State Love

I’ve been a little misty about my home state of Minnesota lately.  I feel like Minnesotans have more pride for their state than most. Probably because you have to have a team spirit to get through the winter. There are no 6 degrees of separation in Minnesota, it’s  like 1 or 2. The most common question you’ll get when meeting new people is “Where did you go to High School?” Everyone from Minnesota can be connected through their high school. I was missing my friends, lilac bushes, and Chipotle this weekend and started looking for Minnesota art on Etsy to add to our home and found a plethora(I heart that word) of state related art. The besties:

Vintage Texas State License Plate Art, Mounted on Barn Board, Upcycled License Plate Art

License plate art from AutoMatticArt


Bamboo necklace from truche

Carolina in my mind poster from birdAve

Love Oregon from thewheatfield

Wisconsin Earrings from purpleandlime

Customized College print from bandaprints

City Skyline Art from birdAve

Home Is Where the Heart Is from LilyGene

Custom Map and Stamp from LilyGene

12"x12" Customizable State Burlap/Felt Decorative Pillow

Customizable burlap pillow from localhoneyshop

I love you from here… from HopSkipJumpPaper

Typography Map from CApow

Michigan from thewheatfield

God Blessed the Broken Road State Art- Customized just for you :)

God Bless the Broken Road from CoCoStineDesigns

DIY PRINTABLE Custom State Art Print 8x10 - State Love

State Love from YellowBrickGraphics

Which ones did you love? Any other state art I missed?

Engagement Photo Ideas

Like yesterdays Wedding Photo post, here are some of my favorite engagement images.  Most of these are either from Jose Villa or Elizabeth Messina with a little Tec Pataja sprinkled in.

Jose Villa

Have fun with them. They don’t always have to be romantic. I’m obsessed with this image and kick myself for not doing something like this for my engagement pics.

Jose Villa

Elizabeth Messina

Wedding Photography Ideas

As a photographer I get asked a lot about what the “must have” shots are for weddings. They’re the obvious ones. The kiss, the first look, the family, the cake, etc… What separates great photographers from the good ones are when they leave the script of traditional wedding photography and get shots that define the feel of the day or the chemistry of the couple. Most of these are directed, but some aren’t. Some are details, or broader aspects of the day. These are some of my favorites.

Always make sure to get a shot of your full invitation suite.

Always get a shot of each course.

A shot of the party in progress.

Courtesy Olive Juice Studios

You can get these signs or Mr. and Mrs. on Etsy

Always get the shoes.

Always get the ring.

I actually copied this idea at my own wedding

A shot of just the bridesmaids.

Get outdoors.

I love this favor gift.

I apologize for not properly attributing them but Pinterest has ruined things in that department. I know quite a few are from Jasmine Star, Tec Petaja, and Elizabeth Messina. If you know any of the photographers, please let me know and I will add them.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with Engagement photo ideas!

Equestrian Style

I have loved all things Equestrian since my first lesson in Kindergarten. If you don’t have access to horses or they scare the beejeezus out of you, bringing equestrian elements into your home or fashion is a great way to incorporate the style. I get so annoyed when I see it featured as a “new trend”. Umm..not really since classical horseback riding has been around since the Renaissance.

This book is a great overview of the lifestyle.


I love jewelry that features bridles or bits. This bracelet comes in a few different colors, but as we all know I’m a sucker for white.


These necklaces are from Etsy seller, Natasha Grasso. So beautiful and reasonably priced.

I’m so glad the brand Sporto has had a relaunch. They were so big in the early 90’s and then they just kind of disappeared. A couple winters ago I bought these in the short version with orange rubber and they were a hit in the frozen tundra!

Rebecca Cray features almost solely Equestrian design. Her website is treasure trove. Here a few of my favorites

This Barbour Paddock jacket is darling.Would look great on seriously any body type.

Pair it with these Etienne Aigner boots and some jeans for a well put together look while running around town doing errands.

No Equestrian post would be complete without a little Ralph. This tray is part of his home collection.

I’m not sure about these bookends though.. A little to literal maybe?

Who has fun plans for the weekend? It’s Spring Release weekend in our little wine country, so I’ll be at my husband’s winery manning the gate! I’m so happy it’s May, Spring is FINALLY here:)








Organize with Martha and a giveaway!

In February I picked up this monster at the local grocery store. It’s a special addition magazine/book hybrid put out by MSLO in the winter…I’m sure to capture all of the people with organizing resolutions in the new year. I like to keep an organized home. It makes it easier to keep clean if everything has a designated spot, and it makes you reduce clutter if you’re constantly evaluating the systems you have in place. That’s why I was so excited to see Martha’s new line at Staples designed specifically for home organizing.

Admittedly, the line has many more items then just for the home office. It features ingenious options for the kitchen, pantry, and anywhere else you need a little organization. The line features furniture as well. This chair, desk, file cabinet combo are for sale on

What caught my attention first though, was the line of shagreen leather organizing boxes. They come in three colors: white, Tifffany blue, and brown.

I immediately grabbed 6 of these in the white. While I adore Tiffany Blue, it’s not really the look I’m going for in my office, and white is truly my favorite color.

These are great for desk supplies or jewelery. I’d like to put some on my husbands dresser for him to organize his ever growing mountain of receipts, coins, golf tees, etc…

A cute little box for pencils or makeup brushes. Or maybe some brightly colored sharpies, depending on your business?

All the pieces in the line are stack-able so you can configure them to fit your needs.

She also has great filing pieces that you can cut down on paper clutter with. Remember, experts say you only need to save 7 years worth of bank statements, tax receipts and returns. Not 20 years in an overflowing Sephora shopping bag like my mother does. Hi mom!

I thought these were just incredibly smart. What a great way to corral take-out menus, recipes, coupons etc…

To manage day-to-day tasks the line has a variety of options for calendars, planners and agendas.

Dry-erase calendars and lists.

The turquoise notepad made it’s way on to my fridge.

These journals and notepads come in a variety of different sizes and for various functions. They have everything from diet journals and day planners to diary’s and address books.

Some of them feature the shagreen leather to coordinate with the desk accessories.

The most fun part of the line are the labels. They seriously have a sticker for every situation you could encounter.

Gift giving

Files, pantry, or stationary.

Wedding favors

Kids rooms

I totally bought these. I’m sick of looking at my detergent containers and want to decant the powders into glass jars. These will look perfect on them.

They have a ton of gift tags in the line. I think they’re not only going after gifting customers, but also people with home-based retail businesses.

Because, how cute would these be for a farmer’s market vendor?

These are for the address books to call out important items.

Lots of labels for the kitchen and pantry.

I need to go back and get some of these for the freezer.

Lastly, labels for the home. I’m not sure I like these stickers on the boxes. The boxes are pretty substantial looking and I think the stickers cheapen them.

I bought these in brass for them instead. I also bought a dozen for my recipe binders.

I’m so glad Staples partnered with Martha on this line. I hope they continue adding items because the possibilities are endless and with Martha leaving Macy’s and her future at JCP uncertain I think there is a huge market for this line to expand into. What’s your favorite item in the line? Leave it in the comments and I’ll randomly pick a winner for the planner in the color of their choice!

Good luck!

*Martha nor Staples have any idea who I am…I just like to give gifts and it’s a way for all you lurkers to finally comment! 🙂

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I am here with fabulous gift ideas that aren’t of the candle, slipper, or robe variety. Come on people, your mom deserves something tailored to her interests, not something you grabbed at Target before brunch.

For the mom that bakes...

Is this not the coolest thing ever??? Give this and then guilt trip her to make you delicious treats. 8 layer cake slicer . $59

Throw this in with it and you’re going to Hawaii next year for Christmas, Mom’s treat. $10

For the mom that loves to beautify…

I was actually told about this blush from my own mother. She’s cool like that. It’s Nars Orgasm. Stop giggling like a school girl and buy it. It’s the best shade on the market and looks great on any skintone. $28

For the new mom….

I don’t even have children yet, and I’m already having nightmares about changing time. How are you supposed to snap all those tiny buttons while you’re busy trying not get kicked in the chest or peed in the face? (True story, that happens, and not just with boys…)

These ingenious pants replace traditional snaps with a fast acting zipper making changing time less a war zone and more a drooling, smiling zone. Until you encounter a blowout. These pants can’t help you there. $30

For the mom that entertains

These modern simplicity champagne flutes from CB2 look great with any table setting and the price is ridic. $2.95 each

Matches are smelly. Let mom light candles in style. Versailles Silver Lighter $63

For the mom that is green and also a little tech savvy.

A solar charger for her cell phone or anything with a USB port. Prepare to have to explain how to use it to her every time she calls. $50

For the mom that is stylish, a little tech savvy, and likes attention in airport security…

I’m obsessed with this Ipad case. If your mom has taste, she will be too. $120

For the mom that thinks she’s French…

Tres delightful! £10

For the mid-century mom…

A Charley Harper Iphone case. Pop in a Stan Getz CD and the first season of Mad Men and she’ll be sashaying around like Joanie in no time. $14.95

For the mom that loves a good monogram…

This cute tray can be personalized with a variety of designs and colors. Wrap it up with some Tervis tumblers and a bottle of Margarita mix and she’s set for summer. $49

These can also be personalized in a multitude of ways. Just think how impressed Muffie and Buffy will be when she sets these on the table during the monthly bridge game. $40

Speaking of Muffie, I guess she has personalized stationary. Your mom can have it too. $78

For the mom that is organized…

I love a good storage box and these are so chic. Organize her closet together as a special add-on.  No, you can’t have her scrunchies, they’re coming back in style. $65

Does your mom recycle with a paper bag shoved under the sink? Give her something sleek and compartmentalized with this trash/recycle duo from the Container Store. Then tell her to bust out the recyclable shopping bags and stop killing the planet. $129

For the mom that has everything…

Have a personalized piece of art work made featuring her home, cabin, chateau, or ski chalet. Price upon request, which means you probably can’t afford it, unless your mom really does own a chateau. In that case, I’m a wonderful travel companion.

Grab me my gun. The best magazine you’re not reading.

I’ve always felt like I lived in the wrong part of the country and born in the wrong time period. I really should have been a southern belle in the 1950’s. Maybe I’m pulling a Shirley MacClaine and really was??? Spooky… or maybe it’s just because of my roots I feel so drawn to the south. My Grandmother was born and bred in Texas. Her little sister is even named Dixie. Seriously.  So my grandmothers Southern blood coupled with spending summers with an aunt in Virginia it’s made me a total wannabe debutante. That is why this magazine has replaced Martha Stewart Living as my monthly must have.

My mom lives in North Carolina during the week for work and commutes back to Minnesota on the weekends. On one of these trips last summer she grabbed an issue in the airport and brought it home for me knowing full well, it was my magazine soul mate. Oh, don’t y’all have magazine soul mates too? (See what I did there?)

The photography is  breathtaking and the subjects covered are true Southern Americana.

Isn’t this photo haunting and beautiful at the same time?

The magazine not only features sporting and food,  but it also highlights Southern musicians

The Avett Brothers.

The magazine was launched by Rebecca Wesson Darwin in 2007. Ms. Darwin envisioned a magazine about the South, the sporting life and the land. She had recently moved back to Charleston, South Carolina following a successful publishing career in NYC, and in hindsight, launching a lifestyle magazine in the beginning of the recession was probably not the smartest choice, but she steered them through it and the magazine is thriving.

The magazine also highlights true Southern fashion.

The recipes and food photography is incredible. Traditional southern barbeque with coleslaw and deep fried Okra. Doesn’t get more Southern than that.

Oh wait it does. Pimento cheese spread!

They also offer true southern cocktail recipes like the 610 Magnolia 

1 large and uneven slice of lemon peel
1 rough-cut brown 
    sugar cube
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dash Regan’s Orange 
Bitters No. 6
No more than 1 oz. branch water (or bottled water)
2 large ice cubes
2 oz. Van Winkle Special Reserve 12-year bourbon
Small triangle of orange slice for garnish

Add the lemon peel, sugar cube, and both bitters into the bottom of an old-fashioned glass. Using a wooden muddler, begin to muddle the ingredients firmly but not violently in the bottom of the glass, working the muddler in a circle. The tapered shape of the glass allows you to perform this task with ease.

Add the water, and continue to muddle for a bit longer. Add the ice and then the bourbon. Stir with a spoon. Float the thinly sliced orange on top of the drink (not wedged onto the side of the glass), and serve.
I also love that the magazine prominently features animals.

As their masthead says, it truly is the Soul of the South.

With that, I’ll leave you with this truly Southern recipe from one of their recent issues.

Arnold Palmer Cake

From Momufuku Milk Bar
Makes a 6″ Cake, Serves 6 to 8

1 Lemon Tea Cake
1/4 cup Bitter Tea Soak
1 cup Tea Jelly
1 3/4 cups Lemon Mascarpone
2/3 cup Almond-Tea-Crunch

8 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
9 bags Lipton black tea leaves
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cream the butter and granulated sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. After 2 or 3 minutes on medium-high, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and egg yolks one by one until they disappear into the butter and sugar.

Scrape down the sides again and turn the mixer to low speed. Stream in the oil, buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon extract. Mix on medium until everything is homogenous and fluffy—about 5 minutes.

Combine the flour, tea leaves, baking powder, and salt in a separate mixing bowl. With the mixer running on low, incorporate the dry ingredients into your main bowl. You don’t want to overmix the cake; just mix until the dry ingredients disappear (45 seconds or so).

Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment or a Silpat. Spread the cake batter on the pan and give it a little jiggle to even things out. Bake for about 30 minutes, then give it a gentle poke. You’re looking for it to bounce back and for the cake to have pulled back from the edges a bit.

(makes a little more than you need)
2 1/4 cups water
8 bags Lipton black tea
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup instant Lipton unsweetened iced-tea powder
1/2 tsp. pectin NH
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove it from the heat and add the tea bags. Let the bags steep for 5 minutes, or until the tea is very bitter. Discard the tea bags and store the bitter tea soak in an airtight container.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the sugar, pectin, and tea powder until thoroughly combined. Over high heat, slowly whisk in 3 cups of bitter tea soak and the lemon juice, and bring to a full rolling boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 2 minutes. This activates the pectin and will turn the tea and lemon into a beautiful jelly. Transfer the jelly to an appropriate container and refrigerate. Once set, the jelly will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

DIY Round Up

Instead of doing some lengthy DIY tutorial on painting one piece of furniture with 30 photos of sanding and priming, I figure I’ll just post inspiration images that you can handily copy with a quick google search.


Paint an old armoire a bright color but please don’t wear that hat.

Dip old mismatched flatware. Give it as gifts and tell them you bought it from CB2. Make sure to take the goodwill stickers off first.

Dye a rug. I’m still trying to figure out what container you could do this in… Who has a pool I can borrow? Preferably above ground* so I don’t feel bad ruining it.

Paint your chairs. Bonus points if your MIL gave them to you.

Nailhead an upholstered piece. Or upholster a piece and nailhead it. Heck nailhead your walls.  My aunt did a nailhead trim in her game room and invited some lady friends over to help. She also served them wine. The trim is now crooked. Friends don’t let friends drink and nailhead.

Paint more furniture. This is from Furbish. Find a piece on Craigy and get to it. Search rattan, bamboo, or hollywood regency to find a similar style. Good luck not getting paint on the glass.

Find an ugly mirror and glue oyster shells to it. It may still be ugly.

Make a branch chandelier. Find an ugly three arm brass monstrosity. Spray paint it, spray paint some branches and wire them to your hearts content. Have fun dusting that sucker.

Here’s another. Ignore that godawful faux finishing.

Everything looks better gray. They should really shut that door. It’s triggering my OCD. What is that person doing to the horse?

It’s April. Start working on this now and maybe you’ll be halfway done by Christmas.

Those Santa’s are scaring me.

*Above ground pools are tacky. So is Shasta and cereal in a bag.

My love of “The Amandas”

Are any of you watching the show The Amandas on the Style network? I am OBSESSED. What could ever get me to turn the channel from my beloved Bravo?

This nutcase:

I use that term in the most lovingly way possibly. I think I found my long lost twin sister and no not because we look eerily related. She’s Amanda Leblanc owner of Closet Prescription, an organizing firm based in Birmingham, Alabama. Her show, The Amandas is a reality show about her business, her employees, and the homes and lives they transform through organization.

As you can see from that photo, they are basically Charlie’s Angels in stilettos and wielding power tools. I love this show for a myriad of reasons but the biggest one is that they show how Amanda runs her actual business. Yes there are magical before and afters (and we’ll get to those) but what puts the “reality” into the show is how Amanda balances her work/life/kids/husband, how she deals with problem employees, and how she grapples with her own personal demons of insecurity, anxiety and ADD.  In one of the early episodes they film her trying to relate to the other moms at school and her fear of introducing herself to them. Issues you definitely wouldn’t think a strong-minded entrepreneur would have to deal with but she does and it shows that you can be highly successful and functional in many aspects of your life, but simple things like meeting new people, or trying new things can be total roadblocks for anyone regardless of success or personality. Amanda also demands perfection from her employees and their projects which can make her come across a little unlikeable but I think most of it comes from editing and her young employees inexperience with having a boss that won’t accept laziness or talking back. Ok, on to the porn…

(All images from

This is the office of a cupcake store. I am a believer in white when organizing but that’s just my personal preference. It’s just important to keep the color the same so your eye isn’t competing all over the room.

This is a closet for triplets. It’s truly amazing what you can do with just a standard closet. You don’t have to have a walk-in to be organized!

This is the inside f the cupcake store’s foodtruck. My only concern is the white and pink boxes on the left. Are they nailed down or will they scatter all over once the truck gets going?

What’s interesting about this closet is that it already had an organizing system in place but it just wasn’t being used effectively. Wood hangers, though? I’m a strictly Huggable Hangers gal.

This is my favorite of all her projects I’ve seen. Such a beautiful nursery transformed from basically a household dumping ground.

Are any of you watching the show? This week she’s tearing up NeNe’s ( from RHOA) closet…OMG. What projects in your life do you need help organizing with? I actually just got my first client in Walla Walla for organizing rather than designing and I can’t wait to get started! The before/after pics are going to be amazing:)

Living Inside The Pages Of April’s Elle Decor

Lots to parse in this month’s issue. They unveiled their entire showhouse at Paramount Bay in Miami. Ten designers were commissioned to overhaul a penthouse apartment. I had high hopes. I should have known better. Let’s start out with the something good, the Trend Alert.

Graphic Patterns!

I loved this entire spread. Art Deco era prints are exploding all over the designsphere. They are a welcome respite from the tribal patterns that have been dominating for the last 6 or so years. (Thank you Madeline Weinrib) Graphic and geometric prints were shown all over the Spring 2012 runways. Gucci featured them prominently.

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy

Unless you own a Goyard and then you’re already ahead of the times:)

My baby.

I was elated to see a spread on Maryam Montague’s home in Morocco. My grandfather immigrated from Mostaganem, Algeria so I love seeing North African spaces and design and trying to imagine what the places my family lived in looked like. Probably nothing like this.

Montague and her architect husband built the 4,500 square foot, two-story home from the ground up. It took almost 4 years to complete.

The master bedroom

I am always a sucker for a year round outdoor dining space. I think it’s from spending so many years in Minnesota. Even though the weather in Washington is considerably better, my goal in life is to get to somewhere where we can be outside year round. Life is too short to be stuck inside for 6 months.

This mural in the guest room is insanely decadent. Admittedly, the room as a whole would really only work in an African/Middle Eastern locale but you can always steal elements like the graphic rug or using an antique quilt for a bedspread.

I feel bad leading with such a beautiful spread because you know what that means… It can only get worse from here. And oh does it.

Am I the only one over the ridiculously over-priced custom design show homes where they throw in a bunch of designers to design individual rooms? I imagine it like a ghetto version of the Real World where instead of fighting over who is going to clean the dishes, they have knockout drag down fights over how many of them get to use a random placed phallic-looking obelisk or the number of natural tree branches allowed per square foot. Oh look…branches and phallic mushrooms! Shocking.

“Giant sculptural tree? Check. Branches in a vase? Check. Hunk of coral? Check. Hmmm…I don’t think we’ve brought enough of the outside in. Oh here, I’ve got some hideous magic mushrooms to shove in the corner. Nothing says modern coastal living more than those… Wait, is that old bust of Mozart still in my storage unit? ”

“The media room. Oh, do people actually watch a television anymore? I’m much too refined for that. The news is too violent and everything I need to know about the arts I can learn from Terri Gross. Well I guess if I have to include one of those dreadful flat screens I’ll make sure to hide it in an armoire. No one can actually know that this room is specifically for viewing media. Now for seating….lets make it as inconvenient as possible to look at that monstrosity. Yes, a chaise. Because why would people want to actually sit next to each other to view that thing? Oh fine. I’ll throw in some ridiculously uncomfortable chairs you can physically turn if you absolutely have to watch that Downtown Abigail show I keep hearing everyone talk about. Darn…I still have to include something coastal… hand me that antler, please.”

“Well I was really hoping to get that gig designing a room for the Vegas showhouse, but I guess I have to settle for crappy ole’ Miami. Le sigh ya’ll. Instead, let’s just decorate it like it should be in Vegas. Make that Liberace proud! Ya know, in my fabric line, I carry shiny gold taffeta. Let’s tuft it with them there Swarovski crystals ( you know that crystals aren’t tacky if they are Swarovski.) and then we’ll pair it with BRIGHT purple! Purple and gold, because nothing screams coastal living more than a big tribute to the Minnesota Vikings. Oh wait we’re going Vegas here right? You know what that means??? Leopard print! Wait…purple leopard print! No, the rug needs to be circular. Like the shape of the bed I would have chosen if I could have convinced Elle Decor it was beachy. I guess this giant gold box will do. Do you have any of that left over fabric from Joanne’s when I was going to sew myself a pair of Zubas? Yes, slap it on that bench there. Thank yoooou.”

Alright alright, enough snarking, I just had to show you the worst of the spaces before we could get to the best. I absolutely adore this entry. From the console, to the art, to the chair with a touch of Missoni. This space is done perfectly. It has touches of coastal, but not a shell in sight:)

I’m torn about the dining room. I love the rope idea, the chandelier, and the table. But lord do those chairs look out of proportion. Is it just me or does it look like if you sat in those you’d barely be chest height with the table??? The buffet looks too small as well. So, while I love that table, it it way too large for the other pieces in the room. Also, the Charlie Brown tree in the corner just looks… sad.

I adore this kitchen. Talk about mixing metals and colors harmoniously! It’s a perfect example of not being afraid to mix things up in your kitchen. The back splash is onyx, the counters are quartz, and the island is granite. A classic way to make a kitchen look more high-end is to not have everything be matchy matchy. The sitting area in the foreground is divine. Perfectly styled.

What do you all think? Love the showhouse or are you over it?