cannot blend with your décor, a dining room hutch is a great place to display special pieces!  They can be great conversation starters!


  • Everyday items: Especially if every square inch counts, use a dining room hutch or pretty cabinet and make your everyday items decorative!  Choose dishes, flatware, vases, pitchers, and essentials that you really love and let them become your décor.  Neutral colors can really be helpful in this case, as you can’t go wrong with all-white dishes that will look pretty sitting out no matter the season.  But whatever your décor style is, invest in everyday items that enhance your décor rather than needing to be tucked away.  This will double your function and storage!

Once you’ve figured out what to put in your dining room hutch….

How Can I Arrange Items in My Dining Room Hutch?


One thing that gives hutches and china cabinets a bad reputation is that they can quickly become a catch all for “all those little things you didn’t know what to do with.” 

I have a few of those too, mainly some sentimental pieces that no matter how I try, they just don’t go with anything!  You know those awkward spaces above the refrigerator, I use one of those shelves (behind closed doors) to house those items.  But I don’t add to them.  Those are pieces that belonged to grandparents, etc., more heirloom kinds of things.  And there’s only a small box of them.

Clear out and clean out often!

 It is okay to get rid of things.  In case you need permission, CONSIDER IT GRANTED! 

Treat your dining room hutch or shelves as you would a mantel or a console table.  Even if you are decorating with every day, functional items, keep it looking pretty and a style in keeping with the rest of your home.

When arranging décor on shelves, there are three things I consider:


You can add a lot of character and depth to your dining room hutch décor by varying the heights of your pieces.  While it may look nice to have a row of a certain item, like a collection of bottles or bowls, consider adding some unexpected elements like a stack of the bowls at the end of the shelf or varying the heights by adding a stack of little plates under a couple of the bowls.  Use the dishes you have on hand to add height variations!  A little stack of butter pats or a few dessert plates under a fresh plant can add so much texture and character, while still in keeping with the rest of the décor.


For shelf styling, I like to choose a few elements and repeat variations of those elements in the overall styling.  For my summer dining room hutch styling, I chose to use white, glass, and a few natural, coastal elements.  The glass is repeated on each shelf through the use of vintage bottles, apothecary bottles, and cloches.  The white dishes are repeated on each shelf with stacks of bowls, plates, and some white architectural salvage pieces.  The pieces of coral add a seasonal touch and a bit of an “unexpected” touch as well.

In almost every décor space, I add greenery.  Whether nice faux greenery or real, it can really add some movement to the décor as well as breaking up the straight, hard lines of the white and glass pieces.

No matter which elements you choose to use in your dining room hutch, consider paring it down to 3 (or so) elements and then have some fun with a couple of unexpected touches too!


When styling shelves, balance is a really key element.  Style each shelf, but then step back and make sure there is a balance of your elements throughout the entire look.  On my summer dining room apothecary, for example, I wanted to make sure there was a balance of the white and glass pieces.  I wouldn’t want the right side to be all white and the left side be mostly glass.  By considering the space as a whole, I was able to balance the styling.

Symmetry can be a helpful way to style, but I do love to break up the symmetry with some unexpected pieces as well.  Styling with a balanced look, yet not completely symmetrical, can help your dining room hutch to have a more curated look. 

How to Edit Your Dining Room Hutch

Once you have completed your shelf styling, it can be helpful to walk away and take a break!  As you come back to it later, you may see spots that can be tweaked and edited.  I often style a space, leave it alone for awhile, then come back and remove items, move them over a couple inches, switch plants, add a plate to this stack, etc.!  This is all part of making a space “yours”.  Decorating truly is personal preference and expression of YOU!  Getting tips and ideas from other people is always fun and helpful, but as you edit your space, make it a personal reflection of your family and home.

How to Decorate Your Dining Room Hutch for the Seasons

Just as I decorate my mantel for the seasons, I like to do the same with my apothecary cabinet!  I love to switch décor, so while I might change the look of the entire piece, you can decorate for the seasons by simply switching a few items.

When fall rolls around, I could simply switch the coral pieces for a couple of baby white pumpkins!  Where the cool, blue tones of the vintage bottles are for summer, I could replace with some vintage amber bottles for the warm, fall colors.

Consider small and simple seasonal touches that don’t require you to store boxes and boxes of decorations! 

(When Christmas comes to town…that’s a whole different story, right?!) 

I hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration as you’re styling your dining room or kitchen shelves!  There are so many fun ways to use and display your everyday items, collections, and favorite pieces!  I hope this inspires you to put those things where you can see them and where they make you smile!



Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Hello Friends!

Happy Weekend! I love weekend shopping and here are a few things for you to grab online. This is a round up of things I found this week that I love–Some summer decor I’m using & a fun summer accessory

Artificial Palm Leaf


Summer is here and we all are dreaming of a tropical vacation. Or if you are like me and live somewhere like Florida, you are looking forward to staycations on the beach. I love to make our home feel like a summer vacation home! One fun way to do that is with a coastal or tropical style. These palm leaves are an easy way to make your decor feel like summer!

Vintage Books


I love vintage books! I try to use book covers with colors that match my color scheme. These blue-green ones are so perfect for summer! They’re perfect to add texture and height to a styled shelf or coffee table!

Vintage Wall Decor


I love chippy paint and salvage wood pieces! A piece like this really helps add a coastal feel and would definitely look good with other vintage pieces. This one from Etsy has such pretty blue chippy paint and is ready to add to a mantel (for ideas on how to style your for summer check out my recent blog post).

Woven Blue Throw Pillow


This throw pillow from Target is such a great cozy accent piece. It has that vintage vibe and I love the pattern! Simple and sweet! I can picture this in my collection of neutral colored throw pillows on our cozy white couch. How would you style this in your home?

Vintage Ironstone Piece


Ironstone is just so beautiful and perfect! I love these pieces all year round. This piece I found on Etsy is so pretty! It would be so cute with a fresh bouquet of flowers in the center of a table or styled with some greenery on a mantel. If you are the lucky one to grab this piece, let me know how you style it for summer.

Straw Tote Handbag


How cute is this bag from Target? The summer beach trips have begun and I might need to make a Target run for this bag!  It’s just perfect to hold all the beach trip essentials. Have you been to the beach yet? Are you planning to? This bag would be perfect for any upcoming beach trips!


Woven Cotton Plaid Throw Blanket


This blanket is so cute and cozy! How nice would it be outdoors for a picnic or indoor for a movie night? I love this blue color and it goes well with some of these other items. Pick it up here from Target.

Hope you enjoy these summer finds! Let me know if you get any of them and how you style them in your house. It’s so fun to share the things we love.


The Best Summer Salad Recipes for an Easy and Tasty Meal

The Best Summer Salad Recipes for an Easy and Tasty Meal

The Best Summer Salad Recipes for an Easy and Tasty Meal

Check out these simple and delicious summer salad recipes! I share some of my favorite (easy!) recipes full of blueberries, watermelon & cheese!

I’ll be super honest…cooking just isn’t my favorite thing.  I’d much rather set the table than prepare the meal!  Being a teacher, though, I do enjoy meal prep a lot more during the summer months when I have time to actually be more thoughtful and intentional about recipes!  BUT, it just gets so hot here in the summer!  And after an afternoon by the pool or day at the beach, I’m not usually in the mood for a big, heavy dinner.

Plus, summer salads are a great way to try and shed a few pounds from the school year too!  (Though, I’m not claiming that these are necessarily the most calorie-friendly salads out there either!)

I should also mention that my favorite recipes are ALWAYS ones that don’t take a whole lot of time.  And if I can save some for lunch the next day, even better!

In case you’re looking for some refreshing dinners during these summer months, I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you.  I don’t even know where I came up with these, but they are just ones that I tend to only make during the summer and really enjoy!

Watermelon Summer Salad


Summertime and watermelon just go hand in hand!  The only part I don’t love is the messy process of cutting up the watermelon.  So sometimes I cheat and buy the pre-cut bowls from the deli.  Most of the time, I just get my hubby to do it for me!

It is literally one of the most refreshing, summer treats and super healthy too!  My very favorite way to eat watermelon is as a salad.  Bonus?  You only need three ingredients for this recipe!


  • Watermelon, cut into bite-size chunks
  • Crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • Blueberries


Combine all three ingredients into a bowl and serve chilled! 

How easy is that?!

I’ll be the first to admit, if you aren’t a cheese-lover, this probably won’t be your favorite recipe.  But I don’t think I’ve ever tried a kind of cheese that I didn’t love (except for a random, really runny one in France; I don’t remember what it was called!).  Gorgonzola cheese has that extra zing to it that I really love and the mix of salty and sweet makes this a favorite for me!  I like to buy the fat-free gorgonzola crumbled cheese in an effort to make this a little more healthy!

Blueberries are the perfect addition to this watermelon salad. Plus, there is the benefit of the red, white, and blue!  It makes a festive salad for your Fourth of July picnic!

I keep the leftovers around for an extra day or so and they make a great lunch for the next day.  Win win!  I leave some watermelon plain because my kiddos haven’t yet discovered a love for gorgonzola cheese (haha!) but it does make a nice treat for the whole family!

Next time you pass a roadside produce stand, grab yourself a big watermelon and enjoy!

Italian Chicken Pasta Summer Salad


There are so many versions of pasta salad out there, so I’m sure this isn’t a new one to any of you!  But it is one that I really enjoy and I love that I can just use what I have on hand.  It’s a great way to use up the last of some of the veggies or leftover grilled chicken too!  We do a lot of grilling in the summer and I love having a good recipe to use the last couple pieces of chicken!


Here is my favorite way to grill chicken:

  • Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise so they are thinner cuts
  • Marinate for 30 minutes in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, lemon pepper, and a little garlic powder
  • Grill!
  • Always make a few extra pieces because they are great to cut up and use on salads!

I’m listing the ingredients that I used here to create a Fourth of July pasta salad, but you can really use any pasta, veggie, meat, or cheese that you have on hand!




  • Rotini pasta
  • Pepperoni slices
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Red pepper
  • Grilled chicken
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Shredded or shaved parmesan cheese
  • Zesty Italian dressing



  • Cook pasta, drain, and add a tiny bit of olive oil.  Refrigerate and allow to chill completely.  I usually do this either day before or the morning of.
  • Chop all veggies and meat into small pieces. I cut the pepperoni slices into halves.
  • Depending on what cheese you use, cut into cubes or mix in the shredded cheese with the veggies and meat. I cut some of the mozzarella slices into stars to be decorative for the holiday.  You can also buy the cute cheese stars in the dairy section or used cubed cheese!


Healthy Summer Salads (16)
Healthy Summer Salads (7)


  • Mix veggies, cheese, meat, and pasta into a large bowl. I usually save a few of the tomatoes and pepperonis to sprinkle around the top at the end.
  • Mix Zesty Italian dressing into the pasta salad. You can use regular Italian dressing, but I particularly like the extra flavoring of the zesty for this salad.
  • Top with a sprinkling of red tomatoes, pepperoni slices, and cheese stars.
  • Serve chilled and enjoy!


Strawberry Summer Salad


There are lots of versions of this salad out here but I just do a simple version with things I have on hand that I know my family will enjoy.  This recipe also works great for the Fourth of July and if you want to add some blue to the red (strawberries) and white (cheese), grab a package of fresh blueberries and sprinkle them in!  We love blueberries and mix them into a lot of salads for the summer!



  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • Poppyseed dressing
  • Optional: blueberries, onions, candied pecans

I lay out my spinach leaves, then top them with quartered strawberries (You can cut them however, quartering them seems to be the easiest for everyone to eat and looks pretty too!).  I love cheese, so I add plenty of blue cheese crumbles to the top.  Right before serving, I add poppyseed dressing.

Other variations of this strawberry salad recipe include candied pecans and onions.  My family doesn’t prefer those ingredients, but they do add great flavor!

Other Summer Salad Recipes


I’m linking up some summer salad favorites from some of my blogging friends below!  Check these out for more delicious and refreshing options this summer!

Quick and Easy Spinach Salad Recipe from Bricks and Blooms

Summer Corn Salad from 2 Bees in a Pod 

Roasted Golden Beet and Goat Cheese Salad from My Home and Travels 

Red, White, and Blue Layered Jello Salad from From Farmhouse to Florida 

Layered Farmer’s Market Salad: Lemon Basil Dressing from Blue Ribbon Kitchen

Easy Pasta Salad from Down Sprigg Lane

The Best Potato Salad from Grandmother’s Table from Feet Under My Table

Easy Summer Tomato Pasta from Living Large in a Small House

Awesome Jalapeno Cornbread Salad for Summer from Blue Sky at Home

The Best Keto Vietnamese Cucumber Salad from Simply 2 Moms

The Best Caribbean Black Bean Salad from Simply 2 Moms

Kale Salad with Grilled Chicken – THM from Simply 2 Moms




How to Decorate Your Summer Mantel with Beautiful Style

How to Decorate Your Summer Mantel with Beautiful Style

How to Decorate Your Summer Mantel with Beautiful Style

Decorating your summer mantel doesn’t have to be hard! I use color, texture, and vintage items to give that warm summer feel!  Check out my tips and ideas below.

You probably think I’m joking, but I’m actually totally serious!  I’ve never decorated a mantel for summer before, (so I’m really not the expert here) but I did have fun with it and hopefully my experimenting will inspire you as well!


Summer décor, in general, is so fun because of its casual, laid-back nature.  I love the light and bright colors, soft textures, and natural elements!  Most of all, I love that summer is really a time that you can do as much or as little with your décor as you want!  Switching around décor is really my “play time” and I love looking for new ways to get creative with it.  With living in a small, coastal town, I think I especially love bringing in a bit of that coastal vibe to our “summer house”!

Because, let’s be honest…I really don’t follow the Florida rules for decorating…at all!  I pretty much stick with the northern decorating cycles, even when that means decorating with pumpkins in 90 degree weather.  Haha!  Summer is my one chance to be a real Floridian!

And if you don’t live in Florida?  Well, summer is your chance to pretend you live on an island resort and totally get away with it in the décor world!

I love mixing these coastal elements with my vintage and farmhouse décor pieces.  Further proof that chippy white goes with everything!

Speaking of chippy white, let’s move on to the mantel décor!

How do I decorate my summer mantel?


The first thing I do when decorating any space is to completely clear it off and deep clean.  I find that when I clear a space, I can get more creative.  A clean slate is good for my brain!  While most of my décor pieces are things that I use year-round, I still like to get a clean slate, clean it really well, and start fresh.  I also use this as a time to rotate some of my décor around the house.  Shopping my own home is always my go-to!

When I started decorating my mantel for this season, I started with these elements:

Elements of Summer Mantel Décor


Natural Elements

What is found around you in nature?  Or…what do you WISH was around you in nature?  Depending on where you live, this will vary your décor.  If you live in a tropical climate like me, free palm branches are abundant and there are seashell shops in every town.  Or even free seashells from our beach adventures!  If you live in the mountains, this might be more lake-related items or an abundance of wildflowers!


The fun thing with décor is that you can make it what you want, so even if you live in the Midwest, feel free to break out a few natural elements found in a coastal region!  This is your one chance in the year to get away with starfish in Oklahoma!  You also don’t have to create a full-on coastal theme!  Just bringing in a bowl of shells on the coffee table or a fresh palm tree from your local nursery in the corner can add the perfect touch of “summer” to your space!

Other natural elements that I love to use are sea fans, sponges, and coral.  Through the spring, I did a lot of coral hunting around antique shops, knowing I wanted to use these with my cloches and ironstone for summer!



I love that summer colors can range from bright and vibrant to very cool and soft to a monochromatic, neutral palette.  This is another area when you can really make a statement and express your own creativity!  There are no “summer specific” colors, as we think of color for the other seasons.  It’s truly a free-for-all!

Last summer, I brought in more earthy tones with some light rust and tans.  (Think of the inside of a conch shell!).  Even just a few touches of this color made a great statement and set the tone for my summer décor.

This summer, I’ve been loving the light blue and gray tones that I brought in for spring.  So I kept some of those same elements around with throw pillows, vintage books, architectural salvage, and a little bit of vintage art.  Even changing just a few pieces created an entirely different look for my summer décor!

You can find more details about some of my summer styling elements on THIS post.



Besides the more obvious, seasonal elements, texture is one of my favorite ways to change my décor for the seasons.  During summer, I like to think about elements that would be found in a coastal retreat or beach environment.  Some of my favorite summer textures are:

What looks good on a summer mantel?


This can vary a lot depending on the size of your fireplace or mantel.  It also depends on whether you have a functioning fireplace that you will use in the summer months or if it is purely decorative.

While some Florida homes do have working fireplaces, this was not a priority for us.  We had one at our previous home and I don’t think we used it once!  We literally run our air conditioning year-round and our current home doesn’t even have heat!  We maybe have a couple of days and/or nights each winter where heat would be nice, but cozy layers are plenty for us!  I know our situation is a far extreme, but necessary to explain why our mantelpiece is purely decorative!

Even if you have a working fireplace, vintage mantels can be great decorative elements to include in other rooms of your home, such as a bedroom or dining room!

We picked up our chippy, vintage mantel on the World’s Longest Yard Sale a couple of years ago.  I love the substantial size and simple design of it, and of course, I love the great patina it has.  I brought it in behind our sofa, really as an architectural salvage element and love it here!  Of course, it was great to decorate for fall and winter, but I had fun transitioning it for our warmer months of spring and summer too!

Because my mantel is really part of a larger gallery wall, I take into account how I want to style the gallery wall as part of my mantel styling.  I centered everything on my gallery wall and mantel styling around this vintage, French lavabo.  Again, something I’d never styled for summer before, but I was picturing the sea fans, sponges, and palms and wanted to give it a try.  I set a glass of water down in the lavabo and was able to arrange fresh palms, along with some faux ferns from Flower and Home Marketplace and coastal elements.

With having larger art pieces and a vintage sign on the wall above the mantel, I kept the mantelpiece décor more simple and a lower profile.

I used vintage books in neutral and light blue tones (HERE and HERE) to bring in some additional texture and color.  The books also provide some height variation for small plants.  On one stack of books, I placed a vintage mortar and pestle from my collection with a piece of coral.  I love how the white of the coral makes such a subtle coastal statement, while adding lots of organic texture.

The other statement piece on my summer mantel is an architectural salvage piece that I found at a vintage market.  It has the perfect shade of light blue-gray with lots of chippy patina.  I love how the curved style reminds me of something that could’ve been on an old boat at some point! (I don’t know that it ever was, more likely from a round window or arch, but I like the idea!)

Architectural salvage is always a favorite way to add texture and character to any room and I use it all over our house!  I rounded up a few pieces of smaller salvage that would make a wonderful addition to any fireplace mantel!  The white and light blue colors work perfectly for summer décor, though they can be used year-round in lots of different spaces.  I’ve linked those up for you at the end of this post.  You can find a couple of favorites HERE and HERE.

To recap, I kept my summer mantel styling simple and light, while still getting a full look with the use of texture.

What else could I use to decorate my summer mantel?


Here are other things that I like to keep on hand for mantel decorating:

Styling a collection on a mantel


No matter the season, a mantel is a great spot to style your favorite collection!  Most any item, grouped with other like items, can make a beautiful statement.  Vintage clocks, milk glass vases with fresh fern stems, mortar and pestles with coral, grouping of favorite candlesticks, a row of vintage bottles with patriotic flags…these are all great ways to style your mantel while showcasing your favorite collection pieces! 

I think “collections” can sometimes get shoved in a corner or stuck on a shelf.  I like to keep my collections moving around the house, sometimes styled together, sometimes split up over a few rooms, which ties the décor together and gives a nice flow to the rooms.  Get creative with how you style those collection pieces and really enjoy them!

Pull out those favorite pieces and use them!  You might be surprised at how much money you save on décor simply by shopping your home and re-thinking how you can use the pieces you already own.  I love how collections tell a story, not only about your home, but also about yourself!  You can count on a styled collection to be a conversation starter!

How do I decorate a hearth for summer?


With having our decorative mantel behind our sofa, I obviously am not decorating a hearth.  However, the décor I use on my sofa has the same effect as if you are decorating a hearth.  I like to use lots of comfy and cozy pillows on our sofa.  They are a great way to bring in lots of texture, pattern, and color.  Some of my favorites are made from vintage fabrics and grain sacks, but there are so many gorgeous options out there for summer pillows.  You can add texture with these and these and some summer color with these.  I also like to add a cozy throw and this gauzy one is my favorite for summer!

If you have a hearth, a vintage basket with summer throw blankets and soft pillows is a great way to soften the hard lines of the fireplace.  It also helps tell the story of a soft place to get cozy after a long day of summer fun!  While you may add a basket of logs for the winter, consider replacing the logs with a lush, green plant for the summer months!

Greenery is another great way to soften the straight and hard edges of a fireplace.  A grouping of lanterns is another great fireplace addition and can be used year-round.  I like to keep some battery-operated candles for the summer months to keep that cozy glow in the evenings.

I hope this gives you some ideas and even better, sparks some creativity for you as you have fun decorating your home and especially your summer mantel!  Just by changing your mantel and fireplace décor…even if you leave everything else exactly the same…you can give an entirely new and fresh feel to your entire room!

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  

Have fun!



Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites


Hello Friends!

Summer! I am loving the more relaxed days and the less busy schedules. It’s taken me a few days to get into a summer routine, but it’s nice to have more time with family! I wanted to share some must-have items for this summer. From clothes and shoes to outside and inside decor, this list has lots of things I think you will love!!


Denim Jean Skirt


This jean skirt is just so cute!! It’s so versatile and my summer go-to! This jean skirt from H&M is great because it matches everything and pairs so well with a light top for summer! I would wear this with a white flowy cotton top and some cute sandals. How would you style this?


Boho Sandals


Speaking of sandals, how cute are these?! I love the Bohemian look, yet they’re so simple and versatile! These would be so cute to wear to a summer bbq or a day around town. Where would you wear these cute sandalsGrab them today from H&M!!

Striped Linen Table Runners


If you follow me over on Instagram, you know that once a week I challenge myself to do a new tablescape. I love using things like this on my table! Cute table runners like this are so perfect for summer!  These beauties from H&M are just too lovely not to share!!

Wicker Outdoor Tray


Summer is all about spending time outside! I love making our outdoor space cozy and pretty! This basket is so simple, yet so adorable! Pick it up from Target and let me know how you use it this summer!


Seagrass Candle Lantern


I love this piece! Seagrass is so perfect for so many styles! I think this would look so cute in a nautical vignette or a shelf styled with vintage summer pieces. It would also be such a nice touch on a summer patio with a citronella candle flickering inside. So many uses! Get it here from H&M!

Summer Pasture Framed Wall Art


Good wall art is a must for a beautifully styled home!! This picture is so pretty! I love the summer scene and the gorgeous gold frame!! It’s a great buy from Target that will add great character to any wall!​



I would love to hear what you are going to add to your summer wardrobe! Let me know if you grab any of these pieces and how you add them to your summer plans!

Tips for a Summer to Remember

Tips for a Summer to Remember

Tips for a Summer to Remember

FYI: While this post is geared toward my current season of life, I think it applies to really young families as well as empty-nesters!  There are so many ways to enjoy every season of life. 

My husband and I have talked about this so many times…we had tons of fun together before we ever had kids, we are enjoying our family now, and there are a million and one things we want to enjoy together when we are older and don’t have kids at home anymore!  Summer breaks and vacations apply to ALL SEASONS of life!

I will start this whole blog post by saying that I DO NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS AND I AM NOT A PARENTING PRO!!!

Actually, very, very, very far from it.

As I was sitting with my summer calendar, thinking about my family and what I desire this summer to look like, I decided to write a blog post.  I can’t be the only mom who looks at 10-12 weeks of summer, sometimes thinking it sounds like forever and mostly thinking that it’s going to fly by so fast.  How can I ever make the most of it?

Most summers, we plan for a big vacation, along with the occasional family reunion and kids’ church camp.  This summer, we are going to kids’ church camp and a weekend family reunion immediately following.  But instead of a summer vacation, we are going to keep saving and hopefully take a bucket list trip this fall.

That left me thinking that I want to be extra intentional about our long summer days.  Maybe I’m the only one, but it can be easy to fall into a trap of just floating through each day, only for them to disappear in a blink!  For our family, it has been an intensely busy school year and I am welcoming the thought of slow, even sometimes lazy, summer days.

I am also welcoming the thought of special, intentional time as a family…right at home.

Who better to tell me what our family summer should look like other than my own kids?

Here are their top 5 requests:

Harrison, age 7

  • Bowling
  • Family game night
  • Summer camp
  • Pool day
  • Go to the library

Addy, age 11

  • Go to the Beach
  • Go School shopping
  • Swim in the pool
  • Family game night
  • Eat homemade Ice Cream

Payton, age 13

  • Have friends over
  • Go bowling
  • Picnic at the park
  • Outdoor movie night
  • Family weekend getaway

#1: Outdoor Time and Activities


Here in Florida, it truly gets too hot sometimes to play outside.  Thankfully, we have a pool and when that gets too hot (because sometimes the water legit gets uncomfortably warm!), we head to the beach.  My goal is to have one beach day each week and some time in the pool several times a week, even if it’s just for a short swim, a little sunshine, and good exercise!

#2: Mystery Mondays


Our family used to do this every Monday.  Robb and I would decide on an activity for the evening, even if it was really short and simple.  As the kids have gotten older, homework, tutoring, and extra-curricular activities have really gotten in the way.  I want to bring this back for the summer months when we don’t have all those distractions!

Here are some ideas we have enjoyed for our Mystery Mondays:

  • Picnic at the park
  • Local restaurant
  • Trip for ice cream cones or a 99 cent Frosty at Wendy’s
  • Game of Uno
  • Look at “old” family pictures or videos together
  • Shopping trip at the Dollar Spot

#3: Create Family Routines and Clear Expectations


Daily Routine

Overall, our family tends to thrive under some reasonable structure.  One of our children, in particular, has some unique challenges and having routine is super important.  Honestly, I thrive the most with some routine as well, so I’ll be sitting down with our family and discussing some specific routines that we all agree upon for the summer, with lots of room for flexibility and adjusting depending on what we are doing for the day!

Chores and Children

Chores are also something that we implement in our family.  It is my opinion that I am not raising just children, but also raising them to be adults who love God, show kindness to others, and have a strong work ethic.  We feel that all begins at home, so mixed into our summer fun are regular chores as well.  Chores are an excellent way for children to learn not only how to work, but also teamwork, time management, and the value of doing a job right the first time.  Important stuff!!!

#4: Create Intentional Personal Time and Space


I doubt I’m the only parent who starts to feel like my kids are breathing down my neck sometimes!  And you know what?  They can feel the same about their parents and siblings.

Two of my children really do well (just like their mother!) with having some quiet time each day to spend by themselves.  As part of our daily routines, we will pencil in a little time each day where everyone can just do their own thing without feeling guilty or selfish or unkind.  I think it will be valuable for the kids just as much as it will be for Robb and myself!  We did this, though not routinely, during lock-down times and it was really helpful for all of us!



Moms, I think it is really important that we set aside some intentional time, guilt-free, to just be.  This is something that I have NOT made a priority over the years.  My “quiet time” most often becomes “getting as many things done around the house as I can while everyone is occupied” time.  I am not proposing laziness, but rather a healthy balance of work, play, and rest. 

#5: Schedule Several Weekend/Day Trips


There are SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN FLORIDA that we have never explored!  Summer can be an awesome time to explore around your local and state areas.  Granted, Florida is a really big state, but there are so many things within two hours of here that we always say we will do “someday.”  I plan for this summer to be our “someday” and fit in a few of those!

Perhaps your time or budget doesn’t allow for a big, fancy vacation.  That’s okay!  Make it a family challenge to find as many free adventures as you can around your area!

On the way to the beach where our family likes to go, there is a tiny museum.  I always think it looks so cute and even the kids have commented that we should stop “someday.”  I’m determined that we are going to stop there this summer!

Perhaps you don’t have vacation time to take the typical week-long vacation.  That’s okay too!  You might be surprised at what an amazing staycation your family can enjoy from Friday at 5:00 p.m. to Sunday evening, even just staying right at home!  Plan some fun games, activities, get special snacks and groceries ahead of time, and enjoy swimsuits and pjs all weekend long!  (This is on my summer bucket list too!)

So there it is…

It’s not profound or fancy.  But the longer I am a wife, mom, and teacher, the more I am becoming aware that many memories are built on the simple things.  That saying “Enjoy the Little Things” sounds so cliché, but there is a lot of depth to it that I am looking forward to intentionally exploring this summer!

I hope there has been a little something in this post that can be helpful to you during this summer season!  I am also linking up some favorite toys, activities, and games that our family enjoys, in case you need to refresh your supply this weekend like I did!

And someone follow up with me on August 1st and make sure we made it to that tiny museum!




Four Patriotic Decor Tips for Under Five Dollars

Four Patriotic Decor Tips for Under Five Dollars

Four Patriotic Decor Tips for Under Five Dollars

With the end of the school year and the flurry of activities that always accompanies this month, Memorial Day has a way of sneaking up on me!  Can anyone relate?!

While I love to decorate for summer, I don’t leave the patriotic décor out for the entire summer.  I enjoy finding ways to simply add it to my summer décor without having to redo everything.  Since I prefer some subtle touches, this style of decorating lends itself to being simple and easy…perfect for the laid-back summer months!

In case there is anyone out there scrambling a little this summer…or just loves decorating for the summer holidays…I thought I would share my favorite ways to add some patriotic touches to my décor for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July!

I usually start decorating for summer around the end of May and especially since we live in Florida, I love breaking out the box of sea shells and coral to get me started.  Even if you don’t live near a beach, summer is a fun time to add just a touch of that coastal vibe.  You can find all of my favorite summer décor ideas HERE.  Think of your ideal summer vacation home or resort and look for ways to implement that feeling throughout your home.

I bring these main elements into my summer décor:

  • White, light colors
  • Touches of light blue
  • Woven textures
  • Natural elements like coral and shells
  • Fresh greenery (convenient since we have palm trees all over our yard!)

If you haven’t decorated for summer yet, don’t worry!  You can still use these quick and simple ideas to bring that patriotic feeling into your home for Memorial Day or the Fourth of July!

Flag Bouquet

I like to pick up these packs of flags at the dollar store or dollar spot.  You can even find them at the grocery store sometimes.  They usually come as a set of 3 for $1, so with your five dollars, you can create a few flag bouquets!  I usually iron them, then gently roll them up and let go.  That gives them a slightly “unfurled” affect at the ends!


To create your flag bouquet, simple gather a handful of small flags (I prefer an odd number) and place them in a favorite jar, vase, bottle, or pitcher.  You can add a jar of flags to almost any side table, mantel, or vignette for a patriotic touch.  Or try creating a collection of flag bouquets in mismatched ironstone pitchers or old jars for more of a statement!

Flag Bottles

This idea certainly isn’t original with me and I’ve seen it all over the place.  But sometimes the most simple ideas are the ones I forget about!  Another favorite way to use flags in my Memorial Day or Fourth of July décor is to line up some old bottles and put a single flag in each one.  I especially love how they look with this mix of old French bottles.  Some of them have that light blue tint that adds even a little more pop of summer color!


A row of bottles and flags makes the perfect mantel or shelf décor!  You can even line them up for a super quick, simple, and inexpensive centerpiece!

Any kind of bottle will work for this, whether they are old milk-style bottles, vintage European bottles, or even old soda bottles!  This is a great time to use those old Coke and Pepsi bottles from the dusty corner shelf of the antique mall!



One of the most quick and simple ways to add some patriotic touches to your décor for the holiday is to grab those dollar store flags and stick them in some of the plants around your home!  I even do this outside, adding them to pots and baskets of plants and flowers!  This is a great way to get a lot of “bang for your buck”, as you are using your existing décor and turning it into a holiday statement piece with the flag! 

If you need a fast centerpiece, gather a few plants from around your home.  Arrange them on your table and stick a flag in each one!  It will look like you put a lot of thought and intentionality into the design!  You just can’t go wrong with pretty greenery and a festive flag!



I add flags to plants on my coffee and side tables, kitchen island, mantel, and console tables.  Even 2 or 3 flags added to plants in each room will add a festive vibe…and it will only cost you a couple of dollars!

Floral or Greenery Arrangements


If you’ve been following along with me for very long at all, you know I am pretty unlikely to have bright flowers inside our home.  Okay…on the exterior too.  We just planted rows of white Vinca.  I actually do get colored flowers on rare occasions, but Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are not those times.  I love to make more of a subtle statement with an arrangement of white flowers and then…you guessed it…stick in a flag or two from my dollar spot haul!  Once the holiday is over, I can pull the flags out, put them in a drawer for the next season, and still enjoy the bright, white flowers with my summer décor!

That being said, you can get really creative with colored flowers for the summer holidays!  Sunflowers with flags in the bouquet make a bold, summer farmhouse statement.  For a more elegant approach, a vase of red roses can add a pretty statement to your patriotic décor!  If you have wildflowers in your area, consider jars of pretty wild flowers lining the table and then add a simple flag to each one! 

I’ll be honest, I don’t usually (actually, I don’t think I ever have) spent a lot of money on flowers for Memorial Day or Fourth of July décor!  Since I already have some coastal vibes in my summer décor, I like to cut some fresh palm branches and put them in a pitcher or vase, then adding a flag for a patriotic touch.  I like to get a few of the larger flags to use in my tall pitchers and vases.  Really, just a pretty pitcher, full of greenery from your yard and a big flag makes a beautiful statement.  You could add this to an entryway table, kitchen island, or dining table.  I also like to add this kind of piece to the middle of our BBQ buffet table for a festive look!

The greenery definitely helps with the budget-friendly décor, but whether you treat yourself to some flowers or just free greenery from your yard, a nice arrangement with a larger flag will definitely make a statement in your home for the holiday!

All that’s left is for you to grab a pack of flags and place them around your home!  I hope this has sparked an idea or two…or maybe reminded you that simple décor shouldn’t be underrated!  Have a safe, fun, and happy holiday!




Beautiful Driveway DIY for Affordable Curb Appeal

Beautiful Driveway DIY for Affordable Curb Appeal

Beautiful Driveway DIY for Affordable Curb Appeal

Our driveway was a long ribbon of ugliness–until we changed all that! We are loving this budget friendly driveway DIY with lots of curb appeal!

I’ve never tried to pretend like this blog is the ultimate resource for DIY and I won’t start now!  But…I do have a fun DIY that we just completed and I want to share because while it may not be the very most exciting kind of DIY, it has made an INCREDIBLE difference in our curb appeal.

While there are many things that Robb or I could figure out and do, we tend to hire out the big jobs because, quite honestly, we just don’t have time!  We both work full time and we really try to carve out time on our weekends for relaxation, rest, and most of all, time with our kids.  (Ouch, we’ve got to do better about this; it’s been extra busy lately!). So when we can, we hire out the jobs we don’t have time for or that we know are going to be frustrating to complete with our schedules.

I’ve talked about this on my Instagram before, but I think it is important to set realistic expectations for DIY.  You’ll find ALL KINDS of people doing ALL KINDS of DIY projects.  I admit, I’ve fallen guilty to comparing myself before, thinking “we should be able to do this or that too”.  The bottom line is that yes, you very well may be able to do any number of DIY projects.  They can be challenging, rewarding, fun, and even an exciting learning process.

It is also completely okay to recognize that any number of DIY jobs may fall out of the scope of a realistic expectation, depending on your skills, schedule, and even well-being!

All of that being said, Robb decided to tackle this driveway DIY project himself.  I stayed far away and tried to cheer from the sidelines!!!

Our Project


Operation Driveway DIY


We have the longest and ugliest driveway in our neighborhood, no doubt.  And ugly as it is, it was a huge selling point for us!  I love that there is plenty of space for the kids to ride bikes, roller skate, play basketball, set up corn hole or ping pong, and so many other activities.  I also absolutely love that our home sets back just a bit.  While that is common for my northern friends, it is harder to come by in South Florida.



So we had a fun driveway…but it was still ugly.

Sooooo many cracks and discolorations really made it an eyesore, but I didn’t even realize how bad it was…until it started getting good!


Driveway DIY: Painting versus Resurfacing


The optimal solution would have been to bring in professionals to completely resurface our driveway.  Some quick research told us that it was going to be WAY out of the budget, especially for something that is purely aesthetic.

At some point, way down the road, we may still save up and have the driveway resurfaced.  I can imagine concrete stamping with a pretty brick lay or stone pattern…but over 100 feet of driveway and our budget don’t match.


Realistic expectations, remember?

In a casual conversation with a family member in the concrete business, it was suggested that we “just paint it.”

Driveway DIY: Prepping the Driveway


Step One: Powerwash

We spent about $150 to have a local guy power wash our driveway.  Since we do not own a power washer, this was a cost-efficient and time-efficient solution.  Our driveway is also quite large and very long, so you likely would not have quite as much expense!

TIP:  Spray weed killer a few days prior to pressure washing.


Before & AFTER!!


Driveway DIY (20)
Driveway DIY (21)


Step Two: Caulking the Cracks


This was definitely the most grueling part of the project, as our driveway had lots of cracks.  Hopefully your driveway doesn’t require quite as much of this hot, tiring work!  Here is the process for prepping the surface for your new coating:

For smaller cracks, a tube of caulk will work just fine. However, as our project got going, we soon realized that most of the cement cracks were too wide for this application.  On to Plan B!


For most of the driveway cracks, we found applying the caulk with a putty knife from a tub worked much better.   We found that it’s very important to “pull” the edges tight with the knife or even your finger.  This leaves a smooth edge and doesn’t translate through the coating.

If the caulk drives unevenly, it’s difficult to brush or sand them smooth.  Don’t ask Robb how he knows!

Coating the Driveway


There are so many options for colors.  We wanted something light and bright and while white is usually my go-to, we opted for a very light gray.  After applying some samples, the white seemed a little too glaring and the darker gray felt a little too “silver”.  The color we chose was Behr “Foggy Morn”, which Sherwin Williams matched perfectly.

TIP:  Always take a helper with you to pick up the paint!

When choosing your driveway paint, the options can be overwhelming.  Paint, stain, epoxy, coatings, sealants–ask five people, and you’ll get five opinions!

We considered a stain or epoxy paint for our driveway.  A stain would have looked good, but wasn’t as durable as we wanted.  An epoxy would also have worked nicely, but the sheen was a bit too glossy for our taste.

We ultimately decided on a coating product, Duraplate 289.  It’s designed for driveway applications, and is fully tintable.  It’s the perfect blend of function & curb appeal!

TIP:  To save $$, open an account at your paint store. New account promotions can save 40% or more on your supplies!

One quick note:  NOT painting the grass can be a challenge!  Robb found a scrap piece of light plywood to use as a buffer to “cut-in” the edges.  If you don’t want two-toned grass for a few weeks, this works great!

Driveway DIY (18)
Driveway DIY (19)

The difference between the old driveway (even power-washed) & the newly coated area is amazing!  Now, I don’t know why we didn’t do it sooner!

Finishing Touches


Have you ever had a project that you were so excited about and it snowballed into lots of other little (or big) things?  The driveway was that kind of project for us!  We planted new flowers, using white Vinca and a type of flowering jasmine (this time, making sure it is a variation that our neighborhood rabbits won’t eat!).  We laid fresh black mulch to tie in with the black shutters and black front doors.

All of that, of course, led to a few additions to the front porch!  We cleaned our striped outdoor pillows with my favorite fabric cleaner and they look good as new!  I added these round, fringed pillows for a little summer vibe.

We put fresh plants and flowers in my favorite Walmart basket planters I actually ended up purchasing two of these sets because I love them so much.  Now, we have some for the front porch and the outdoor living space in the back!  We cleaned our white rocking chairs and Robb painted the porch a nice, fresh, bright white.

For the first time since we purchased this home and started renovating it, I can pull into our driveway without a long list of “we should do this” forming in my brain!

What outdoor projects are you tackling this spring?




Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites


Hello Friends!

This week, I’m doing something a little different for Friday Favorites. I want to share some summer outfit inspiration! I am so excited for summer and especially for summer fashion. Here is a round-up of some of my favorite summer pieces. Check them out and let me know what you will be buying for this summer.


Desert Graphic Tee


I love this tee shirt from Anthropologie!  It’s so simple, but has some stunning elements! The graphic is so cute and I love the striped detail on the sleeves.

Blue Shirtdress


I love dresses like this! So light and comfy. Perfect for summer! This color of blue is adorable. Check this one out from Target. It would be perfect for a summer vacay or just a night on the town.

Short Sleeve Button-Down


This shirt is so cute!! I love button-downs and they are just so versatile. This one is perfect for summer. I love the stripes and the cut! Let me know if you get this adorable shirt from Target!

Gingham Maxi Dress


This dress is a summer dream! I love gingham print and this color is perfect! It’s from Anthropologie and it’s definitely a splurge item, but it’s totally worth the investment! I just think it would be so cute for a family vacation, picnic, or even a beach day! It’s just so adorable!


Cotton Eyelet Dress


This dress is so simple and pretty!! I love it! How cute would this be for a summer evening sightseeing while on a vacation or a walk around historic downtown on a Saturday afternoon. It would be so cute styled with brown sandals and a straw hat! Let me know if you get this fun piece from Walmart.


I would love to hear what you are going to add to your summer wardrobe! Let me know if you grab any of these pieces and how you add them to your summer plans!

How to Create an Outdoor Dining Room

How to Create an Outdoor Dining Room

How to Create an Outdoor Dining Room

It is entirely possible that I love outdoor dining because it’s just way less mess to clean up…but that would be just one of the reasons!  Whether it’s at a restaurant or at home, there’s something about dining al fresco that feels a little more relaxed, invites you to linger a little longer, to have more of a dining experience.  Even when our kids were really little, one of their favorite things was to grill hotdogs, grab paper plates, a bag of chips, and jump in the pool after dinner!

We had a wonderful outdoor dining area at our previous home and even after four years in our current home, I still miss that space!  One of our projects this spring has been to create an outdoor dining area that comfortably seats all five of our little family!

A little DIY, hours of comparing furniture and budget and trying to decide, pulling out some vintage favorites, planting a few flowers…and we finally have our outdoor dining room!

A quick disclaimer and some real life: We are still working on this space!  There are several things we want to add and improve, mainly some additional landscaping, but we don’t have to have perfect landscaping to start using and enjoying this space!

Here are the projects we did and elements we added to create a low-maintenance, comfortable outdoor dining room:



We added this gazebo soon after moving into our home, as we couldn’t pass up a deep, end-of-summer clearance.  The 12×12 concrete pad was already there when we purchased the house; we think it had a shed at one point, so it made a great spot to add this 10×10 gazebo!  We chose the black metal to tie in with the black doors and shutters of our home’s exterior.  While this exact model isn’t available, I found similar ones HERE and HERE.

You certainly do not have to have a gazebo or even a covered area at all to create an outdoor dining space!  With our Florida weather, it’s almost a little pointless to try and have outdoor furniture set ups that stay pretty and are uncovered, unless of course, you have lots and lots of time to clean and maintain it!  It also gets very hot, so having a covered spot just makes it more enjoyable for us!

Wood Privacy Wall


This was a project we finished with a local builder friend.  The narrow slats are nailed to three verticals.  These verticals are then screwed into the metal corners.  With one more vertical in the middle for strength, I just love how it turned out!  It makes the perfect backdrop for so many decorating ideas!



Outdoor rugs can be a tricky thing, but I cannot say enough good about the outdoor rug collections from Boutique Rugs.  I love the color and texture on this one and it is the perfect complement to the modern farmhouse vibes of our outdoor living space AND the vintage look of the table and bench.

I also love that while it has some white on it, it has a gray base and hides the dirt a little better!  My rug is the Thorntonville outdoor rug in an 8×10 size!  Having a good outdoor rug is a wonderful way to make any outdoor space feel cozy and inviting, much like you would decorate an interior space!

I have a 60% off coupon code for you too!  Use the code FRENCHNEST60 to get 60% your purchase from Boutique Rugs.




TableIt took me weeks…probably close to a couple months…to finally decide on furniture!  Quality, outdoor furniture can be extremely expensive and we were really trying to make this a budget-friendly project.

When we saw this vintage farmhouse table at an antique mall, I fell in love with the wood and white tones.   It is the perfect size for our family and of course, I love that it is vintage and unique!  However, regular wood and Florida weather are not a good combination.  Part the reason that it was taking so long to decide on furniture is that we really need teak or a similar outdoor-friendly wood.

This table is none of those.



After talking to several people who work with furniture, we decided to go ahead and take a chance on this table.  We used 3 coats of polyacrylic in a matte finish.  I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that it holds up well.  The good thing is that if we see it is starting to have effects from being outside…if the polyacrylic isn’t a good enough seal…we can use it somewhere else or sell it. 

For the time being, though, we feel like we will definitely be able to get our money out of it and enjoy it in the process.  So ask me in a couple of years how the table is holding up!  I’ll have to come back and update this blog post!

At the end of this post, I am linking up some other outdoor dining furniture that we were considering, prior to finding this vintage table, in case you’re looking for a great set!

Chairs:  I really wanted to find a chair that would be able to tie together the vintage table and the more “modern farmhouse” style of the exterior of our home.  These chairs have a nice, light coloring that complements the table.  I love the more boho/modern farmhouse vibe of the design and it was just the kind of look I was hoping to find!  They are really comfortable and will be easy to maintain as well!  Win-win!

This particular set was also a budget-friendly option, as it came in the set of four.  Combining it with a bench we already had, made this a great option for our family!


Bench:  Believe it or not, this bench was a FREEBIE!  My husband brought it home for me from a trash pile last summer!  We didn’t have a good spot for it at the time, but I am so glad we held onto it because it’s the perfect combination with our tables and chairs!



Whenever I’m decorating in an exterior space, I try to think about function and maintenance FIRST

For an everyday look, I added this planter from Lowe’s and a low-maintenance Ponytail Palm.  I love the vintage, pottery look of the planter but it was a fraction of the price of high-end retail stores!  I also added these outdoor “Caleb” lanternsI only use lanterns outside that have NO GLASS!  They are a lot easier to maintain and stay looking fresh for much longer!  I included quality, outdoor battery-operated candlesThey are on a timer and I love the inviting feeling when they flicker on in the evenings!

The vintage Cherries sign is such a fun piece and is a great way to add a big statement for wall décor!  It’s also low-maintenance, as it is sturdy, made to be outdoors, and doesn’t require major cleaning to keep it looking great!  Vintage produce signs are a great way to add some character to an outdoor dining room and I love the play-on-words with the fruit and vegetable names!

Outdoor throw pillows are another great way to add a lot of texture, color, and pattern to an outdoor space.  For throw pillows in our outdoor spaces that are NOT under cover and stay out all the time, I highly recommend investing in great quality.  I have had my Sunbrella striped pillows for several years now and they still look great!  Outdoor pillows can be found in all price ranges.  However, I do not spend very much money (more than $25-30) on an outdoor pillow UNLESS it is one of the Sunbrella styles. 

This seat cushion from H&M is becoming one of my favorite finds, and is super affordable!

Otherwise, I can usually plan to get a year or so out of an inexpensive outdoor throw pillow.  Since we use our outdoor spaces year-round, I do not bring our cushions/pillows in or store them.  They stay outside in the elements 24/7, year-round (unless we are getting tropical storm or hurricane warnings!). I do have some seasonal outdoor throw pillows for the front porch that I rotate around.

I’m linking up some of my favorite outdoor throw pillow finds from this year at the end of my post.  Pillows are a relatively inexpensive way to add a quick refresh and update to any outdoor space!

Outdoor Place Settings


To create this outdoor tablescape, I used some recent finds to dress up the table, while still keeping it simple and kid-friendly.  I started with this table runner and jute placemats.  They are inexpensive but have great texture and pattern.  They gave an instant “special” feeling to the table!  Since they were not expensive purchases, I am comfortable with having us dine as a family here without worrying too much about spills.

I added these melamine dishes from Flower and Home Marketplace.  I love the slate gray chargers and striped plates for a casual, outdoor dining pattern!  I also have white bowls that are perfect for an evening treat of watermelon or ice cream!

I added my shop rag napkins, black flatware, and these adorable shell dishes.  I love how they add a little summer, coastal vibe and they were really inexpensive also!  A perfect little summer addition to your table!

I finished off the table by using my European, vintage pickling jars and a few palm branches from the trees in our yard (more free décor!).  The pickling jars have those faint hints of green and blue that fit so beautifully with the light, summer textures!  They are perfect for filling with flowers, greenery, or just looking pretty all by themselves!



I hope this post inspires you to find a spot around your yard to turn into an outdoor dining area!  Consider even a folding table with a pretty tablecloth for a temporary set up!  Simple, thoughtful touches and a beautiful summer evening are the perfect combination!



How to Make Summer Styling Affordable in Six Simple Ways

How to Make Summer Styling Affordable in Six Simple Ways

How to Make Summer Styling Affordable in Six Simple Ways

Summer is here, and it’s time for some summer styling tips! I love to lighten our home with texture, summer objects & touches of glass!

Summer break is just a few, short days away and We.  Cannot.  Wait!  One of the huge blessings of being a teacher is getting to really enjoy the summer months with my own kiddos.  It is not lost on me that the years are FLYING by and the amount of summers that I have left with our oldest at home are quickly shrinking.  It makes me more determined than ever to carve out special moments and those begin right at home.

While we have some amazing memories of summer vacations and trips, I want to beef up our memory deposit bank of special moments at home.  This summer is a bit unusual because we don’t have any big vacations planned (we are planning something special later in the year!).  I decided to work a little harder to help our home have that “summer vacation” vibe and I’m excited to share these summer decorating tips with you!

Whether you’ve started transitioning to summer décor already or are waiting until the holiday weekend, I hope these ideas help you prepare to create a summer vacation home feeling…right at HOME!  For myself, I know I can really be guilty of doing project after project, job after job, waiting for my “vacation moments” to be off in another place.  The reality is that while home certainly has its busy times and requires consistent and diligent work to maintain, it is also supposed to be a place of refuge.  A place to rest.

Maybe it’s just our family, but I imagine we aren’t alone.  Especially after this crazy year.  We need some time to rest at home!

Since school is almost out, I set to work, trying to create a “summer vacation home” vibe in our own house!  Here are a few ideas to help you get started doing the same:

#1: Summer Styling Texture


You may have already started this process through the spring, but summer is the perfect time to continue lightening up those textures around your home!  Here are a few ideas:

  • Replace chunky knit blankets with light, gauzy ones.  I purchased this one for an inexpensive touch of summer.
  • Replace thick throw pillow covers with light colored, light-weight options, such as linen.  I love THIS budget-friendly one for a summer statement on the sofa!
  • Add beach-friendly textures, such as woven baskets and jute rugs.



It is amazing how a cute beach hat thrown over the corner of a chair or a fun woven market basket on a hook can add just that perfect summer vibe to a space.  Remember, simple is the name of the summer game!  One of the fun things about summer décor is that little touches here and there are all it takes.  (Rest up for the fall and Christmas seasons, where it is a full-on décor explosion!!!)


#2: Summer Styling Color


As with any décor, this is an area that you can just make the décor your own!  If you like lots of color, spring and summer are perfect opportunities to sprinkle it everywhere!  If you are more like me and enjoy a more neutral color palette, summer is a fun chance to add subtle touches of color.

With the “summer vacation home” thought in mind, subtle touches of blue and green can take you away to those beach or lakeside moments! 

Here are a few ways I add color into my summer décor:

  • Throw pillows with a hint of color.  Throw pillows are a great chance to play around with décor because they don’t have to cost a lot, the covers are easy to store from season to season, and they can easily make a big statement in any room!  I added these blue and white striped ones from Olde Tyme Marketplace.  While these are made from vintage fabric, you can find some pillows with great touches of summer color HERE, HERE, and HERE.
  • Art.  I enjoy collecting inexpensive, vintage art pieces from flea markets and vintage shops to add to my seasonal décor.  It is a great way to get a curated look and small art pieces are easy to wrap up and store in the off-season!  I look for these at thrift stores, as well as antique malls, and you can usually find some smaller pieces for great deals!  Tuck them into a gallery wall or lean against a book stack on a shelf for a collected, thoughtful touch.
  • Throw blankets.  I mentioned this under the texture category as well, but throw blankets are another budget-friendly way to add a little color to your summer décor.  In addition to the one I purchased, you can find some other great options HERE and HERE.  Tossed over a chair or cascading out of a basket, light-weight throw blankets offer the idea and feeling that you can curl up with a glass of sweet tea and a good book, or relax during those long summer evenings with a favorite movie!

#3 Summer Styling Objects


Living in Florida, a little coastal flair is an obvious choice for summer décor and we do have fun with our beach-vibes around our home!  The term “coastal décor” can get interesting really fast, with lots of souvenir-style items.  I prefer to add some coastal touches through natural elements like coral, shells, sponges, and sea fans.

Since we live on the East Coast, it is very unusual to find bigger shells and that type of thing right on the beach.  All of my big pieces are ones that I have purchased from the local seashell shop or from antique stores!  Coral can be very expensive, but adding a few pieces to your summer collection can go a long way in bringing those summer vacation home vibes right into your home!


I also look for creative ways to style coastal elements, in keeping with the vintage look of our home.  Adding a piece of coral to a mortar and pestle or tucking a sea fan in a planter makes an instantaneous summer look and is worth every penny! 

I shared some summer styling ideas over on THIS POST and there are some fun and easy ways to incorporate a few of those objects into your existing vignettes.

You are looking for pieces that you can easily add into your existing décor or styling very simply with your favorite vintage collections!

If you do not live near a coastal area, there are great options for purchasing natural, coastal elements online too!  You can fill a bowl with starfish from HERE or find some specimen coral pieces HERE.

#4 Summer Styling Greenery


Admittedly, this is a super easy one for me, but it may not be quite as natural or easy for you!  Our property is lined with areca palms, so I often cut fresh branches and bring them inside.  There is nothing like fresh palm branches to add a summer vacation home vibe to the dining room or kitchen island!

You may be able to find small palm-style plants at a greenhouse or landscape place.  A fresh palm set in a pretty basket or bucket will make a perfect centerpiece to enjoy all summer long!

No matter where you live, summer is a great time to bring some of the lush, fresh greenery from around your home inside!  Pretty branches tucked into a vintage vessel is my favorite summer centerpiece!

I especially love the vintage, European pickling jars for summer.  The tint of blue/green gives an ever-so-subtle nod to beach glass and just a perfect hint of color!  They make the perfect vases for summer greenery or flowers…or look beautiful all on their own!

#5 Summery Styling Glass


Speaking of pickling jars, glass is another favorite element for summer décor!  I like to use glass décor all year long, but especially in the summertime, I pull out my vintage soda bottles, cloches, glass pitchers, and vintage jars to decorate with.



The vintage soda bottles, rather like the pickling jars, often have a tint of blue or green to them.  This is a great way to add some subtle summer color while investing in vintage pieces that you can enjoy for years to come.



Cloches are my favorite way to display simple, coastal items and grouped together, they can really make a big statement in your décor!  I styled several of them together in the dining room, along with stacks of ironstone and coral, for a summer display.

Summer is a time when I tend to remove most (not all) of my brass and stick with glass items that have a lighter feel in a room.



#6 Summer Styling Function


This element will vary greatly depending on your location and lifestyle.  Living in Florida, there are many summer days that it is literally too hot for the kids to play outdoors…or for this mom to sit out there and supervise them…so we are constantly at the beach or in the pool.

I will add pool towels to the dining buffet (because it is right inside the door from the pool!), along with baskets of sunscreen, sunglasses, and bug spray.  On days when we will be at home and in the pool most of the day, I’ll add a basket of snacks.

Honestly…this is nothing about décor and everything to do with the kids not dripping water all over the house…but I do love the décor statement that a stack of cute pool towels makes!  It calls for easy, laid-back relaxation and poolside lounging.  Sounds like vacation to me! 

Sidenote: I absolutely LOVE summer laundry.  Beach towels and swimwear for days on end!  You can find our favorite, inexpensive pool towels HERE.

If water activities aren’t your summer thing, cute baskets with outdoor games and activities give that same invitation for a leisurely, relaxing summer day!

Whatever it is that your family does to relax in the summer, keep it close by, easy for everyone to access, and store or display in a spot that is readily available!  You can even incorporate vintage into this storage/organization with vintage picnic baskets, buckets, woven baskets, or crates!



No matter your season or stage of life, I hope you find some time this summer to unwind, slow down, and enjoy making your own home a restful, vacation retreat!



Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Hello Friends!

            Summer is right around the corner!  This week I shared more of our porch/outside update. I also shared about dough bowl styling and transitional decor to go from spring to Summer. With all of that, I have a few favorite things I just have to share with you! I hope you like these items!


Throw Pillows


I love a good throw pillow! These ones have lots of cute summer patterns and texture while keeping a neutral theme that I just love so much!! There are so many cute options out there this season, but here are a few of my favorites.

Metal Lantern


I have this lantern and I love it! There is just something about pieces like this that really make a statement and bring a space together without being too overbearing or dramatic. This is just a staple piece that looks great for summer, but would be good for any time of year. Let me know how you style it this summer!

Jute Placemats


I love tablescapes! Every Tuesday I create a tablescape design to share with you and I have learned so much about setting a pretty table. Placemats are one of those things that just make a table look so put together and inviting! These placemats are perfect for summer!

Dough Bowls


Dough bowls are just such a fun vintage staple piece. I love using them all over my house! I shared here how to style them for summer. This one is so beautiful! Someone grab it and let me know how you are going to style it for Summer!


Tasseled Table Runner


A good table runner is something else that can really add a lot to a tablescape. I love this one from H&M! It’s just so beautiful!! I love the neutral basic color scheme and think it would be such a good addition to any summer table.

Wicker Tray


I love baskets! They add a good texture and vintage feel to any space. I also love that they are functional pieces that can be used for storage. I found this one and had to share it with you! This one is so cute and is just begging to be styled for summer! SO many things you could do with this, but I would love to hear how you would style it! Let me know and get it here.


I would love to hear how you would style these items in your home! Let me know what you are going to grab from this week’s Friday Favorites!

How to Easily Style Your Dough Bowl for Summer

How to Easily Style Your Dough Bowl for Summer

How to Easily Style Your Dough Bowl for Summer

I love seasonal decorating.  Not that I need an excuse for rearranging and redecorating around our home, but if I did, changing for the seasons is the perfect opportunity!  I think summer sometimes gets overlooked.  We have bunnies and tulips for spring, pumpkins in the fall, a flurry of décor at Christmas and through the winter.

But what about summer?

Summer is the PERFECT time to have a little fun with your décor!  Unlike other seasons, there isn’t a “theme”, necessarily, other than a little patriotic fun for the Fourth of July!  Instead, summer décor is all about lightening things up, minimizing (just a bit), and refreshing with things that call for fun during the day, relaxing evenings, and as little maintenance as possible.  It is summer vacation, after all!

Especially since we live in Florida, I love to use the summer months as a time to bring a little vintage coastal into our décor…and the perfect way to incorporate all the shells the kids bring home from the beach!


I also focus on refreshing vignettes throughout our home, simplifying them a bit and adding light, bright pieces and a touch of that coastal vibe.  Dough bowls are a great way to build vignettes and I especially love them for the summer, because you can just slide it over to make room for that board game or puzzle!  They can be simple, easy to clean, easy to move, and still give you a great summer vibe!

I’m going to share three simple dough bowl styling ideas that I love to use in the summer months!  If you don’t have a dough bowl (or are like me and need more than one), I’m linking up some fabulous ones at the end of this post!.

Don’t have a dough bowl?  No worries!  You can recreate these vignettes (or similar looks) with baskets, trays, crates, and bread boards.  So I’ll link a few of those for you as well, both vintage and also some new ones that have a great summer aesthetic!

Summer décor, for me, is all about these essentials:

  • Light and bright colors, white, light gray, light blue (rolling some of that spring décor right into summer!)
  • Light textures
  • Simple styling
  • Mix of woods and whites
  • Green plants
  • White ironstone
  • Light wood tones
  • Natural textures, such as baskets and jute
  • Function: Pool towels, sunscreen, healthy snacks are all quick and easy to reach


So, let’s get to styling those dough bowls!

Round Dough Bowl


This is such a fun bowl that brings back great memories!  This was the first dough bowl I ever purchased and I found it at a little shop in Rome, Italy.  It was my first time to visit Europe and I think I got this on the first day of our trip.  We lugged it through Italy and Switzerland, but it was well worth it and I’ve been decorating with it for 16 years!

There are some great pieces out right now that have this large, round, wooden shape.  You can find a gorgeous one HERE very inexpensively!

Round dough bowls are a little harder to come by, especially large ones, but I love that they provide an opportunity for great function or can be purely for décor.  I styled this dough bowl a couple of different ways to give you some ideas!

Functional Dough Bowl:


You can use great décor pieces for wonderfully functional purposes!  I like to keep poolside essentials out and ready for the kids, as the pool is our go-to for Florida summers.  (Sometimes it is literally too hot to play outside unless you’re in the water!). I styled my round dough bowl with pool essentials, including snacks, ready for a great summer vacation day.

Parenting Tip: I find that when I have snacks readily available…and the kids know that when they are gone, they are gone…I get a few less “Mom, can I have a snack?” moments in my day!  Who can relate???

I love being able to use pretty items for these functional purposes.  Dough bowls are great because they are super durable and I’m not working about a kiddo breaking, scratching, or damaging it!  Win-win for all of us!

Decorative Dough Bowl:


A round dough bowl is the perfect opportunity for a simple vignette.  Since this bowl is quite large, I can create a trio of items (remember that décor triangle!) using things that are a bit bigger.  You can create your vignette based on the size and scale of your bowl, basket, or tray.

I used a European pickling jar  filled with fresh areca palm fronds from our yard.  Free décor for the win!  Any green branches from around your yard will be perfect in a pretty jar!  I added a large coral piece that I picked up from an antique shop and a couple of vintage books.  I love that the book titles themselves add to the décor!  When shopping for vintage books, pay attention to the details of the titles!  Sometimes you can really add a thoughtful detail that way.


Small Dough Bowl


Large dough bowls can be fun to style, but sometimes, they just aren’t as practical, depending on the space in your home.  A small dough bowl can be a great accent on a side table, entry table, or even by the kitchen sink!  I picked up this small dough bowl at a streetside flea market in Paris many years ago.  It was a great size to fit in my suitcase…and a great size to use for years to come!

Vintage dough bowls can be pricey, so a small one is a great chance to get a vintage piece that doesn’t cost quite as much.  There are also good reproduction bowls out there that look nice and are a bit more budget-friendly.

Functional Dough Bowl:


I switched things up a little and added this small dough bowl to my kitchen sink area.  I refreshed my soap to a summertime scent, put out a fresh sponge and my dish brush.  To make it feel pretty, I added a miniature, vintage lab glass with a simple fern stem!  Simple, super functional, and pretty too!

Decorative Dough Bowl:


Using that same lab glass, combined with a couple others, I created a little arrangement with my dough bowl as the base.  I cut a few fern stems from my bushes outside (more free décor!) and added them to these vintage lab glass pieces.  You could use miniature vases for a similar look!  I love the lab glass because it is just a little way to add more character to the arrangement!

Large Dough Bowl


My large dough bowl is such a fun one to decorate with.  You can find some styling ideas HERE and tweak them for summertime!  For me, this bowl is really more decorative.  Since it has a rounded bottom, it limits the use in some ways.  However, a large dough bowl is a fun way to set things up for a summertime BBQ!

Functional Dough Bowl:


Toss in individual bags of chips, or line with saran wrap and add watermelon slices and fruit skewers!  You can even use it to hold the hamburger and hotdog buns, making those a statement instead of sticky plastic bags everywhere!

If you have a group of friends coming for some poolside fun, consider rolling up your pool towels in the large dough bowl and placing it on the outdoor table for quick and easy access!  We love these beach towels…neutral, inexpensive, and soft!  I love pieces like this dough bowl, because getting splashed with water isn’t going to ruin it and you can keep a pretty aesthetic for even the essentials!


Decorative Dough Bowl:


There are so many fun ways to style up a big bowl.  One of my favorites is to fill it with a coastal collection!  Living on the east side of Florida, we don’t tend to find large shells on our beaches.  But there is a GREAT seashell tourist shop just down the road and over the years, I’ve collected quite a stash of starfish for various events and parties.  I love to toss them all in my big dough bowl and use it on the TV console.

Collections make great decorative statements!


A few starfish incorporated into a vignette here and there look pretty and add a touch of coastal.  An entire dough bowl filled with starfish?  That makes a big statement!  If you want to add a quick, simple coastal statement, grab some starfish and toss them into a bowl or basket.  I love the organic shape, white color, and pretty texture!

If you don’t have a seashell shop near you, you can find some HERE and HERE.

No matter what your summer plans, remember that home should be your first retreat.  With a little refreshing, restyling, and imagination, you can create a summertime haven…one vignette at a time!




Curb Appeal on a Budget

Curb Appeal on a Budget

Curb Appeal on a Budget

I’m excited to share with you one of the top requested DIY projects from our exterior…which happens to be my very favorite one too!  To fully appreciate why this is my favorite, let’s take a quick walk down memory lane to 2017…

The first thing that might make you cringe could be that bright color, right?  No offense to those who love bright colors…I actually love them in small doses…but not all over my house!  You can see why we were ready to dump white allllllllll over the exterior of our home!

We also knew we really wanted to add an extension to the front porch.  For the size of our home, it’s a rather small concrete pad that acts as a porch.  Especially coming from our former home that had a wrap-around porch, I was desperate to make this not only look inviting, but to be a space we could truly enjoy.

We had to wait a year and a half to let the dust settle on the extensive, whole-house renovation on the interior, but as soon as we were able to consider options for the front porch and landscape, I literally couldn’t wait!

Living in South Florida, we deal with very strict building codes and permits.  After some investigation, adding more concrete and building out the front porch was going to require extensive permits that would put us way over our budget.

With the help of a fresh eye from a local friend, we put together this design and got to work.


I think it’s important to insert here that in the home décor/DIY world, we can get caught up in thinking we have to do everything ourselves.  Let this be your gentle reminder that it is perfectly fine to hire someone to do the jobs that you either don’t have time to do or don’t know how to do!  In our case, my husband and I both work full-time.  It was more cost effective for us to do our jobs and pay someone to do part of this!


Onto the job…we paid a local builder to build and install the pergola areas.  Because they are free-standing, we could avoid a lot of headache with building codes.  The columns are deeply buried in concrete and have already withstood a small hurricane and multiple tropical storms!  We used cedar wood for the pergola so it will last us for many, many years to come, even with our extremely hot and humid climate.

On either side of the cement front porch, I really wanted spaces that felt like an extension of the interior and gave some extra curb appeal.  Our home has a little bit of the southern vibe in the way it is built, especially with the extra tall windows, and with a little creativity, we were able to add a ton of charm here.

Here is how we added the pavers and turf to extend our porch area:


Paver and Turf DIY


We enlisted the help of a college guy to help with some of the grunt work and make this project move along a little faster!  The most difficult part of the project was clearing the space and making it perfectly level.

Once that was done, it was sprayed well with weed killer and the paver part was begun.  We chose to lay them on a diagonal to give a little more interest to the space.  Living close to Jupiter Island, I was inspired by this kind of design that can be found in those southern-style mansions!  (Not that we live in a mansion, but any stretch of the imagination, but curb appeal can add so much impact to even a tiny home!)

Once the space was cleared, we spread a layer of fill material over the existing dirt and sand.   A short black plastic border helped keeps things in order.

We then rented a small compactor to form the loose gravel & soils into a firm bed.  One note here:  A hand tool will do the trick, but will cost you in time (and blisters!).  If you can make it work, rent the mechanical compactor!  This is for sure the most time consuming step–but the most important!



We choose to use artificial turf  between the pavers so that no matter the season, this space would always look fresh and manicured.  This turf grass was reasonably priced and has held up incredibly well for almost 3 years now.  It hasn’t faded or become worn, even though this pergola area gets all the weather elements.

We chose to space the pavers 4 inches apart and cut the turf strips to exactly 4 inches.  Using stakes, we secured the turf every 12-18 inches, being certain to give it extra security around the border.


We finished out this porch and pergola space with a pair of vintage swings that we picked up at a flea market for $30.  Yes, thirty dollars for the PAIR!  Talk about budget friendly!  We will eventually need to replace these, but they have served us well so far.  Our kids like to go outside and read and I love to see them using this space!

This paver and turf idea would work great for any outdoor space where you want a hard, concrete space with a softer look.  It would be great under a gazebo, beside a pool, surrounding a garden shed, or use it as a base to create an outdoor living area!

We had the outdoor coffee table custom built with the same wood as the pergola.  I love how it ties it all together and is the perfect spot to rest your feet, a drink, a book, or all of the above!  Since this space gets all the weather elements, it was important to have a table built with wood that will stand the test of time (and weather).  There are lots of cute outdoor coffee tables available, especially in the spring, but a custom option worked great for us. 

I invested in high-quality outdoor pillows for this space as well.  I knew regular outdoor pillows would fade and fall apart within a year or two. These pillows are easy to clean up and look as good as new in no time!  Even in three years, they haven’t faded, which says a lot in the Florida sun!  I love the look of the black and white stripe and how versatile they are for every season.  It’s easy to add some punches of different seasonal colors and décor to this space, or leave it simple and clean with just the black and white!

White rocking chairs, some outdoor planter baskets from Walmart, and new wreaths from Target spruced up this space and when I pull in the driveway, it feels like a good place to come home to.

Remember, curb appeal isn’t as much about what the neighbors think of your home as it is about how you feel when you arrive home!