Done!: August To-Do List

I'm back! We had a wonderful vacation at the beach last week. If you can’t tell from the picture, A also had a great time!

While I may be back physically, it is taking me much longer to get back mentally!

Today, I’m borrowing an idea from CleanMama, with a Done! list for August. Becky is so organized, and her blog always inspires me to tackle my to-do list.

The concept is simple, but so smart. Break down your goals into smaller, realistic projects that you can actually accomplish. Give yourself a deadline, and then get it done.

Project Organize My Life (POML) started out as one of my 2012 Resolutions. The list was small in January, but gets added to pretty frequently. Unfortunately, items get added more quickly than items are crossed off. I’m proud to say that I have completed a few projects, but I love the idea of breaking down the rest of the list by month. And writing about it here keeps me accountable!

Done! August To-Do List:
• Clean out my personal email
• Upload all iPhone pictures & videos to an online storage site
• Backup all family pictures & videos to an online storage site
Create a warranty binder
• Finish and order one Blurb album

I'll blog about each project as I complete them. Wish me luck!


{Home Tour Friday} - Gallery Wall

Long before Pinterest (when I would tear out sheets of magazines and save them in a big binder), I had hundreds of gallery walls saved for future reference. When we were first looking at homes, I always tried to picture where my big gallery would go. I loved the idea of a long hallway with pictures all along one side, or a long staircase with pictures flanking both sides.

Aside from my family & friends, pictures are probably the thing I cherish the most. I take more photos than I know what to do with (I took over 5,000 pictures in A’s first year - and that is not an exaggeration), so displaying them in our home is extremely important to me.

When we bought our split-level home, I had to modify my dream gallery wall. I knew I could fill the stairwell and hallway with photos, but they would be separate from each other. I figured by using the same frames throughout, I could make them appear as a cohesive unit. I spent a lot of time with newspaper taped to the wall, trying to find the perfect arrangement of frames. I didn’t want to rush into putting them on the wall, and regret my arrangement later.

I love love LOVE our gallery wall. It is one of the first things you see when you walk into our home, and the little sneak peek you get from the foyer draws your eye up the stairs. It is a wonderful snapshot of our life - our wedding, baby pictures of A, puppy pictures of Otto, and some family pictures thrown in there too. My only wish is that I had more wall space!

view from bottom of the stairs
close up of frames
second part of the gallery wall - upstairs hallway
wedding shadowbox - small hallway to bathroom & playroom
view from hallway looking down the stairs
I try to change out pictures every few months, but part of me loves looking at the older pictures, too. We have all of our wedding pictures in an album in the living room (which I love to look through!), but having some pictures and our shadow box in the hallway are sweet reminders of our day. You can see a little bit of the gallery wall from every room upstairs, and of course, from the living room.  This wall is one of my favorites parts of the house!

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner SUYL - How you display photos.

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Friday!


Guest Posting at Life of Splendor

I'm so honored to be guest posting at Life of Splendor today!

Lindsay asked for some of her readers to post their favorite rooms while she is away in Nicaragua. I'm sharing our living room, which is really our everything-room. It is my favorite room in the house!

I hope you'll stop by, and while you are there, check out the rest of Lindsay's blog! She has a beautiful home, and a bathroom renovation that I love. I mentioned it before, but her bathroom is the inspiration for our upcoming renovation this fall!

Happy Thursday!



Today I'm enjoying some sun and family time! In lieu of what I was going to post today, here are some pictures of my favorite puppy, Otto!

Craig surprised me with Otto on December 23, 2009. Best Christmas present, ever!

We almost lost Otto at 10 weeks old, from an allergic reaction to his distemper vaccine. He went into anaphylactic shock, and the vet had to use epinephrine to restart his heart. We've come to discover over the last 2.5 years, that Otto has an extremely sensitive immune system, and in addition to food allergies, also has a severe allergy to many vaccines.

Our vet literally saved his life, and holds a very special place in my heart. We see him more often then we see much our family, and the vet office is our second home. We don't even have to say who we are when we call anymore - all the sweet ladies who answer the phone, know our voices.

Our vet told us this week that he's leaving the practice. And I cried. Really, I did. He is moving too far for us to go visit him at his new practice, but assured us we could always call him on his cell phone. This guy loved Otto like he was his own dog, and I know he always had his best interest at heart. I'm sure Otto has a special place in his heart too, as I know with 100% certainty he never had to save the life of a 10 week old puppy before.

It is amazing to me how Otto came into our lives, and stole our heart from the very first day. I love him like a child, and he is such a huge part of our family. My heart melts when I see him with A - he loves him so very much.  I know they will grow up to be the best of friends, and that Otto will always be watching out for him.

We love you, Otto!


{Home Tour Friday} - Foyer

The title of this post should really be, {Home Tour Friday} - "Foyer". We really don't have a foyer. When you walk into our home, you walk straight into the living room. Despite the layout, we've tried our hardest to create a distinct entry space without closing off the room.

Our foyer consists of a small bench, a basket for shoes, Otto's toys, and a small rack for coats & hats. Because we're short on space, I have to be diligent about keeping this space clutter-free. Usually the bench is my purse drop-spot, but lately A has been very interested in its contents, so we've moved it to the stairs!

To the left is our living room, and straight ahead is our kitchen. The stairs lead to the upstairs hallway; the hallway consists of our gallery wall, which I'll be sharing next week.

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner today, for SUYL - Foyers!

Happy Friday, friends!


Wednesday Love

I'm linking up with Jamie for What I Love Wednesday!

1. West Elm
I'm not usually a West Elm fan, but opening their fall catalog had me feeling differently. Here are some of my favorites!

I'm loving this Plaid Bedding. I think it would be adorable in a little boy's room. Classic, but modern. Cute!


This screams fall (which I'm dreaming of... see below). Would be so cozy for the couch!


2. Twenty Three Oh One Blog
I don't know how I've never read this blog before. I'm obsessed! Her nursery is AH-mazing. It makes me think I really could make our smaller bedroom into a nursery (one day). And the baskets on the wall? Genius! Anthony's room may need a makeover soon. What perfect toy storage!

3. Erin Condren Life Planner
I posted all about it here, but I really love it. The biggest change has been I no longer have 50 random post-it notes to check when I get home. I just open to the week and there is plenty of space for all I need to write!

4. Dreaming about Fall Outfits
When it's this hot, all I can think about it is the cooler weather ahead. I've been loving all the fall outfits I've seen on Pinterest, but this is one of my favorites!

5. This little guy
He melts my heart a million times a day.

Happy Wednesday!


Bloggers 411

I'm linking up with Becky from MrstoMama today, for the Bloggers 411!

Here are some random facts about me, or as Becky said: "things that any BFF should know!"

• My husband, Craig (I call him C on the blog), is my best friend. He is also an amazing dad, and my partner in crime. He agrees to every DIY project I come up with, regardless of how crazy it is. I love him more everyday, and look forward to the many many years we have together.

• Otto (our dog) is named after the mascot for Syracuse University (Otto the Orange). My husband and I have more future dog names than we do future kids' names. Ha!

• When I was pregnant, I was nervous I wouldn't love the baby as much as I love my dog. My son, Anthony, is now 15 months old. I love Otto with all my heart and always will, but can honestly say there is no love like a mother has for her child. 

• I love my parents more than words can say. I am so grateful that they decided to move closer to us, and offered to watch A during the day while we are at work.

• My confirmation name is Exupéry (from The Little Prince). I was trying to make a statement (I was 16), and to this day, I can still see the look on my parents face when they announced me in church. They knew ahead of time, but I'm pretty sure they thought I would change it before the day came.

• When my husband and I were married, I took my maiden name as my middle name. I'm proud that I can carry on our family name, and hope that one day my children will use my maiden name as a middle name for their kids.

• I started playing Ice Hockey when I was 7 (with the boys), and played all the way through college. Most people don't believe me when I say this (why would I make this up?), but I have the thighs to prove it.

• I love the smell of matches, new magazines and lilacs.

• The number one thing I craved my entire pregnancy was watermelon. I could seriously eat a whole one by myself, every two days.

• When I 'grow up', I want to buy a farmhouse in the country, with lots and lots of land. And then I want to rescue as many dogs as I can possibly afford, and spoil them rotten.

• I'm scared of the car-wash. I'm not necessarily scared of going through it, but the moments just before stress me out. I never know if my tires are in the right spot, and start to wonder what will happen if they aren't. And I don't know if I should stay in the car, or get out. I really don't remember the last time I brought my own car to the car wash!

• I'm a worst-case-scenario planner. When I lay in bed at night, I figure out what I would do if A) someone broke into the house, or B) if the house caught on fire. I think having a plan, and playing it over in my head, would help me stay level headed in the event something actually did happen. Just agree with me.

• I love thrifting and antiquing more than I should. I could 'just go look' every weekend, and be perfectly happy. I love thinking of all the history and stories contained in these pieces.

• I love consistency and schedules for my everyday routine, but in my home, I love to change things around. I could rearrange furniture, move photographs, or rotate accessories every weekend. I'm pretty sure it drives my husband crazy, but he can blame my parents. They wouldn't let me rearrange my room at home until I was 10, so now I'm making up for lost time!

• Last but not least, here a few pictures. Enjoy!
(Photos taken by the amazing Bryan Avigne Photography)


Erin Condren Life Planner Review

Well, it's here! And just to get this out of the way - I love it!

This is the first time I've ordered an Erin Condren Planner. I had been using MomAgenda for the past few years, and loved it. Last year, that planner stopped working for me. I'm not sure why (maybe because I was mesmerized by the love for Erin Condren online, and secretly wanted a Life Planner!), but I stopped using it. I felt disorganized, and knew that when the Erin Condren Planners were launched this year, I wanted in.

I ordered the Viva España Planner - Watercolor, and had the EC team use only the classic font on the front for our family name. I also ordered a set of the colorful pens

I've only been using the Life Planner for 2 days, but here are my thoughts so far...

1) Erin and her team have thought of everything! There is so much detail in every part of this planner. I'm not surprised (now) that it takes almost 2 weeks to get this in the mail. They have a lot of work to do!
2) I'm surprised how big it is. The size itself wasn't a surprise, but more the weight. This thing is hefty!
3) I really like the layout. I think the morning/day/night breakdown for each day is wonderful, and the 2 page spread for each month is very helpful. I also love, love, LOVE the birthday/anniversary reminder at the front. Very helpful.
4) I already feel more organized!
5) Now that I've seen all the creative color combinations and front/back picture combinations on Pinterest, I'm a little sad I didn't make mine more interesting.
6) I wish there were more lined pages. I'm a chronic list-re-writer. So 18 lined pages to last me the next 18 months? That will be hard.
7) I wish there was a folder in the front, too. I think it is personal preference, but I like to store all my "must-remembers" in the front. I need to see them every time I open the planner.
8) I'm not crazy about the pens. There, I said it. I should have known that no matter how cute they were, I wouldn't like writing with a ball-point pen. I'm sure I will use them at some point, but for now, I'm using my Pilot G2s, which are my favorite.
9) This may be pushing it (I do realize I've only used it for 2 days) - but what if the cover itself was larger? Only 1" taller and 1" wider? That way, the tabs would be enclosed in the cover, and have less chance of getting damaged. Maybe?
10) This was well worth the $50 I spent on it! If you are an organization nerd like me, you'll love this. If you love to breakdown your to-do list by week, this is totally for you!

I saw somewhere (Pinterest, probably) the idea of using Washi Tape in your EC Planners. This is totally unnecessary, as you can write in the same information. I personally think that the Washi Tape adds a little more fun, and prevents me from drawing lines all the way across the page (to indicate how long I'm on vacation, exactly).

Here are some iPhone pictures of how I'm using my Washi Tape (I bought mine at Target). So far I've used it in both the monthly planner section and on the lined pages... to separate my lists, of course.

I'm linking up with Meredith for the Erin Condren Life Planner Link Up. You should stop by to see what all these other ladies did with their planners, and to see more pictures of the interior. Meredith did a great job photographing the monthly pages (and the Instagram stickers, which I wish I ordered!)


{Home Tour Friday} - Dining Room: Part Two

As promised, here are more pictures of our dining room!

Both the table & buffet were Craigslist finds (not from the same person), that were refinished & stained. The table was $100 and the buffet was $150! Many people ask us if this is a Pottery Barn set, and I’m happy to tell them no! My husband did a wonderful job refinishing these (even if the argument over the stain was really, really bad). I love you C ;)

I slowly collected meaningful accessories for the room, some of which have been passed down as family antiques. The candlesticks on the table were my grandmothers, and were used at our wedding. The wine barrel was my husband’s grandfather’s, and is especially significant, as C and his grandfather made wine together every fall until he passed two years ago. The street signs are from eBay, and were my Christmas gift to C last year. They represent the number of our college jerseys (C played Soccer in college, and I played Ice Hockey). On the buffet, one of the apothecary jars contains wine corks from special occasions, and we’ve written on each of them to remember what they were used for! We don’t use this space as often as we like, but we do love spending time in here. It is a wonderful collection of old & new, and marks our first successful room renovation.

I shouldn’t say this room is done (because, is any room ever done in this house?!). We are still working on artwork for over the buffet, and I’m also contemplating a sisal rug under the table to add some texture & warmth to the room.

Thanks for stopping by our home tour!

Dining Room Source List

Wall Color (top): Tate Olive (Benjamin Moore)
Wall Color (bottom): Woodlawn Whitewash (Behr)
Table: craigslist find (refinished)
Chairs: local woodshop, stained to match table (Bare Woods, Ledgewood, NJ)
Candlesticks: family antique
White Bowl: SurLaTable
Rope Balls: HomeGoods
Buffet: Craigslist find (refinished)
Apothecary Jars: HomeGoods
Vintage Letterpress Drawer: Etsy via JensCloset
Letter “P”: Hobby Lobby, spray painted ORB
Metal/Copper Plate: wedding gift
Wooden Serving Tray: wedding gift
Picture Frame: wedding gift (Vera Wang for Wedgewood)
Wicker Chest: Target
Curtains: Pottery Barn (discontinued)
Blinds: JCPenney
Chalkboard: DIY; (frame = family antique)
Artwork on Chalkboard: courtesy of the one and only Missy B.
Wine Barrel: family antique
Street Signs: ebay
Mirror: HomeGoods


{Home Tour Friday} – Dining Room: Part One

When we bought our home 3.5 years ago, there was no formal dining room. However, we saw the potential in the current “man cave”, and decided that we could make it work. We live in a split level, so the new dining room was only 5 steps down from the kitchen, and was big enough to accommodate a table, chairs and a buffet.

Here is what the room looked like the day we moved in (clearly, we only used it as a storage space for quite some time!):

After painting, installing picture frame molding and crown molding, we needed to replace the laminate flooring. The lower level sits on a slab, so our only choice for hardwoods was to glue them down. We decided to go with engineered hardwood flooring, and knew that we would ultimately use it throughout the rest of the house. My husband and father-in-law installed all the new engineered hardwood flooring in one day, and after that, we were able to move forward with our design. 

Here are some photos of the room, as a work-in-progress:

And, here is a sneak peak of the room, today!

I'll be back this weekend with more pictures, details on the furniture & accessories, and a source list!

Happy Friday!


Wednesday Love

I’ve always read (and loved!) WILW / What I'm Loving Wednesday posts from some of my favorite bloggers: Lyndsey & Maggie. Now that I have a blog, I can share my favorites, too!

I'm linking up with Jamie from This Kind of Love for WILW!
1. Gap Legging Jeans
I own these in white (it seems they are no longer available online, even though I just bought them last month). However, I want to own these in every color, and wear them every day. They are the most comfortable, flattering and lightweight jeans I’ve ever owned. I hope my work friends don’t take notice of my outfits, otherwise they’d know I wear these more than I should.


2. Essie Enuf is Enuf
I’m obsessed. I could wear this all summer, and never feel the need to find a new color. And since buying this color, I have become a semi-pro at the at-home mani/pedi. Love!


3. Target Aladdin Tumbler
I bought this last weekend, and have used it every day since. It lives up to its claim that it does not sweat and keeps your drinks cold. Also, the top screws onto the base – making it extra sturdy. The one feature I’ve come to love the most though, is the straw: it is child-proof. There is a ring that prevents a certain straw-obsessed-almost-15-month-old from pulling it all the way out. Genius! 


4. New Gift Wrap Organizer
I posted about this yesterday, but I’m loving the new addition to our linen closet. I feel like like I am one step closer to POML (Project: Organize My Life)! 

5. Shock Top Beer
My favorite summer drink! The last two summers I was either pregnant or breastfeeding, so I’m enjoying drinking freely these days!


6. Sleeping Babies
My two sleeping babies (ok, toddlers!). I love that they sleep so soundly in our bed, and that they are best friends.

7. Erin Condren
My Erin Condren Planner is on it’s way! Last year, I was floored by all the blog-hype around this planner. And here I am today, one of those crazy people, waiting for a planner to arrive in the mail! 


8. Pregnant Chicken
I'm loving this post from Pregnant Chicken. It’s an old post, but made me feel normal. Oh, and its hysterical!

9. Baby Self Portraits
I am not ashamed to admit I give A my cell phone during car rides to keep him happy. He hates the car – period. To thank me, he always leaves me a little picture surprise (he knows how to activate the camera, even when the phone is locked. He is brilliant)!. This picture, is the best yet. (I added the Instagram filter – as smart as he is, A does not yet understand Instagram).

Happy Wednesday!