Apr 28, 2017

Home Inspiration: A Coastal Chic Space

Happy Friday! Let's lighten up the blog a bit, shall we?
I have been dreaming about warm days on the water for months, so decided to put that inspiration behind this space design.

It's like a little stay-cation for your eyes. Enjoy!

Side Board // Table Lamp // Decanter // Palm Pillowcase // Triangle Pillowcase //
Plant Basket // Coffee Table Splurge or Save // Gold Book // Faux Banana Plant // Gold Bowl //
Armchair Splurge or Save // Fringe Pillow // Side Table // Rug

Whenever I put together these mood boards, sometimes I get a little anxiety because all the stuff seems too close to each other and everything is piled on everything else.

The goal of a mood board is to showcase the overall FEEL of the space....not, necessarily, that you would expect every piece to be placed so close together in real life.

I imagined a spacious room, with large windows and french doors along one wall bringing in an abundance of natural light, with slightly off-white walls and light colored hardwood floors.

On one interior wall would sit a beautiful wood sideboard styled with a sea glass table lamp and space for some bar ware, like a natural wood-topped decanter.

Not all art needs to be hung, so I thought some layered prints would anchor the space, and the abstract waves and geode artwork provide enough interest without too much competition.

In the center of the room would be four gray armchairs surrounding a large natural wood coffee table. A light, geometric rug would ground this furniture, providing a designated space for conversation and wine, obviously.

I also found equally appealing, more affordable alternatives to the armchair and coffee table options.

My go-to coffee table accessories are always a good coffee table book, a (faux) plant that never wilts, and a simple gold bowl to hold whatever you need.

Style the side table with some fresh peonies and be sure to hide the unsightly planter your majesty palm came in with this beautiful grass basket.

Finally, I LOVE a good throw pillow, but WHY are they so pricey!?
While Target never fails with options like this black and white fringe, I found that you can buy beautiful pillowcases on Amazon like the palm and triangle prints, add a pillow insert, and it's literally half the the price (or more!) than what you would find in stores.

This is such a great alternative for me because throw pillows are guaranteed to get ruined in my house with the pets, so an affordable option that can be changed out with the seasons is key!

And with that, I'm off to enjoy the weekend.
Hope you find some inspiration for your home with these designs! XO
Apr 26, 2017

How Infertility Has Shaped My Life - NIAW 2017

This week is NIAW, or National Infertility Awareness Week.

To be honest, I didn't really want to participate. Being defined as an infertile and stumbling down this path to parenthood has, at times, broken me down so far, that sometimes I just want to pretend like it never happened.

Sometimes I would rather go back to before my biological clock started ticking so loudly that it all but consumed my every thought.
To go back to our wedding day.
When life was a lot simpler.
Back before fear and failure didn't try to choke me out in the middle of the night.

My husband and I have been together since 2005 and were married in 2010.
Shortly after my grandfather died in 2012, is when that itch started.
I wanted to be a mom.
I wanted us to be parents.

We started trying to conceive in 2012 and our rocky climb to parenthood has been the forefront of our lives ever since.
From going the old-fashioned way for about a year, to preliminary testing, temping, and Clomid...nothing gave us even a squinter of a positive pregnancy test.

We were referred to an RE (reproductive endocrinologist) by late 2014, with the hope that an IUI would do the trick. While prepping for our first IUI, our doctor suggested we get genetic testing, because more knowledge can only be good.

Our results both came back positive as carriers for MCAD.
The chances of us both carrying this gene and ending up together is roughly 1 in 289,000,000.
The chances of us birthing a baby with MCAD was 1 in 4.
IUI was quickly cancelled and we were fast tracked to IVF with genetic embryo testing.

IVF was a mess.
We spent all of 2016 working against the clock. On top of our genetic issues, I was also diagnosed with lower ovarian reserve, higher FSH, and low antral follicle count.
After three retrieval rounds, we only managed to collect five blastocysts that were mature enough for PGD and PGS testing.
Of those five, only two were considered normal.
We completed two transfers.
The first one failed. Beta was negative.
The second? Positive.
I was pregnant for 10 weeks with our little baby boy, and then miscarried at Christmas.

2017 has been spent healing, physically and emotionally.
I have been working very hard to regain a sense of self that I seemed to lose along the way, over the last five years.
I have been in therapy to work through all the emotions I am having.
My husband and I have been on rocky ledges at times.
Talk of divorce has been a very real conversation.

We know we are stronger than this disease.
We want US back.
We are reconnecting in ways I haven't felt in years.

It's not linear. It's very bumpy and we have both crumbled and rebuilt over and over and over again.
Work and life have not been rosy either, and we are doing our best to keep putting one foot in front of the other...even if it's slow going.

Infertility can easily rob you of the joys in life.
I am learning to sow it into my soul, rather than laser focus on it while letting everything else that makes me ME slip through my fingertips.
I am working to find better balance, to live in the day rather than focus on all the planning that has never come to life yet.

I don't know if I will ever be a mom to an earth-side baby.
I am growing weary of fighting for it.
When I set out to become a mom, I never dreamed I would be up against such a battle.
It's like a tsunami. The force against my dream has been so rough, and I am not really a good swimmer.
Sometimes I don't know if it's better to let go or keep fighting.
I have found true joy again in times away from thoughts of never becoming a mom.
Life WOULD be a lot easier.
I think.

But that nagging regret...that I might regret not trying again, is what keeps me perked to keep going.
That maybe this chapter isn't over yet.
Either way, I am learning to be able to accept both routes.
That whether or not I am a mom does not wholly define me as a person.

I will keep writing about my life, to spread awareness that women and couples in similar situations are not weird and are most definitely not alone.
It's okay to not feel like you want to be a warrior against this disease forever.
And it's okay if you're at that point of taking Infertility on by the horns.
I know I sure as Hell was last year.

If you're still reading, thank you for participating in my journey so far.

One of the beautiful things about this disease is the community I have connected with.
Those of you in the midst of fertility treatments, or with an earth-side baby in your arms...you can help.

There is a website dedicated to documenting real-life stories and surveys about our treatments called FertilityIQ. I took the time a couple months ago to rate and detail my journey with Dr. Jacobs.

During NIAW, FertilityIQ is offering a $10,000 grant for completing a survey of your doctor and facility. This helps so much when trying to decide what to do when you are faced with fertility treatments. I blindly chose Dr. Jacobs, and I'm so glad that just kind of fell into my lap, but not everyone is so lucky.

This website helps put real-life information at our disposal...and it includes everything from the specialist themselves, all the way down to the admin staff, labs, pricing...the whole deal.

If you complete your survey by the end of the day April 27, 2017, you are entered for a chance to win that grant. The grant can be used for future treatments, or gifted to someone in need.

The survey can be completed HERE.
Details about the grant are HERE.

Again, thank you for following along for so many years. I cannot see the final destination for this journey just yet, but I hope to better incorporate the bad with the good moving forward.

Take care, XO
Apr 25, 2017

Type A People Live for Stationery Details

If you haven't figured it out by now, I am a very Type A person.
I like logistics, planning, prepping, lists...details.

Give me all the little details and I will make something wonderful.

Wouldn't you agree?

Obviously we all know that a Type A personality and Infertility do. not. mix. and that has been a tough pill to swallow, but when it comes to designing the big and little things in my life..I still get the satisfaction of a job well done...all the way down to the nitty gritty details.

When I was pregnant, I giddily started looking at Baby Shower invite ideas, and while a lot of designs were beautiful, I always wished I had more control over the design process.

Enter Basic Invite.

Not only does this company have a ton of beautiful designs, but there are so many details that can be customized to create stationery that is so uniquely YOU.

I was blown away with the color options available for nearly every aspect of each invite. You can choose different background colors, font and font colors, change layouts, add personal photos, and the list goes on down to the tiniest detail.

The best part is, if you're stuck between designs, you can order full-size, customized prints for real-life comparison. I love this option because sometimes a computer screen can make the color look different, and there is nothing like holding the real thing in your hands before signing off.

You can even coordinate envelope colors and have Basic Invite assist with free address collection!

Graduation season is right around the corner, and I am a sucker for snail mail.

I have watched my nieces, nephews, and cousins turn into fine young adults, and would love to see their beautiful faces on one of these invitations in the near future.

Basic Invite has literally thought of all the big and little details to make the final presentation thoughtful and professional. It gives me all the heart eyes when a design plan comes together.

Check out Basic Invite, and tell me...what design is your favorite?

A huge thanks to my friends at Basic Invite for sponsoring today's post!

Apr 21, 2017

Contain Yourself: My Favorite Planters

When creating a space, I always accessorize with plants first.
To me, they fill a space with life (literally) and because a plant typically needs to be watered weekly, I get to spend time in areas of my home that may be neglected to no more than a quick pass-through.

I like the planters to fit the feel of the room, but not compete for attention.
The key is to focus on neutrals and textures that are similar to their surroundings.
Plants literally go with any decor, but it's the planters themselves that make or break your design.

So, I have rounded up my favorite planters to inspire your green thumb!

Zigzag Terra Cotta // Gold Dot // Tall Rectangular // White Geometric // Macrame Planter Holder // Wood Base
Simple White Round // Set of 2 Textured // Black Hanging Rail // Set of 3 Concrete // Gray Geometric

I have a bunch of these simple white planters around my home. I ended up removing the bottom of each so the drain holes are exposed, and adding a clear shallow reservoir from Home Depot underneath.

Our porch has beautiful black iron railing, reminiscent of something you would see on a New Orleans street.

I am dying to grab these black hanging planters from cb2....just need to find a promo code or get a deal on free shipping and I'm on it!

By the pool, I wanted to make a larger statement with some unusual plants that stood up to the wind and the rain over the summer time. Since the plants were so colorful, I chose large white planters.

So tell me, do you have a green thumb, or do you go for some cute planters and faux plants?
I like a good mix of both, to be honest. Some plants are destined for the garbage within weeks and some heartier ones I have kept for years!

Have a good weekend and thanks for reading!! XO
Apr 14, 2017

Home Design: Our Bedroom Reno

Happy Friday! I can't believe we have already flown through the first half of April!
Summer is so close!!

I recently completed our bedroom renovation.
This labor of love took a blank slate with one random lamp, a few mis-matched pillows, and no focal point....

...and gave it a clean, mid-century modern vibe.

This has been a work in progress for many years. I started collecting pieces as I found them, with the final pieces of the puzzle being lighting and paint, and we are thrilled with the results!

As with every room in our home, I wanted the bedroom to have a gender neutral color scheme, with a contrast between light and airy, and dark and moody. My go-to color scheme is typically a mix of gray, cream, white, natural wood, solid textiles and pops of metal.
In this case, I went with gold and brass.

I originally painted our entryway using the same dark gray paint called Urbane Bronze from Sherwin Williams. I loved it so much it was a no-brainer to use again in our bedroom.

Our sleeping situation is different, so buying a standard headboard was out.
Instead, I came up with an idea to stencil a whimsical crane motif as a feature wall.

I did this by purchasing a large flock of cranes stencil (yes, there is shipping, there is no way around it. Trust me, I checked!) and this gold Modern Master's paint.
Don't forget a level and a set of small paint brushes!

I didn't follow the stencil exactly, to avoid an obvious repeat. Instead, I mixed and matched sections until I was satisfied with the end result. The gold paint dried quickly so I didn't have to worry about smearing anything as I overlapped sections.

I love the way the dark accent walls accentuate the hand-plastered curve of our ceiling.
They don't make homes like this anymore!

Our ceiling used to be home to a very ugly fan, so I chose a gold-leaf statement piece in its place. This light DOES need to be hard-wired so please hire an electrician, or find the patience to listen to your husband swear while you're standing inches away from his face, holding the (somewhat heavy) light above your head. as he screws everything into place.

But, I can assure you she is absolutely worth the effort!

We love a dark room to sleep in, so have always purchased insulated, black-out drapery. These neutral taupe colored curtains are 95" in length and perfectly frame the original balcony french doors.

Tip: If your ceilings are low, always bring the curtains all the way up to the ceiling, above the door frame, if possible. It gives the illusion of a taller space!

The natural wood cabinet was purchased at Homegoods a few years ago, but I am loving the look of this wood cabinet as an alternative. You sure can't beat the price!

It matches the wooden twist side tables perfectly!

The accessories in this room include a geometric frame, some faux succulents, and a couple wicker storage baskets to round out the look!

Shop the look!

Ceiling Light // Picture Frame // Drapery // Wall Sconces: Hardwire or Plug-In // Paint // Side Table //
I hope you take a bit of inspiration from my work and make it your own.

Oh, also! I have a Target promo that can help with your home design

Target is having a sale in their Home Section. Most home decor items are 25% off, and Furniture is 20% off but I can get you an additional 10% with online code SPRING.

Thanks for reading and supporting my design efforts!! XO
Apr 10, 2017

Grief Will No Longer Be My Crutch

We were graciously gifted a queen-sized bed from my parents (previously used, but still in excellent condition) that would replace the poor-quality full-sized bed in our guest room.

As this was the first queen sized bed we ever owned, I now had to come up with bedding.

Between a quick jaunt to Homegoods and snagging a nice comforter and two extras pillows from my mom...I now had a beautiful, neutral gray color scheme assembled....that didn't match my foggy blue walls.


I was more in love with the bedding than I was the walls, so logically the only answer was to zip over to Ace, grab a gallon of paint, and spend the next three hours frantically painting, sipping Grapefruit Shandy's, and blasting Tom Petty.

And it was glorious.

This, my friends, is my mecca.
The windows were wide open, the warm wind swirling around the room.

It makes me happy to know I can create something beautiful with my own hands.
I have found more joy in minor home renovations during this season of grief than I ever imagined.

I feel glimpses of the real me during these times.
Happy, determined, unwavering, confident.

I want to move past this uncontrollable sadness and anger so bad I can't stand it.
I feel like I need to push myself past the anxiety and just. go. outside already.
I don't know why it's so different than when I would get ready to go to work...but it just is.

Did you know that it was nearly 80 degrees this entire weekend, and I didn't go outside once to enjoy it?
This is soooooo not like me. I live for warm weather.

I almost feel like I need to start forcing myself to say yes.
Just say yes.
Get to wherever I'm asked to be and see how I feel.

Mark shined up the new car all day Saturday, then asked me to go to dinner.
Such a nice gesture, right?

Well, apparently not for someone like me.
I huffed and puffed and cried and said I couldn't do it.

So instead, he went to the grocery store, bought lobster and wine, and made us dinner.

I mean...COME. ON. Who wouldn't be appreciative of that?

He is doing his part to accept his new crazy wife.
But shouldn't I be doing my part to be less crazy for him?

And then of course I felt guilty because he's so awesome and I'm so awful right now.

I'm so tired of feeling like this reclusive asshole.
I'm so tired of apologizing for my atrocious behavior.
I'm so tired of feeling like I'm using this crutch of grief to keep acting like a menace and just telling everyone they need to accept it.
I'm not me.

Right now I feel like I'm at that point in Kill Bill when she is buried in a wooden coffin, many feet below ground, where she has to literally punch her way out of the box and climb to the surface.

I'm past the point of running around scared and blaming grief.
I'm ready to punch through the fucking box and start climbing.

I know the fun, loud, laughing, sarcastic girl is in there somewhere.
I have been sitting around trying to wait for her to come back, but maybe I've been doing it wrong.
Maybe I have to resolve to go get her.
To force her back.
To get out my reclusive comfort zone and start living life again.

I keep watching warm, sunny days and people's laughter and gatherings from a distance.
I'm tired of watching everything as though it's a movie.

Grief will no longer be my crutch.
It will no longer define me.
I am so much more than infertility, and this loss, and this grief.

And I'll prove it.
Thanks for reading. XO
Apr 7, 2017

Happy Little Things : April

Happy Friday!
People in the Midwest, can we please all say a prayer that yesterday's temps were the lowest we will have for many, many months!? Bring on the sunshine and warm weather!

I know Tuesday's post was a bit of a downer. I never said I'm good at sugar-coating anything.
But, there will be a nice mix of fun bits and real-talk on the blog moving forward, and today I decided to focus on the good.

To keep things light, fun, and well...HAPPY...here are a few odds and ends that made me smile this week. I hope they bring a smile to your face too. :)

Plate // Bowl // Mug // Candle // Hustlin' Print // Bunny Cookie Jar // Flamingo Print // Bath Bombs // Concrete Planters
I found a new discount website called Spring, and these cute little polka-dot plates immediately made me say that's so cute so I had to share.

Target is having a deal on all Easter stuff. Spend $25 and get a $5 gift card!
I'm not really into Easter decorating, but their bunny cookie jar is neutral enough to add to my kitchen for a hint of spring. Hell, they even think this adorable gold-striped bowl is specific to Easter!
If they want to throw money at me to buy normal stuff, I'm in!

I am ashamed to admit how often I will have leftover cake for breakfast on the weekends.
This mug totally calls me out. Plus, it's Kate Spade....HELLO! Too cute.

I love a good citrus scented candle for spring (say that three times fast).
Especially if it's poured into a mason jar!

I have been looking for a good print to fancy up my office. Something that is HR appropriate but also subtly conveys my love for gangster rap. This cute little shop hit the nail on the head.

I am literally obsessed with flamingo's. I saw this print and wish that if she ever turns it into wallpaper, I will definitely paper a room in my house with it. Mark would be thrilled.

Bath bombs. We all know about Lush...but we also know how expensive theirs are. My dear friend Holly, who I met through Instagram, as we both struggled with infertility, has a darling little etsy shop and gifted me a few of her handmade bombs to try.
Ladies....get yourself some. Bonus there are super cute ones for kids that have a secret rubber ducky hidden inside! Seriously, HOW CUTE!

Finally...I saw these concrete planters and believe they would be the perfect addition to my desk. They come in 3's, are handmade, and are the perfect little size for an air-plant or a stack of pens.
I love the earthy-feel and the price-tag.

Have a lovely weekend, folks! XO
Apr 4, 2017

Healing from Grief: What is Good for my Soul

Healing from grief has been one of the most exhausting, yet defining moments in my life so far.

I never fathomed in a million years that I would still be struggling each week with my thoughts and emotions. I find myself fighting to get back to the old normal, while pushing the glimpses of a new normal aside.

I do recognize I am getting better.
My outbursts aren't as irrational.
I don't cry as often.

Right now I am certain of a few things...
I can't commit to plans, much less make decisions outside of work.
I lost my sense of humor and don't grasp sarcasm that well.
I don't tolerate bullshit in the slightest.

I'm a real peach, I tell ya.

I have been trying to be fun-loving and care-free...but I just can't.
And then I get mad at myself because I can't and don't understand why.

I'm not cutting myself any slack.

I see my husband rolling through life like December never happened. He seems to be past the worst of his grief, even if it does creep to the surface here or there. It's very rare if it does.

I see that and I don't understand why I'm not in the same place.
Why can't I just move forward and be normal, right?
When does it end?

None of this has an answer and not having a timeline for completion is literally making me insane.
I am exhausted with trying to justify why I'm acting crazy, or irrational at certain situations.
And I am tired of apologizing.

What I need is a little acceptance from those closest to me.
To hope that this isn't my new forever.
To know I AM getting the help I need.

To stop being so god damned pushy. Pushy belongs no where in my healing process.

I am literally exhausted from doing all the normal things I do in a week: hit the gym, meal prep, shower, go to work, connect with my husband and spend time with our pets, create beautiful things, grocery shop, clean the house.

And you can believe me when I say that I am so very frustrated with myself for hardly having any additional energy to be social. I tried it earlier this year and it made me a miserable cow.

When I was feeling good, I could plaster on a fake smile and get through the event, even if I wasn't feeling it...but right now I just can't.

My sleep is still broken.
My heart still hurts.
I still well up with tears.
I have headaches most days and a lot of tension in my shoulders.

But I am getting better with each passing day.

My therapist has reiterated that I don't need permission or persuasion from ANYONE, to do or feel one way or another. That I need to carve out more time for me...not only to spend time with the emotions surrounding grief...but also to just do what is good for my soul...whatever that is.

And what has been good for my soul right now is designing, and then doing nothing else.
We wrapped up our bedroom renovation last weekend and I couldn't be happier.
The next day, I grocery shopped and perused the aisles of Home Depot with my dog.
When I got home, I had to take a nap because I was overwhelmed.

Do you see how fragile I am right now?

As a challenging, always winning, Type A person...I wish you could understand how weird this is for me.

To need a nap because I went grocery shopping.
To get angry when someone is sarcastic with me.
To feel beaten down when someone tries to push me to be social.
To feel dizzy when someone asks me to make a decision.
To feel like the whole world views me as an alien.
To have people talk really, really slowly to me because they see me starting to get worked up over something small.

What is good for my soul is simplicity. I just wish I could implement it better.
There will always be plans. I am happy to be invited to them. I just know I can't commit to a lot of them.

My goal for April is to be more selfish. I guess I thought I was but apparently it's not enough.
I'm so used to making all the plans and decisions, and I totally get how weird it is to pull a 180 and back completely away from all of it.

My husband has been especially shocked. Simple questions like what should we eat for dinner are typically met with, please make the decision, I don't care.

It's rude. But like I said...I have no capacity right now for small talk. I am short with people.
I don't really mean it, but I really am so bone-tired most days that I am not nice.

I am expecting everyone around me to pick up my slack. I guess I never realized just how much I did before all Hell broke loose. I really did hold a lot of ropes together to keep the boat afloat.

Anyways, I suppose that's enough rambling for one day.
If you are going through something similar, please know that all of this is completely normal.
I would have laughed if someone said that to me three months ago, but it really is true.

At some point I will be a more consistently positive person, but today is not that day.
Thanks for reading. XO