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Thursday
Dec222016

a little christmas cheer in lydia's room

We are in full-on Christmas mode over here, baking cookies, listening to holiday tunes, burning our Christmas lights 24/7 and counting the days until Santa's arrival!  The most wonderful time of the year is even more magical when you're experiencing it through the eyes of your almost three year old and I'm loving every single minute as much as she is! We've had the house decorated since, literally, five minutes after Thanksgiving dinner, and this year we added some Christmas cheer to Lydia's room, as well.   Last week, she asked me for a Christmas tree for her room and, after gallivanting all over town and coming up empty-handed, I stuck some fresh cut branches in a glass vase and wrapped some twinkle lights around them.  Improvisation at its best!  I added some more twinkle lights to her gallery wall, and a stack of our favorite Christmas books and a miniature nutcracker to her chest.  My aunt sent her a sweet surprise over the weekend - a porcelain Christmas tree with the most beautiful lights and it's our new favorite heirloom as she won't go to sleep without it! Her room is so cozy to begin with but now even I have a hard time turning the lights out after reading our books at bedtime!  Since the weather's been too crappy to take pics of the Christmas decorations throughout the rest of the house (and to be honest, it's not much different from last year), I snapped a few shots of her room this morning:

Hope you're all enjoying these last few magical days before Santa comes!

Monday
Dec192016

last minute christmas gift ideas

Christmas is less than a week away and, with the exception of a gift for my dad (he's always the hardest person in the world to shop for), I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that I finished all the rest of my shopping over the weekend!  This is the first year in a long time that I'm done with time to spare; I always have the best intentions of starting early but I'm usually the one running around town and hitting up Amazon and getting my money's worth out of my Prime membership!  There's still time to get some pretty fabulous gifts, though, so I rounded up some of my favorite finds that I've blogged about a lot here on the blog that are fabulously priced and would make for a beautiful gift if you're in a pinch!

This tortoise ice bucket was my favorite gift last year.  It looks so chic on a bar setup and I've used it many times as a makeshift vase, too!

A preserved boxwood wreath adds a festive touch all year long and this one from Target is so well priced for such a generous size!

I don't know anyone who wouldn't love a blue and white ginger jar.  This one is a beauty and so budget-friendly!

A gorgeous set of marble cheese knives that are on sale right now for $15 (I got a set for myself and one for pretty much everyone I know who loves to entertain)

A Boat, A Whale and a Walrus is still one of my favorite recipe/entertaining books to gift and it looks so pretty on a bookshelf or coffee table, too!

My oversize clam shell, one of my favorite decorative accessories is on sale right now at ZGallerie.  Or, surprise that special someone and get the even more ginormous one!

A Diptyque candle set is the exception to the price-friendly gifts here but I love it so much for a best friend or sister because it's not typically something they would buy for themself!

This blue and white swirl vase looks gorgeous with big, fluffy hydrangea blooms!

Obsessed with these brass pineapple shot glasses; these are great for the perpetual entertainer and they look beautiful displayed, too!

I've spent a small fortune on myrtle topiary, only to kill them weeks later so I refuse to purchase any more for myself but that doesn't mean I wouldn't take one as a gift, haha!

A brass monogram door knocker for the monogram-obsessed!

This leopard lumbar pillow is bananas in person!

I bought this gold platter for a friend and loved it so much, I wanted to keep it for myself.  Perfect for serving cocktails or a bedside display!

What are some of your favorite gifts to give?

Thursday
Dec152016

guest suite progress: the bathroom

The longest running construction/reno project in history (also known as my upstairs guest suite) is finally nearing completion!  To be fair to our contractor, we knew when we hired him this past summer that it was the height of the season and that it would take a little longer than we had hoped it would (it was supposed to have been done in the end of September and here we are in December), but I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to have worked on our home and I'm SO thrilled with how it turned out!

You might remember a few months ago, I posted our plans for the bathroom up there (you can read about it here).  This was to be a full fledged guest suite for visiting family and friends to free up the other bedroom downstairs for baby boy's nursery and to also give our guests a space of their own, completely on the other side of the house, where they didn't have to tiptoe to the bathroom at night, in fear of waking a sleeping babe.  For the most part, we stuck to the plan and I love how it looks!  We tried to keep the cost down as much as possible so I looked to Home Depot, Lowe's, Amazon and Wayfair for almost everything.  And you know what?  It all looks like I paid a lot more than I did.

The bathroom.  This was our original plan. And this is how it's looking right now.  It's so crisp and clean and just so PRETTY.  The wall color is Etching by ICI paint and the gorgeous slate floors are Montauk Blue Slate from Home Depot. 

The subway tile and cast iron tub are from Lowe's (that tub weighed more than 500 pounds, took four guys to get it upstairs and was less than a cheapo fiberglass insert!!!)  The frameless tilting mirror is from Amazon and the gorgeous pedestal sink and faucet are from Signature Hardware, with whom I am seriously in love...their prices are INSANE good and their customer service just can't be beat. 

I wanted a chrome pedestal sink in here SO FREAKIN' BAD but I couldn't find one for less than $1000, so I went with a small white pedestal and I actually love it more!

At the last minute, I decided to put beadboard up instead of doing my version of board and batten like I had originally planned and I'm so glad I did.  I love the contrast, although it's soft, between the  blue/gray walls and the beadboard, which is painted Sherwin Williams Extra White like the cabinets, trim and built-ins in the rest of the house.  It adds just the right amount of texture and interest, not to mention that it looks so amazing adjacent to the slate floors.

For the rest of the living space, we did not want carpet but we also had to be mindful of our budget.  We found 6 inch wide bamboo flooring at Home Depot in a rich espresso finish that was on sale for just under $2 per square foot (cheaper than anything we could find at Lumber Liquidators) and it looks amazing against the light walls.

We still have to finish shelving in the bedroom/living area and the floors need a good cleaning, so I'll save pics of that for another post.  All in all, this may have taken ten years to finish, but I couldn't be happier with how it turned out!  Now it's time to buy a rug, hang window treatments, move furniture in and decorate...which also means the downstairs guest room will be freed up for me to make a nursery for Luca!  I can't wait to show you all how it looks once I get everything in and set up! 

Monday
Dec122016

books for everyone on your christmas list

Well, that was a hot blogging minute, wasn't it?  If the next two weeks fly as fast as the last month did for me, I'm in trouble, as I've still got quite a few gifts to cross off my list!  I had high hopes for sharing my Christmas decor today but the weather has been so crappy lately, making it impossible to get decent pictures, so instead, I thought I'd kick off the week with some gift ideas - books!!    Whenever I'm in a jam for gift ideas for someone, I try to think of things I would love to receive and, nine times out of ten, I end up going with a beautiful book.  Who doesn't love a gorgeous coffee table book or a delectable new cookbook?  I don't think you can go wrong.  There are a ton of new ones out lately that would make for a gorgeous gift (Mark D. Sikes' Beautiful and Ina Garten's Cooking for Jeffrey are among my latest favorites), so I rounded up a bunch here that I'm loving lately; you're sure to find something for that special someone on your list who is IMPOSSIBLE to shop for:

Beautiful - Mark D. Sikes / Beaches - Gray Malin / Domino

Cooking for Jeffrey - Ina Garten / Shake / The Southerner's Cookbook

Monograms for the Home / Meat.  Everything You Need to Know / A House in the Country

Cabinet of Natural Curiosities / A House by the Sea - Bunny Williams / The History of Surfing - Matt Warshaw

Monday
Nov142016

embracing the chaos

I've sat down to write this post about a hundred times the last few days but part of embracing the chaos that is life with a toddler and a newborn means that there is zero free time to go to the bathroom, let alone update the blog! And we are STILL in the midst of the longest lasting construction project going on upstairs, which is giving me a fair share of gray hairs.  I'm wearing lots of hats, applying under eye concealer with a shovel and I honestly don't remember the last time I shaved my legs, but I've never been happier (or more exhausted)!

Luca is ten weeks old now and is an absolute angel baby; I don't knowif it's because I'm so much more relaxed than I was when I had Lydia, but he's just the sweetest baby.  He loves to watch his sister and is a champion snuggler, which is partly why I don't get anything done because I'm so reluctant to put him down!  I'm still finding my footing, in terms of a routine, but he sleeps well and nurses even better and is growing at a record pace!  The only frustration is that he's a champion at spitting up.  We go through three outfits, on average, before lunch time and I have to time going anywhere around when I'm going to feed him because I have to hold him upright for 30 minutes after.  The doctor says he will outgrow it and that it's just a "laundry problem" since he's so big and is not in any discomfort, but it's still so heartbreaking to watch him do it and even more difficult for me to watch all that breast milk come back up!  

Lydia took to her baby brother immediately and honestly, has been so much better than we ever could have expected.  She's definitely testing me more than she ever did before but I made it a point from the very beginning to make her a part of everything - changing diapers, giving baths, reading stories and singing lullabies - she's so eager to help and we make a huge deal and fuss over her anytime she does something for her brother and to watch her beam with pride makes me so happy!  She's got her moments, though, like any other toddler with a new sibling, and it's usually between the hours of 4 and 8 pm when the house is more like a zoo/circus/mental ward while I attempt to make dinner, clean up, give baths...  I know I'll get into a routine soon enough and that these days won't last forever, and honestly, I feel more sadness than relief at that thought because it's all going so fast. All I want for Christmas is for my babies to stay little!

I've been on Instagram a lot lately, it's so much easier to snap and post a pic, so follow along there for more updates @bungalowblue!  Happy Monday!