Tag Archives: living room

Just Ask A Cousin

Last Spring, as excited as Lucas was to find out we were having a boy, it’s safe to say my 9 year old twin nieces were as equally disappointed. You see, Marco made the official boy-to-girl cousin count 5 to 3. Which, to a set of 9 year old girls, is devastating. Or so they thought.

This past Sunday we were at my parent’s house for dinner. We were sitting around the table, talking about my Chicago brother and his wife who will be finding out the sex of their new baby in a few weeks. When we asked Ella and Grace if the baby would be a boy or a girl, they didn’t have an answer.

“I bet you want it to be a girl,” Lucas taunted.

“Why?”

“Cause you wanted Marco to be a girl. You were pretty upset when we found out he was a boy.”

The two girls blushed a little, looked down towards the table and were momentarily speechless. Until Grace, about as clever as she is sweet, replied with a smile…

“That was before we knew how perfect he’d be.”

 

Marco is one well-loved, lucky little guy.

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Filed under baby P, family, happiness

The Living Room, Living Room.

Hi. It’s been a while.

People keep asking me if I’ve stopped doing this blog.
Apparently, yes.
But, no, not intentionally.

You see, the thing is, when we moved into our new, 80+ old, bought “as-is” home, I was really excited and thought, there’s so much to do here, I’m going to have soooo much to blog about! But in all reality, there’s been so much to do here, there’s been no time to blog about it! The irony has settled in.

Combine that with finding out within a month of moving that there would be a new family member joining the home this September, and posting about the house got even more challenging. Especially considering I thought I could be super mom-to-be and have this blog and a baby blog…while also maintaining that old full-time job I have as a writer, too. Oh, and I’m still trying to figure out my new camera

Anyway, enough excuses. I owe the blogoshere a little peek into our home thus far.

And since I’ve titled this blog Living Room, it seemed only right to show you….the living room.

So, this is a look at it before we even closed. Luckily, this room was free of the wallpaper that had taken over the rest of the house. But the walls were incredibly bare. The floors, though hardwood, needed to be freshened up. The fireplace was brass. The window curtains had seen better days.

And a few shots with our stuff thrown around, but no “decorating” accomplished.

Now, 6 blood, sweat and tearful (yes, there have been tears…I’m pregnant, too, peeps) months later — it finally feels like our bright, fresh, liveable home.

– I painted the walls Behr Pismo Dunes, which is a grayish, clayish sort of color. I didn’t love it at first, but it’s growing on me.

– We also gave that trim a fresh coat of white to help it pop.

– I painted the fireplace black (transformation and steps here).

– I found the beveled mirror  above the fireplace at Pottery Barn

– We replaced the curtain with blinds, to help show off the beautiful molding around the windows.

– We had the floors in the entire first level refinished for a richer, warmer look.

One of the challenges from the beginning was working with the long shape of the room. With my mom’s help, we found just the right pieces to create a cozy, yet attractive little sitting area in front of the fireplace.

I found the mirrored table immediately, for $40 at Marhsalls.

 And, might I add, it looks awfully similar to this one at Pottery Barn for $250:

 

The chairs didn’t come so easily. I knew I wanted something simple, and not too large. I love the built-in bookcases, and the last thing I wanted to do was block them. Finally, after months and months of searching, I found ONE chair that I loved at, once again…Marshalls. But, they only had ONE. I bought it anyway, and called my mom and told her how half-way thrilled I was to have THE chair(s) I was looking for. I told her I would have to start searching HomeGoods and TJ Maxx’s across the city until I found its match…or else it would have to go back. Then, the very next day, I got home from work, and guess what was there? The second chair!! My wonderful mom went out on her own and found me the second! You guys don’t understand what a pain in the a$$ this search for the perfect chairs has been for both of us. So I can even tell you how thrilled I was to finally have them!

Then, behind those chairs are the awesome, solid wood, built-in bookcases. And probably the first thing I loved about the house. It’s actually been pretty fun trying to figure how to make the most of them.

One thing that I think is incredibly cool are the antlers (and if you know me, I’m typically not one to find pleasure in the sight of animal remains).


But, Lucas had actually been storing these in the basement of our old home. His dad is a biologist for a local college, and had found them out in the woods in the 70’s. Somehow Lucas ended up with them and thought they’d look cool on our shed in the backyard. He was pleasantly surprised when I told him that I would actually like to have them in our living room.

On the other side of the fireplace, I have a random little mix. I got fancy and created that artwork in Word. I had the birdcage leftover from our wedding, which we used as the envelope drop box. And I found that fish a while back at a local shop called Moonbeams.

I’ve also found a new love for Overstock.com. AKA, the TJ Maxx of the internet. That’s where I got our farmhouse coffee table.

And our apothecary-style TV stand. I was flattered when my aunt ask me if it was an antique, which totally reminded me of that episode of Friends when Rachael keeps buying things from PB but tells Phoebe they’re from flea markets…I digress.

So now, a few before and after looks:
  

 

I would still like to get a new couch at some point. But, with the dogs, cats and baby on the way, we’re going to go ahead and hold off on that one. And I would like to find a rug that adds a little more splash of color at some point, but that one works for now. Once again dogs, cats, baby…

Overall, I’m so happy to have this major room completed. It’s so nice to be able to just relax and enjoy the living room I’ve been working for!

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Filed under before and after, cottage, decorating, DIY, painting, remodel

You know you’re becoming your parents when…

…you come across your nearly obsolete music collection, and, without hesitation…pack it up and move it to the new home.

From Jock Jams to Jamiroquai, Duran Duran to Dave.
In my basement sit hundreds of memories – organized and honored – all in the form of Compact Discs.

Staring at this bountiful collection gives me a much deeper appreciation for those old Mama’s and Papa’s, Bee Gee’s, and Carpenter’s records that (I’m sure) still exist in my parent’s basement. Those old vinyls were much more than some classic songs my siblings and I would mockingly dance to at the drop of an old stereo needle. They were a soundtrack to my mom and dads’ lives.

And, let’s face it, these CDs are the soundtrack to mine. Even if they’re so scratched listening to them would be unbearable, or I honestly don’t even have a workable a CD player anymore, they’re here to stay.

Why?

Because I can still recall my first CD ever – the My Girl soundtrack – and driving west on Manchester with my dad and brother to Streetside Records to pick up a CD of my very own (a very big deal when you’re the youngest of 4 and hand-me-downs are a staple).

And, well, because I still remember the glory that came during the BMG years – when myself, my brothers,  and the rest of the world could purchase 12 CDs for the price of 1! And, no matter how b-grade those free albums were, we did it. And we loved it.

And, then of course, I will always hold a place in my heart for the rise of the fall – Napster.When it first hit the web (before it was deemed unlawful and shut down by the District Court), my college roommates and I would spend hours every night at our duplex on Pimlico, thinking up every song we could ever imagine, and downloading them till our hearts content. The next morning, we’d burn as many “mix” CDs as our old computers could take, the drive around campus, showcasing our newest creations. Those CDs might be the most valuable of all, as each song was chosen with great care and great meaning.

And, of course, beyond the memories of collecting each disc is the memory of listening to each and every song on repeat. I hear Mariah Carey’s Always Be My Baby, and just like that, I’m sitting on the sandy white Destin beaches during Spring Break ’96. Or Bob Marley Legend, the album that spurs the memory of my family floating on our noodles at our summer lakehouse. Or when I was incredibly sick my senior year of college, and scared of leaving the comforts of my home — my brother-in-law made me a CD with R. Kelly’s World’s Greatest repeated 12 times to lift my spirits. (It worked.) And 0f course, those little, random moments like driving around in my friend Julie’s Saturn blaring Nelly’s Ride Wit Me or dancing away out our duplex in Southridge to n’sync’s Bye, Bye, Bye.

Yep, music – and its subsequent memories – are unforgettable. And though this collection of discs could very easily be transferred into mp3’s on my ipod/iphone in the matter of a night, I have no plans to get rid of them anytime soon. Not only would I be sacrificing the opportunity for my own children to have the experience of getting lost in their parent’s music collection, I would be taking away a glimpse of what this girl was like long before she was ever a “mom.”  (fyi. I’m speaking in future terms with all the “mom” talk)

~ So, now I can’t help but be curious. What songs or albums spark your biggest memories? Do you still have the record/tape/cd to show it? ~

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Filed under happiness, the great indoors, this 'n that

Book Club for Winos

I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to find a good, easy-to-ready blog about books –  specifically books that match the interests of my wine-motivated book club. I’m sure they’re out there, I just haven’t had the time or patience to look hard enough. If I had that extra time on my hands, I would love to devote my own blog to the compelling dynamics of our club, and the books we choose to devour (and by devour I mean read passionately, not read at all, read a little, skim and/or just give up and watch the movie…).

But, lo and behold…there aren’t enough hours in my day. So that time-consuming pipe dream will now be a recurring post on my blog. After all, what we choose to read – and whom we spend our nights drinking wine and chatting for hours with – really is a transparent piece of our own Living Rooms.

Now, to reword an annoyingly overused (and overly paraphrased) tagline, “What happens at book club, stays at book club.” Don’t get me wrong…us girls don’t do anything crazy. But we definitely get chatty (like I said, it’s a wine-motivated book club). And since the girls in the club aren’t sitting around writing blogs about me, I don’t think I should be writing about them.

I do, however, love a good book review. And I figured you might like one too. We try our best to read a book a month. But being a mix of hard-working teachers, sales-reps, writers, bartenders, wives, mothers and mothers-to-be, that doesn’t always happen.

So here are my thoughts – with a touch of my recollected feedback from my book club companions – about what we have read in the past 6 or so months…

1. Eat, Pray, Love

If you’re still in Italy, put  down the book and go to the theater…it doesn’t get any better. I likened the book to grabbing a drink with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, and spending the entire night listening to her pout about how hard it was to spend three months eating great food, seeing beautiful places and meeting new men…and as she rambled away, all that my cynical mind could think was, “really you got divorced and when all your money ended up with your lawyers, you came up with a clever marketing scheme to get rich, and see the world. This pinot better be on you.”

Now, I have heard a lot of people say they liked it. And I did like the idea of the book. But, I feel like it lacked depth. I can see how the movie would be much, much better (a rarity), as so much is based on the beauty of these three cultures (Italy, India and Indonesia). And of course, it’s been a while since we’ve gotten to see Julia Roberts shine her pearly whites.

The book wasn’t for me. The overall response from book club — “eh.”

 

  2. The Glass Castle

 

Now this is a memoir worth reading!  I so, so, sooo loved this book! My favorite book-club choice by far.

Just imagine the most self-absorbed, nonsensical, outrageous couple you know…and give them 4 children. The world these kids were brought up in is almost too outrageous to believe, but that’s what makes the story so spectacular. Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up. It not only dips deep into your imagination, but makes you stop and think about nature vs. nurture along with what goes on among some aspect of our nation’s homeless population (I’m not in any way saying that all those in poverty live this way).  The book is written by one of the 4 kids in the family, and I thought she was brilliant.

I highly recommend this read. The overall response from book club — “wow.”*

*…”wow” is from what  I recall. One or two might have thought it was just, “okay.”

 

3. The Help

Interesting premise. Kept my attention. It wasn’t the greatest book I’ve ever read, but everyone else in book club really, really enjoyed it.

Set in the 60’s, it’s a very clever story told from three points of view — one, a wealthy, white southern girl; the other two, the hired “help.” It definitely felt inspirational, and had some great historical relevance that helps people from my generation get a glimpse about how much our parents and grandparents have seen and overcome. The dialect was a little tricky for me at first, and I felt like some of the parts were just left hanging, but I still think it’s worth the read. I can see my own children having to read this for a literature class some day.

I say check it out. The overall response from book club — “a must read!”

 

4. The Other Boleyn Girl

Deception, romance, royalty…I was so engrossed in this book.

I’ve never really known much about this family, so, to me, this book was an absolute page-turner.  However, since a lot of the girls in my book club had either watched The Tudors or seen The Other Boleyn Girl movie, they found the book to be long and slow. So if you know what happens, it’s probably not worth picking up. But, if you’re like me, and this is all new to you, definitely read it.

I say if you’re curious, read it. The overall response from book club — “we knew what happened.”

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Have you read any of these books and agree/disagree? Let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 Have any ideas on what we should read next? We’re always looking for something new, so let me know if you have any suggestions!

Our next book club is around the corner. We read The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe. I thought it was fantastic, but I’ll wait till I’m with the girls to give a review.

Happy reading!

– Emily

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Filed under book club for winos, this 'n that

A Year to Remember

So, Lucas and I just celebrated our 1 year anniversary.
YUM, cake from Sugaree Bakery...still delicious a year later!

Going back to the time when my life was consumed by wedding planning, one thing I always thought about was what from that day I would still have around in the years ahead (other than the husband, of course). One year later, it makes me happy to see that a few pieces are still being used to decorate our home.

One thing is this sign. Rather than doing typical table numbers, I decided that I would label each table according to a special moment or phrase that related to our relationship. I thought this sweet saying (found at Moonbeams in Kirkwoood http://www.moonbeams-kirkwood.com/) was the perfect way to pull each idea together. It was placed on the table which held our seating cards.

Since the wedding, the sign has sat on the table beside our front door.

Another thing I loved from the wedding were these tiny, silver elephants. Since our reception was at the St. Louis Zoo, they were the perfect accent piece. Plus, they say elephants are a symbol of wisdom and good fortune on your wedding day.

I used the elephants to hold up the descriptions of each designated table. I think I bought about 80 of them, and 40 were left (and collected by my mom) at the end of the night.

Picture taken by Nicole Welch Photography nicolewelchphotography.com

And now, these little guys keep the good fortune coming around the house…

And I couldn’t help but add this “3daysbeforetheweddingandallthisstuffmustgosomewhere!!!” shot. I took it just before they were all shipped out to the Zoo…

Of course there were also a few gifts that have been on display in our home since the big day, as well.

I love this needlepoint pillow my cousin/godmother made for me. The pillow is navy, which was my main color, and accented with tulips. However, tulips were not my wedding flowers, but they were the flowers I wish I could have (but August in St. Louis meant tulips were not an option).

And, finally, I love this picture. It was given to us by our good friends, Brian and Susie, and I think is such a fun, personalized wedding present.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already! I love going back and remembering the fun we had that day!

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Filed under the great indoors