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2011: New Year, New Life (?)

2011 will mark some major milestones in my life:

March 2011: David and I will welcome our first child -- a boy.
May 2011: David will turn 30.
June 2011: I will turn 30.
September 2011: David and I will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.
November 2011: Marks my 5th year as a licensed attorney (unfortunately, I'll be missing my 5th year reunion in April due to above mentioned baby). Of course, that still makes me the baby of our legal department, but there is something to be said for getting past the first few, really tough years of being a young attorney.

In many ways, the dawn of the second decade of the now not-so-new millennium marks Dave's and my entrance into actual adulthood. Sure, we've technically been adults for over a decade, but I'll admit that we both indulged in the extended adolescence that our society has long allowed twenty-somethings. And we've very much enjoyed all the traveling, eating out, etc. that our disposable income and lack of kids has allowed us. Am I a bit scared at the prospect of this transition? Absolutely, but I think I'm finally ready to embrace adulthood, motherhood and this new year.

But enough of the serious stuff; have a wonderful New Year's Eve and a very Happy New Year! See y'all back next week for some updates on the nursery (I swear my absence in blogland this week is due primarily to being productive!) and more design inspiration.

Photograph courtesy of Elle Canada.

Wrap it up!

You know when you come across something and it encompasses your style completely?  Well that's how I felt when I saw this lamp.  It was love at first sight.  This is me all wrapped up in a lamp and it needs to be in my house!!  The pair would look so good in my living room.  I found them at a great little home decor store called Stella Bleu.  They have a great selection of pretty chandeliers to modern glam furniture and accessories.  They are always a go to store for me when I'm looking for something special.  Now I need to convince the husband that these lamps are a necessity!

Looking for something modern?

I am currently working on a modern family room with minimal colour.  A neutral pallet with great texture can be achieved by mixing fabric, metals and wood tones.  This is a great way to keep a modern space from feeling too cold.  Take note of the beautiful painting done by my friend and designer Karla Amadatsu from Kerrisdale Design.

Throw pillows by Woody Liana and Caitlin Wilson 

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'm off for the next few days enjoying some quality time with the family and some much needed R&R. I'll be back next week though with plenty of updates on the nursery (including some DIYs) as I scurry to get the room in shape before returning to work in January.


P.S. - The winner of the Bold & Noble Noah's Ark print is #19 -- Mary! Thanks to everyone who entered and congratulations, Mary! I'll be in touch about shipment later today.

*Holiday card designed by my friend Natalie, owner of the lovely stationery boutique Sicily Eason.*

I love Ruby Love's Modern Baby Books

I'll admit that I'm a big fan of documenting everything (I'm a lawyer, after all!) and I cherish the baby books my mother and grandmother made for me. But a lot of the books on the market today just strike me as a bit too cheesy, a bit too...well, babyish. Cue a random (but most welcome email) from my blogging buddy Laura over at JourneyChic a few weeks ago recommending Etsy seller Ruby Love's gorgeous baby books. Needless to say, I ordered one immediately and I love it so much I just had to pass the recommendation on to y'all. There are, of course, a lot of great baby books available on the market today, but here are a few reasons that I think Ruby Love's makes the top of my list:

1. There's a wide assortment of styles/colors to choose from -- and plenty of not-so-cutesy options that may appeal to your more sophisticated side. [By the way, if you're interested, I happened to select the "Ryland" option for myself.] Because let's face it, you're going to have to live with plenty of cartoons, and kid stuff for the next, oh, decade, so I say pick what you like now before your baby forms his or her own opinion.

2.  The books come as 3-ring albums, which means you can customize, add or subtract pages to your heart's content. I love that I'm not constricted by stupid prompts or left staring at blank pages because I didn't get around to documenting Baby Conn's first sneeze (just toss that page!). This leads me to reason #3...

3. While the standard album comes with plenty of great prompts (personal favorite includes "This Day in History", which reminds me of my Grandma saving the major headlines of the year of my birth -- something I will always treasure) and lots of blank pages for your photographs, there are loads of supplemental pages you can purchase to beef up your album and even extend it into your child's toddle hood (assuming, of course, you haven't completely abandoned documenting your child's every move out of to sheer exhaustion).

If, however, none of Ruby Love's albums strike your fancy but you're still looking for something modern and fun, I'd suggest checking out my two runners up: Baby's First Book over at Rag & Bone and the Binth Baby Book. Any of these would make a wonderful holiday or shower gift for an expectant or new mom.

Thom Felicia at Calico Corners

Not sure if I'm the last to know but it's news to me!  Now I have another reason to shop at Calico.

Win a Bold & Noble Screen Print!

So a few weeks ago I ordered the Noah's Ark print in turquoise from English design collective Bold & Noble for the nursery. Unfortunately, they initially sent me the print in poppy red -- a great color, but definitely not what I ordered. Quick to make amends, however, B&N shipped me the turquoise version and offered to let me keep the red version for myself.

Well, of course the first thing I thought of was that I should give it away to one of my readers -- tis the season, after all! And so, if you'd like this gorgeous, hand pulled print for yourself, all you need do is leave a comment to this post (Note: please include your email address). A random winner will be selected on Wednesday, December 22. Good luck and happy weekend!

The Backyard is (Finally) Finished!

Back in August I posted some pictures showing off some preliminary work we'd done to our backyard. Well, four months later I am thrilled to report that we've finally finished landscaping and that I couldn't be happier with the finished results. While we spent a huge chunk of my 2010 bonus on the yard, both Dave and I believe that we've managed to create a little something out of the ordinary, something that would set our home apart from our neighbors, and somewhere that we'd be happy to spend our spare time given that Baby Boy Conn's arrival will almost certainly mean an end to our big trips (at least for now). In short, I think it was worth the money...and the wait.

Probably the single biggest change to the yard was the extension of the patio and the construction of the pergola. We decided to go with the same brick as the house and the same paint as the trim for a seamless look and I must say that the finished product looks like it came with the house.

Our landscaper Kevin insisted that we must have pots (and big ones!) for annuals and some small citrus. Dave was hesitant initially (both because of cost and an inexplicable aversion to pots) but we found some simple, inexpensive gray pots at a local garden center that blended perfectly with the crushed granite beds and that we're both happy with. I must say that these may be my single favorite element in the design as they add both height and color around the patio.

The side entrance to the backyard has been transformed from ho-hum to something quite lovely. Note the Meyer Lemon tree on the right. I can't wait for those babies to ripen so I can use them to make some lemon pistachio cookies for the holidays! We still need to add a few pavers to the pathway (and let the grass grow back in), but come spring when the hydrangea bloom this corner of the yard will be almost magical.

We decided to erect a few screens to block the view of our red brick fence (which isn't awful, of course, but it does rather clash with the brick on our house). I love the circle motif on the screens, which echo the circular fire pit and break up all the straight lines of the fences. Vegetation is a mix of tropicals (an orchid tree, hibiscus), citrus (several orange varietals), native Texas plants, and more traditional garden plants (camilas, roses, etc.).

Absolutely love the vivid silver of the Texas sage, especially against the darker green of the rose bushes. Can you see the large planters behind the screens? They've been seeded with wildflowers and I'm looking forward to seeing what pops up this spring.

The patio extension and fire pit are flanked by six crepe myrtles, which come spring will be in full bloom through most of the summer. We've planted a few wisteria at the base of the pergola. Kevin promises that they'll quickly grow up and along the pergola, creating a wonderful canopy of violet and deep green. I love the romantic quality of wisteria -- there's something very Southern about it -- and I look forward to spending some quiet afternoons sitting outside, sipping lemonade and playing with the baby.

Ah the fire pit: Dave's big "want" that I'll admit I was a bit dubious of at first. I insisted we put it away from the house and Kevin came up with a great solution for making it blend in perfectly with the rest of the design. The low wall behind it provides excellent seating for toasting marshmallows or just sipping a beer or two. We actually built a fire on Sunday for the first time and had a lovely time sitting outside in the chilly weather enjoying the smell of burning wood (it's rather intoxicating, no?) and watching the fire. I'm having family over for Christmas Day dinner and I'm hopeful that the weather will cooperate so we can build another fire and move the party outdoors.

If you live in the greater-Houston area and your yard is in need of some serious sprucing up, I'd highly recommend Kevin Boyd (of Nature's Realm) for any sort of landscaping or hardscaping needs. He was by far the most creative landscaper we spoke with and his ideas really helped make our less-than-defined vision a reality.

Modern living room interior designs - Living room designs ideas

Modern living room interior designs - Living room designs ideas is where you entertain guests and spend quality time with your family. It is the most used room of many homes, and therefore it requires an extra amount of care when you design and decorate it.

1. You can coordinate your living room to match or accentuate the rest of the rooms in your home. You can follow a specific color scheme, for instance. Or you can stray from the color scheme and coordinate the room with knickknacks and decor that is also found throughout your home. Coordination brings a sense of balance and organization to your house, especially if you are the kind of person who likes things to match.
Furniture Placement
2. Most living rooms are rectangular or square, and some Modern living room interior designs - Living room designs ideas are octagonal or triangular. These awkward shaped can inspire interesting design options. Whatever the shape of your living room, you can placing your sofa in a diagonal position in a corner. Experiment with different angles of the diagonal of one or more pieces of furniture.
New and Old
3. There are old, traditional styles and new techniques with modern accessories and decor. Choosing between the two can be difficult, especially if you love both styles of design. Consider using both styles into your very own custom design. Classic Victorian heavy oak furniture and dark-toned fabrics create a warming sense of comfort. Combine it with a sleek and modern glass-top coffee table to blend the old with the new.
Modern living room interior designs - Living room designs ideas
Modern living room interior designs - Living room designs ideas,red,contrast,design,interior,design,living,room-6acd9b81777912649e209eb0a3eed562_h.jpg
Modern living room interior designs - Living room designs ideas
Modern living room interior designs - Living room designs ideas
Modern living room interior designs - Living room designs ideas
Modern living room interior designs - Living room designs ideas
Modern living room interior designs - Living room designs ideas

Modern living room designs - Comfortable living room interior design

Modern living room designs - Comfortable living room interior design was first introduced in the mid sixties, when it was used to describe the down-striped sculptures of many artists. Today, the term has become Modern living room designs - Comfortable living room interior design. A minimalist design style calls for clean lines, hard surfaces and low furniture. The elegant style enhances the beauty of your room as well as brings out the effect of natural light. This style proves to be soothing for two reasons, first, there is very little in the room and second, the colors can be used to bring out their natural beauty. Modern living room designs - Comfortable living room interior design has to be designed for relaxation and concentration. Designing your living room is a great way to think about how you want your home to flow. The best living room should have innovative skin texture, clean minimalist design and several light colors. In short, the minimalist design can just be the option for you. Read the article further to know the different ways in which you can design your living room the minimalist style.

Modern living room designs - Comfortable living room interior design is one of the most important spaces in your house, as it serves as a reflection of your personality, as to whether you are into formality or have a carefree nature. This is the reason why you need to pay special attention while designing it. The interiors of a living room will comprise of certain basic aspects, such as furniture, design and lighting, apart from which you will have to decide about highlights and accessories. It is always better to research interior magazines, look online and browse through shops, before settling on the final choice for the look as well as the feel of your living room.

Modern living room designs - Comfortable living room interior design. First of all, you need to layout the basic plan that you are going to follow, while designing the living room. For the purpose, make a list of all the activities that you plan to do inside the room, such as watching TV, having tea, reading, lounging, and so on. This will give you an idea about the type and style of furniture that you will require. Finally, it is the overall arrangement that you need to decide about. You can resort to magazines, websites and shops for this.

Modern living room designs - Comfortable living room interior design. Walls form the backdrop of every room and that includes the living room as well. As per experts, neutral colors work best for living room walls. The reason for this is that neutral shades go with a wide range of colors and textures, allowing you leeway while choosing furniture, draperies, ornaments, lights, etc. As for the ceiling, you can go for a shade lighter or darker than that on walls. A lighter shade will make the room look larger, while a darker one will create a cozy feel.

The type of living room furniture will depend on the activities that you intend to indulge and the overall look you have in mind; its quantity will be determined by the size of the room. The room should neither look empty, nor cluttered. Don't place sofas or chairs so far apart that people have to shout to have a conversation. At the same time, there should be enough space, in-between, for easy and free movement. Remember to arrange your living room furniture around one, two or more focal points.

While planning the interiors of Modern living room designs - Comfortable living room interior design, lighting is not an aspect that can be overlooked. In fact, lighting can alter the overall mood of the room, created by other fixtures. Make sure to complement natural lighting with artificial lighting. Control the former with blinds and draperies, while using dimmers for the latter. While incandescent lighting will impart a warm feel, the diffused, ambient lighting make a room look larger. Accent lighting can be used to highlighting purposes.
Modern living room design - Modern living room interior design
Modern living room design - Modern living room interior design
Modern living room design - Modern living room interior design
Modern living room design - Modern living room interior design
Modern living room design - Modern living room interior design
Modern living room design - Modern living room interior design
Modern living room design - Modern living room interior design
Modern living room design - Modern living room interior design
Modern living room design - Modern living room interior design

Advice for New Moms: Haven & Home

Today marks the final installment of the Advice for New Moms guest post series and I'd like to thank all the wonderful bloggers who contributed to the series and made it so informative (not to mention entertaining). We're finishing up strong today with Marianne Strong (sorry for the bad pun!) from Haven & Home and Marianne Strong Interiors. While Marianne is not yet a mother herself, she's had plenty of practice setting up both beautiful and functional nurseries for her many clients and she's graciously offered to share some of her wisdom here today.

* * *

Hi Odi et Amo readers, I am so happy to here today! Since we do not have children yet I am not sure how much help I can be but I will give it a try. I may not have a little one yet but I do know a thing or two about a nurseries. Right now I am currently working on my 12th, 13th and 14th future baby rooms for clients. Nurseries are actually one of my favorite spaces to design, I love the idea of creating a little child's first space. These are tips I would give any soon-to-be Mom:

1. Get the big pieces taken care of first then worry about the rest. Gliders generally take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to come in so I usually keep them high on the priority list. I wish I could give you a source for inexpensive gliders that have GREAT fabric but I can't. All the fabulous gliders I have found come with a hefty price tag. So, choose a neutral fabric and add a pillow or throw for looks.

I also like to pick the crib early in the process. It can set the tone of the room and it gets the future parents excited when it is set up.

2. Just say no to changing tables. Any piece can be a changing table, look for something that you will use down the road. I personally love chests. I already know when we have kids that I will use this wood and metal potting table I found for a changing table. Don't be afraid to use items in unconventional ways.

3. Don't forget the ceiling. I don't think I have done a single nursery with a plain ceiling. It is an easy way to add visual interest. Also pay attention to lighting, it is a great excuse to use something fun and whimsical.

4. Throw in a bookcase if possible. You will receive items you want to display and I think every child's room should include books....especially by Eric Carle.

5. Don't neglect the walls. There are so many cute things out there for wall decor it can be mind boggling. Etsy is a great place to start. Another thing I have done over and over and never get sick of is framing several pages from a favorite book. Sometimes frames can get lost on a wall when floating solo. A gallery wall looks clean but still adds color.

6. Don't stress too much. It is likely your baby won't even be in his/her room for the first few weeks. Just make sure you feel at home in your babies nursery and they will too.

I hope this helped some. Congratulations to all the expectant mothers out there. I am blown away every time I see a baby by what a miracle the whole process really is. Enjoy this time in your/their life, from what I hear it flies by.

2011 Color of the Year: Honeysuckle

The powers that be over at Pantone have dubbed "Honeysuckle", a vibrant pink hue with a yellow undertone, the color for 2011. While I'd describe the color as more pink lemonade than honeysuckle (after all, a honeysuckle flower is yellow!), I do like the vibrant feminine energy the color conveys. And I have to say, given the popularity of this more adultified pink (actually, pink in general) on last fall's runways, I'm not particularly surprised. But, while it may be easy to infuse your wardrobe with a bit of on-trend pink this coming Spring, refreshing your home for 2011 may prove a bit trickier -- especially if you happen to live with a man.

This is not to say that I'm an advocate of updating your decor as often as you update your wardrobe. Not only would that be grossly wasteful (not to mention expensive), but it's also completely unnecessary given interior design's tendency to hold on to trends longer than fashion. To whit, both 2009's color of the year (mimosa) and 2010's color of the year (turquoise) are still tremendously popular colors for the home. But let's suppose you want to stay a bit ahead of the curve -- or you happen to love this color as much as I do. Then how should the reasoned decorista go about bringing a little honeysuckle into her life?

Of course, honeysuckle is the ideal wall color in a little girl's room. It's bright and pretty, but less sugary sweet than a purer bubblegum pink. I also like the idea of painting a guest room or guest bath in the color. Pinks and reds are exceptionally flattering to skin tone (just ask my sorority, which used red tents in our initiation ceremony rather than blue for precisely that reason!) and the color would look great in just about any light. While you can always have your local paint store color match a Pantone swatch, both Benjamin Moore's Florida Pink and Gypsy Rose are good options.

If you're looking to take the color out into the main areas of your house, I'd strongly suggest doing so with fabrics and/or accessories. When paired against neutral camels and khakis, honeysuckle takes on a wonderful sophistication that feels more sophisticated and gender neutral. Note how the ladies at Massucco Warner Miller kept this sitting room relatively free of pattern (save for a few fabulous throw pillows), allowing the color to take center stage. If you're going to do a pattern in this hue, I'd urge you to consider subtle tone-on-tones or, if you want to go bolder, geometrics and stripes, to counteract the femininity of the color. In short: no chintzes or toiles, unless you want your house to look like the Junior League!

The warmth of honeysuckle is the perfect compliment to warm wood tones and gilt. The overall effect here is incredibly rich and the neutral walls keep the color from feeling overwhelming. Can I also add how fabulous I think the cherry blossom runner on the stairwell is?

Finally, Honeysuckle works well as an accent color in small doses -- that one shot of bold, rich color that can absolutely make or break a room. Paired with a soft, buttery yellow or a sage green, the tone reads as very preppy and traditional. If you're looking for more modern pairings, I'd go for cooler tones of gray. For high drama, try metallics or a rich navy.

I thought I'd do some of the heavy lifting for you and pick out a few of my favorite home accessories in "the" color of 2011:

Clockwise, from top left: (1) Alpaca Throw in Melon from Serena & Lily ($148); (2) Dark Walnut Chakki upholstered in Coral Diamond from Serena & Lily ($450); (3) Charlotte Mirror from Clayton Gray Home ($950); (4) Tini Table IV in Eros Pink from Oomph ($495); (5) Pair of Button Tufted Chairs from Pieces (sold); (6) Artichoke Lamp in Stray Dog Pink from Stray Dog Designs ($625); (7) Tripoli Quilt and Shams from John Robshaw ($80-$435); (8) Ceramic Melon Knobs from Anthropologie ($8/each); (9) Pink Avenida Maze Pillows from Trina Turk ($148); (10) Translucent Venus Pendant in Pink from The Well Appointed Home ($318); (11) Kelly Two Door Lacquered Cabinet from The Well Appointed Home ($5500); and (12) Quadra Table Lamp from Weego Home ($425).
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