Wednesday, October 15, 2014

LIFE | The Great Adventure

We had a photoshoot a couple of weeks back with our friend and photographer Tiarra of Tiarra Sorte Photography. Let's just say it was quite the adventure in more ways than one. Who knew that a family photo session could also turn into a a therapy session and a time of realization and reflection of priorities?

We drove over an hour and half and hiked up 20 minutes with props and four kids in tow to this spot.
All of the drama prior to our session became small in comparison to what unfolded before our eyes as we reached our final destination - the Ice Caves in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest near Granite Falls, WA. You guys. It was breathtaking to say the least.

I realized at that moment just how small I was and just how amazingly big and incredible God and his awesome creation is.I was also reminded then of how everything that preceded that moment didn't really matter at all. Isn't it incredible how that happens. How when we focus on the "biggness" of God and how amazing He is, our problems, fears, worries become so small in comparison. SO small.

Now, let me just recap the few hours prior to that for you.

You know the drill (especially all of those moms out there). We want the perfect outfits and coordination. Everything has to be just right for family pics. The hair. Let's not even talk about the hair or how our kids have to be just so for this once or twice-a-year occasion. Why do we put so much energy into these shots that some of us (eh never even hang on our walls for others to see? 

It's quite comical{ish}. In the past we've taken Fall family pics for the Christmas cards this year but this year I also wanted to use some of my individual shots for the new blog and future writing so I felt like there was even more pressure to make these pics perfect. Of course, we all know there is really no such thing as perfect. 

We didn't have any major breakdowns even though the weather at the summit was crazy. I am sure the temps dropped by about 20 degrees which means it was freezing and toward the end of our session, the kids were D-O-N-E. Did I mention they were done? 

Admittedly, from the beginning, the tensions were already high and I'll say that a lot of it came from me and my expectation of perfection from each of our kids. 

Thankfully, we have worked with our friend Tiarra for a few years now. Not only does she know us but she KNOWS us. She was patient, encouraged Larry and I and our kids along the way. We surely needed it. 

This photo session and the whole situation, actually, from the first bit of prep work to the moment we hit the summit reminded me a lot of our perspective and of life in general sometimes. 

There are a lot of distractions along the way. There are a lot of things that seem magnified and bigger than the biggest thing. In this case, outfits, the perfect hair and accessories and look got in the way of the biggest thing...our family and God's presence in our lives in this season. 

There was a reason that I wanted this year's pics to be different and it wasn't just because I wanted cute pics. This season of our lives as a family has been nothing less than amazing and God has shown Himself in so many ways. He has been faithful. Loving. Enduring. You know, all the things that He is and more. 

Reflecting on this day and this session, I am reminded that I can't get caught up in the things that don't matter. The trivial. The mundane, small things in life. 

I have been given great purpose and the calling on my family's life is great. We said yes to "The Great Adventure" a few months back and I am SO excited to share it with each and every one of you.
I cannot wait to launch the new blog with a a new look and start this adventure with you all! 

Let's adventure together! 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Rug Rules 101 | Layer. Layer. Layer.

Okay, so maybe that title is just a little deceptive since I am the last one to really follow any decorating rules. I will share my personal experience and tips for how I am working on making this new home of ours a little more comfy and cozy. I do what works for me and for my family especially now that we have moved into a much smaller space with a very interesting layout specifically in the living area.

I recently received a rug that I've been eyeing (and apparently a lot of you as well according to my Instagram post) from Rugs USA. This rug honestly changed the entire feel of our living space.

I started with this cowhide rug from World Market. It was a great base layer but the room still felt cold and unwelcoming in some ways although the cowhide did help add a bit of personality to the space.

I wish I could insert some amazing photo here and be an amazing blogger today but alas, I must disappoint and say that I have NOT ONE picture of the room before we layered our rugs. But, just go with me here an visualize it all, okay? :)

Anyhow, after searching for a while and looking at Dash and Albert, Pottery Barn and a few other retailers I always came back to this one from Rugs USA.

If you've looked at the Rugs USA site or even had your eye on a Moroccan inspired rug, you know that they have a billion and one choices on their site! I decided to go with this one since, in my opinion, it looked the most authentic, was made out of natural fibers vs. synthetic and had the tassels. I love the tassels. I think it adds a bit of whimsy and personality which I definitely want our living room to have. 

Just to be clear, I honestly second guessed my selection and couldn't wait to get both of them down to see if what was in my head would look the same in real life. 

Once I unpacked the rug and laid it all out I was SO pleased with the transformation of the room and the cozy feeling it gave the space especially with the layering of the cowhide. Extra warm. Extra cozy. Extra fun. Win. 

For those of you wonderng if this rug is worth it, IT IS! I love  the pile. Not too high and the perfect height. You've seen some of those shag rugs that your feet literally seem to get caught in while walking across...not this one! It will shed for a few weeks (according to RUGS USA site up to three months) but those of you who have had natural wool rugs, you know to expect this. 

I also love the fact that it's a natural 100% wool fiber, not synthetic and it's hand knotted which gives it more a finished look than others. 

I chose an 8x10 for our space and nestled our furniture just over the edge of each end of the rug. It fits perfectly and I like it that way. 

And here is the final look. I'm getting better at photographing this teeny space and playing up it's strengths. Thank you for bearing with me, folks. 

And for those in search of the perfect rug for their pad here are a few MY PERSONAL guidelines for finding the perfect rug for YOUR space:

1. Measure your space. Don't just buy a 5x7 rug because it's all that is available or what you can afford. Jute boucle rugs are relatively inexensive so if you have a space that really needs a larger rug and can handle it but you can't afford it, consider purchasing a jute rug and layer your favorite, smaller rug over the top of that rug. This way, the eye is still drawn out (creativing the illusion of a larger wide open space) vs. being drawn in. 

2. Break the rules. I looked all over for inspiration of people layering cowhides with ANY other kind of rug and there wasn't much to see. I took a leap and decided to just try it and I won. Don't be afraid to do something different with your rugs. This could also apply to simply taking a rug from one room where it just doesn't seem to work and placing it in another space where it just may fit perfectly and change the entire mood of the room. 

3. Step out of your comfort zone. I know it probably doesn't seem like I did this but if any of you remember our last living room it was extremely farmhouse and extremely traditional. It was comfortable and what I knew. I was and am determined in our new space to continue to challenge my comfort levels. I have always loved the look and feel of rustic, fresh, and modern but have never really been sure how to achieve it in our own home and complement our family and decorative personality. So, in essence, I guess what I am saying is step out of your rug comfort zone and try something new. 

I sure hope this helped a bit with your rug search and decisions! I cannot wait to see what you all do in your own homes! 

Friday, folks! 

Cowhide Rug| World Market
Moroccan Shag | Rugs USA
Sofa and Cover | IKEA
Side Table| Tutorial Here

DISCLAIMER: I was compensated by RUGS USA with a rug of my choice but unbiased opinions are all mine! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

MOTIVATED | DIY Tray Side Table for Under $50

As you all know, I've been working slowly but surely on putting together our family and dining rooms. We are talking a pretty small space here so every little piece we put into these areas counts and must be extremely functional. Not to mention, budget friendly. 

Insert, said table. I looked high and low for the perfect piece for the space that wasn't too big or bulky and that was also nice to the wallet. I totally could have just purchased a small piece online or probably even found one and some of my favorite local shops but for some reason, nothing seemed right...until I walked into World Market a few weeks ago and the Heavens seemed to open up. I mean, I literally hear angels singing and saw rays of lighting shining on the clearance area in the store. 

Somehow the box in front of me that read "Metal Beverage Tub Stand" morphed into "Metal Side Table with Gold Finish that will look amazing once you finish it". And just like that, my brain was off. I especially had no problem picking it up after looking at the label and realizing that it was less than 10.00. (That definitely fit the budget)

Now, I know what you're thinking. "How are you going to turn a stand with NO TOP into a table?" Well, I am SO glad you asked. Let's get started, shall we?

I immediately brought my goodies home and got started on this quick, easy project! If you'd like to give it a try, here is what you'll need:

  • A metal stand of some sort. Even a plant stand could work for this project. 
  • Montana Gold Spray Paint in Gold or desired color I am a MONTANA GOLD fiend)
  • A round (or shape of your table base) top of some sort. I used the "Ike" tray from Crate and Barrel but you can use any tray you'd like that fits the shape and size of your chosen base. 
  • Removable foam pads (so the legs don't scratch up your floors unless you are placing it on carpet, of course!)

Once you have all of your materials laid out, evenly coat your base and wait for it to dry. 
If you are just attaching a tray then it's easy peasy. I applied foam pads to the base of the tray as well to help stabilize it and keep it on the top which you can do as well. You could totally get more detailed in the way you attach your tray but I wanted to be able to make this multipurpose so I chose to make it a temporary positioning vs. permanent.

Here is a shot of the table BEFORE. 

And here is the AFTER.


What do you guys think? I was absolutely in love with it after finishing this little one up! I sure hope it inspires you to do something similar in your own home and shows that it doesn't take much to DIY! 

Happiest of Mondays to you, friends! 



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Around the Living Room and a Sign

Happy Wednesday, peeps! 

I am sharing a few additions around the house and a fun sign that we had made for our family room   from Taryn over at Between You and Me.

When Tara asked what I'd like on the sign I instantly knew I wanted "The Creed" (based on the Apostles' Creed) by Hillsong. If you haven't heard this album yet, it's a must! 

Tara was so sweet to offer my readers a discount for any sign in her shop. You can see more and even have a custom one made just for you so take a look. There are SO many great ones to choose from.

I added some new pillows to the sofa and a rug from Rugs USA to add texture and a bit of warmth to the space. For those of you who don't know, we moved into a foster cottage community almost two months ago and it is indeed a cottage in all sense of the word so designing a space that works for our family has been a bit challenging, but fun.

I shopped a few of my faves for decorative pieces for the pillows and decor from Nordstrom Home to my local fave Haystack Antiques and even Goodwill which is always fun and budget friendly of course.

And remember that TV stand dilemma and the photo I shared as inspiration a few weeks back? Well, the stand that the hubs and I finally agreed on came and we couldn't be happier with the quality and durability of our first official purchase from Joss and Main.

So what do you guys think? I really am having fun and enjoying the way things are coming together over here. And see that table up there? Well, I made it. Come back on Monday to see how we made that happen! You won't believe what I used to do it!

Don't forget to hop over to Between You and Me for a special discount on one of her amazing signs. Just use RESTORATIONHOUSE15 as the coupon code. 

Have an absolutely amazing rest of your week, friends! 


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Friday, September 12, 2014

Black and White and Bronze All Over | OFFICE INSPIRATION

Um. Okay. So I am admitting it. Right here. I MAY be slightly addicted to Polyvore. 
It is by no means a professional program for design but for novices like me it comes in pretty handy. 
Insert my office inspiration. 

I am in love. {Of course I am!}
Are you curious about the total cost of this space? 
Are you ready?
Yep, 6,000 smackeroos. 
But, ya'll know I can make this look happen for way less than that. Hence, the keyword...INSPIRATION. 

This, however, is my inspiration for our office and it will be the next space in our home that I organize and style after I am,, content with our living room. 

Anyhow, let's talk about this space and why it's right up my alley. 

Should I go ahead and state the obvious? The antlers. 
I've already talked about my affinity for these and how I believe that no room is complete without a good set. 

I really love the mix of modern touches with a bit of an eclectic and vintage vibe. I like that these aspects, in any space, give it warmth and add personality and character to a room without becoming too overwhelming. 

And I LOVE this antique cabinet. Did I mention that I love this? Wouldn't something like this be great for all the millions of craft items we know all of us have and need to store? I have a piece that I talked about here that I believe would look great refinished in this color and maybe even adding some brass hardware to kick it up a notch. 

How about we talk about the wallpaper for a minute. This print is from Dwell Studio and runs about $75.00 per roll. This item would be one that I just might be willing to splurge on as it would add so much drama to the office and since I would just use it on one small wall, it really wouldn't break the bank. 

There's just so much I love about this space. From the punch of color to the cool neutrals and textures in the rug, I have a feeling this one will be a show stopper. 

That is, once I am able to check the other dozen items off of my list. Ha! 

Sure hope you all are enjoying your Friday and are planning on the best weekend ever! 
We are expecting warm weather and blue skies here in Seattle. You can bet we will be taking full advantage of it all while it lasts. 


Monday, September 8, 2014

The Weekend| Special Open House | A little DIY

Happy Monday guys! 

So if you all follow me on Instagram, you know that I made mention of our weekend and a special event that I was blessed to help style for some special friends of ours who are now pastoring Zoe Church  (A21 affiliated) located in Bulgaria. 

Because of time and just hectic schedules I needed to keep this as simple as possible but I wanted it clean and classy as well. 

Have you guys heard of the A21 Campaign? 
You can read more about it  and all the amazing lives being changed through their efforts here

In a nutshell, A21 began about 5 years ago after recognizing that there was a huge gap in the fight against human trafficking specifically in Europe which is their target area. The organization has made great strides in this fight in it's short 5-year lifespan and I was so excited to support not only our friends Noah and Andrea but to create an environment for others to learn, reconnect and give as well. 

I was SO blessed to be able to be a part of this and set the atmosphere for such beautiful people. It was truly an honor and I absolutely enjoyed each and every minute of it. 

I'll be sharing more about these signs, the inspiration behind them and how you may be able to have the chance to bring hope and freedom to others through them! 

She's probably going to kill me but I love this pic of Andrea and Noah. They have such great personalities and are an amazing couple. 

After our last goodbye at the open house, our family packed up and headed over to a friend's house for her son's bday party! I've told THIS FRIEND a few times (as well as others) the she should blog. She loves food, entertaining, decorating, shopping, people, her family, Jesus and she is pretty good at it all...what else does she need to inspire others?

Anyhow, we were there for a few hours and packed a ton of fun into that time. She and her family own a home on the lake here and the theme for the party was "camping" so the night was full of lots of water activities, s'mores, fire and lounging! 

I think she really did such a great job putting it all together, don't you?

And apparently Grayson and had absolutely NO fun! 

Hop back over on Wednesday as I will be sharing a quick, fun DIY on that black and white table runner from the open house and details on the word art! 


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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

ENCOURAGE | Unexpected Lessons from London 2013

Yesterday I decided to take a few minutes to start organizing a few things since the kids were back in school and I have a whole list of things that I need to get to before the end of the year. One of those things (and one of the easiest) is organizing my folders and pictures on my computer. I know that may sound a little unimportant to some of you but for me, it's kind of a big deal. 

I had so many unnecessary folders and pics that needed to be properly stored and filed away. It felt really good to put a dent in it. Anyhow, as I sifted through and rearranged, I stumbled upon some pics from my trip to Europe last year that I took with some members of my extended family. 

In June of 2013 (some of you may remember) I took my first trip to Europe and I was SO excited as it had been on my bucket list for years. First, I needed to overcome my fear of flying for more than a few hours. Yes, I am one of those. Hate flying. But, more about that later perhaps. 

As I looked through the photos I realized that the trip to Europe meant more than just time with loved ones, sightseeing and shopping but what it represented most to me was a much bigger picture. As we toured castles and mansions, English countrysides and world wonders, and marveled at the richness of the history in a land that stretched centuries beyond our own here in America. It was wonderful. 

We spent a total of 10 days touring London, the English Countryside and Paris. It was quite the trip and a bit of a whirlwind but so fun! 

I honestly never thought taking a trip to Europe with family would be a spiritual (if you will) experience in the least. I was excited about having a getaway and shopping my butt off but it really became so much more. I brought back more than just memories and shopping bags from Europe. This trip literally changed my life and prepared me, unknowingly, for the trip to Hillsong London 2014 that some friends and I took this summer. I honestly had no idea when I would be back when we took the trip last year but it definitely set a fire in my heart in more ways than one. 

A few things I realized:

1.We were a military family for ten years and lived all over the U.S., traveled outside of the country a couple of times and lived in Hawaii but I still never really understood that the world is way bigger than the U.S. It sounds so simple but I never really understood what that felt like until last year. I mean, we know that and we all say it but it really held no ground for me until I left U.S. soil. There is just something about stepping out of your everyday routine, being surrounded by people outside of your culture and not involved in your everyday life that just makes you appreciate people of all walks even more. 

2. I have a deep, insatiable need and desire to see the world and offer hope to those U.S. and abroad. Yep. Surprise. I know that there are hundreds of thousands here in the U.S. who need to hear the message of hope that Christ gives but there are many more outside our country who need to feel, experience and know the love of Christ. He loves the world and so do I. I don't really know what the future holds but part of my heart is in that country. Forever. 

3. God is a designer. If you've been anywhere in Europe you know that even in the Medieval period and times they never skimped on design or materials. I was constantly in awe of the time they took, the blood they shed and the creativity behind all of the buildings, palaces and castles we toured. The cathedrals were my favorite as I was constantly reminded of how even more extravagant God's love and sacrifice was and is for each of us and that His inspiration was behind it all.

So, there you have it folks. A few unexpected lessons from London. I sure hope this inspires you to look at things (even at home) in a new and different way. Let's challenge one another this week, perhaps, to start just where we are and expect great things each day whether in our very own homes or out and about; finding joy in the unexpected. 

Happy Wednesday peeps! XO