Design Studio Decisions

Cabinets, and countertops, and tiles, oh my! We finalized all of our design decisions today, and our hours of contemplation, measuring, and Pinterest scrolling hopefully paid off. Once we have everything together in the home I’m hoping it looks similar to what I’ve envisioned. For now here is a bit of a sneak peek!

First, the exterior:

Second, kitchen cabinets, counters, and floor:

Now the guest and boys’ bathroom cabinets, tile, countertops, and faucets:

And our bathroom cabinets, tile, shower tile & floor:

And all the elements together:

I was inspired in part by this kitchen and this bathroom. My vision for the exterior is kind of a New England style red brick home with black and white elements to make the red pop. For the interior I just picked what I like, grays and whites that provide a perfect backdrop for our navy chairs, and other furniture pieces.

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Christmas Corners

Welcome to our little tour of Christmas decor! I typically use these posts to help me remember where I put decorations, but next year I guess I’m going to have to figure out all new ideas! I simplified quite a bit this year, I’ve been trying to organize boxes for packing and storage both as I put things up and take things down. While our twinkle lights may not have batteries in them and our only outside decor is a light up llama, our house is still spiritedly flocked for the holidays!

Our mantle and stockings with pops of bright colors:

Our kitchen hutch:

And the festive corner beside it:

Our foyer area:

And the boys’ bathroom (also where Link is hanging out today….which the boys’ denoted as “super weird, so I guess he won’t be back there):

Our kitchen table (the Southern Firefly sugar cookie candle smells amazing):

The boys’ reading spot:

And our coffee nook:

Finally, I think some of the boys’ favorite things are the wreaths on their doors and the trees in their rooms:

Happy holiday decorating!

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Building a little investment

We have taken a big leap at the end of this year, and we’re moving! We’ve decided to build a house, and will be selling our home in the Spring. It’s been a faith filled journey, as we very much love our current home, but we are just completely out of space. The boys need more indoor space, and we need an office that doesn’t have Fortnite being played in it. We have thought a lot, prayed more, and even though it’s scary for four people who don’t like change, we are walking in confidence that this is the right move. And the final move. I think B and I say “and we are never moving again after this” at least once a day.

With our new house we get to make quite a few more design and decor decisions than we did in our last house. These past few weeks have been a lot of this or that. Such as:

This or that mirror:

This or that cabinets & this or that countertops:

These blinds that come with the house or purchase on our own:

If you follow me on Pinterest you’ll notice the deluge of pictures of kitchens and cabinets. I’m excited to share the process on here as we go through it! I’ve created a specific board on Pinterest entitled Our Red Brick House if you want to follow along with all of my design ideas and choices connected to our new house.

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Fall Everlasting

Happy Veterans Day! Our families are represented by every branch of the armed services, so this is truly a special day to remember all our loved ones who have served and are currently serving in the military. This weekend we went shopping for Operation Christmas Child, and, per our usual, it was a family affair:

Shopping for shoeboxes to send is one of the ways we usher in the holiday season every year. And while the boys are itching to put up all the Christmas decorations, this year I’m taking things a bit slower. We have recently been considering a big step towards building a new home, and while the prospect is exciting, we love our house. With that in mind I’ve been fully embracing our home in each season. Instead of going directly from Halloween to Christmas I’m hanging in the in between, tapping into the Thanksgiving season with lots of gratitude. I’ve been keeping up with my gratitude yoga(J has hopped on the yoga train with me), steadily reading through the Kings reading series, and enjoying the simplicity of our fall decor.

Just a bit on the mantle:

A few touches on the hutch:

And in our plant corner:

Our foyer has a few pops of Fall and a gratitude reminder:

And our Nespresso/Tea station features some perfect mugs:

Even though things are kind of speeding up around here, I’m working really hard to slow down and just take every day as it is. Good for all of us and good for gratitude.

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Halloween Decor

It was 104 here yesterday. 104. Despite that, it’s October and we are embracing all things Fall and Halloween even if it won’t be here until December. Here is a little tour of all our Halloween and fall decorations!

My main decoration areas are always our fireplace and kitchen hutch, where most of our decorations really shine:

The bats are automated, but we rarely have them turned on because they fall down in the middle of the night and scare us half to death.

My favorite add to our hutch this year was the matte navy latte bowls:

And the vultures are everybody’s favorite. They’re our little Halloween house mascots.

I also spruced up the iron tier stand in the corner:

The pumpkin canvas is one of my favorite purchases from one of our local shops:

And the planter I wanted from Target sold out, so I made my own:

The boys love the light up characters, like this little alien who looks stunned he ended up in the corner:

And I redid our coffee/tea area on our kitchen counter:


Our Halloween Nespresso/tea mugs are from Target, and I have Nespresso pods, two Piper and Leaf tea canisters (birthday cake and golden hour are some of my favorites), and a cream cafe with Vital Proteins collagen packets.

I also love putting up different pictures from our Disney Halloween trips:

This little ghost has also been a lot of fun:

And this candle is my favorite of the Fall season. I love it so much I’ve got to go back and get another!

And finally, this little tea towel is glamming up my new oven:

Now it’s time to cuddle up in the air conditioning, and dream of nights where it isn’t 80 degrees for the low temperature. Ha!

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Prime day deals

We purchased a few things on “Prime Day”. I thought I’d share some of our best deals, and some of our favorites!

First up, these are the specific prime day deals…

The ring doorbell. This has been a long time coming in our house. Our front door has limited visibility, so this was something we’ve had on our list for awhile.

Sports thermoses for the boys. Another necessary item…all of ours are lost or broken.

Collagen peptides. A scoop of this goes in my coffee every day.


I’m starting on back to school shopping and copy paper is on the list (I bought the three reams 30% recycled for the best deal) .

This could be the best deal of the day for me, and I put it on my birthday list for B to purchase:

I also picked up this rarely on sale Stila liner:

Second, these aren’t prime day deals specifically, but were good prices:

Under Armour shoes for A:

Composition notebook packs for school supply list:

T-shirt sets for the boys:

Happy shopping!

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Master bedroom refresh

I was trying to find a before photo of our room and then realized this was literally the best I had:

After ten years in our house we decided that our builder grade carpet needed to go. We used our same flooring company who did our living room, and a half day later:

Bye, bye carpet and hello hardwood! I also had several other updates in mind. First up, was a memory foam rug pad:

I’d read about these rug pads here, and was sold. It makes the rug super cushy. My only regret is I should have purchased the larger size to cover more area under the rug.

I was really pleased with the rug, it matches our neutral gray theme. Here is the fully finished room:

The rug, storage ottoman (similar here), pouf, and bedspread (similar here) are all Target finds. The bed frame and my nightstand are Ethan Allen, that I’ve had since college. As you can see, the rug pad makes the rug dip a bit, so I’ve got to fix that eventually. I’m probably just going to buy a second one and connect it to the first.

And here is the view from the other side:


One of my favorite new items that I incorporated into the room were these prints:

They are Sugarboo designs, and I picked them up from a local shop. The frames were Amazon finds and I was really pleased with them. They were exactly the style I wanted and very well made.

This is my favorite reading corner in the morning:

In our mostly neutral room, these peach chairs are one of my favorite pops of color. This chair (and the matching one in the opposite corner) were passed down to me from my parents after one of their furniture updates. They are Ethan Allen circa 1985, so vintage? Anyway, you can find a similar style here.

I updated a few of the other frames in the room as well. I’ve still got to update the black frame at the top right.

And lastly, we went through and edited our bookcase and added new drapes and an air purifier:

The drapes aren’t quite as light blocking as our old drapes, but considering we typically get up at 5:30 a.m. they work well enough. The air purifier was a splurge, but a must have for us with our allergies. And it does not include a filter you have to buy every three months.

Here is the bookcase after I styled it up a little more:

Everyone in our family is big on office supplies, especially pens. The little terra-cotta pot that J decorated for Mother’s Day for me is filled with a variety to grab for notes, lesson planning, etc. I also love the stack of square pictures set on a little vintage plate stand. You can make these through companies like Chatbooks and they are fun to change out and I love including older pictures and new. Last things are a globe from Anthropologie, a wooden turtle that I got when I lived overseas as a kiddo, and a little potted plant.

And that’s it! I was really pleased with how it turned out and the room feels brighter and cleaner, too!

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Friday Favorites

My daffodils survived the cold! I love seeing them bloom each year, it’s been several years since I planted these bulbs and they always reflower. My goal this fall is to plant soms additional bulbs with the boys’ help.

A rain jacket for all seasons.

How to pot a plant without drainage holes.

A functional and chic entryway.

A book list here and a book list there.

A filter for your shower? Where will technology take us next?

Great summer sandals that I’m on the hunt for on our next Nashville shopping trip.

Perfect summer pajamas.

Stovetop cake.

Cool Moms and Young House Love…two new podcasts on my list.

And finally, that end of winter look.

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Teacher Tuesday-Office Favorites

Right now my office space is shared while they are renovating our very old building. I’m excited for when it is completed because I will have my own office space again, and I’ll be able to move all of the items that are currently living in limbo in our garage. Here are some of my office supply essentials!

1. A stamp for especially great projects or papers (I also use this virtually for my hybrid courses!)

2. A selfie light for my laptop because I have to record lectures, and you don’t really think about lighting until you realize fifty plus people per semester are watching the videos.

3. A dry erase board that I have outfitted with this DIY for semester planning.

4. A weekly to do list that I keep beside me to write down reminders in class and in my office.

5. A microphone so that students can hear over our apparently loud air conditioner.

6. My current favorite pens recommended to me by one of my students.

7. Expo markers, I’m constantly buying these because I use them in class and lose them a lot.

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‘Tis the season

While we are not putting up the Christmas tree just yet, I’ve been busy ordering some updates to our holiday decor. Last year I waited and almost didn’t get a few items I had on my list. I went back through my Christmas decor pictures from past years (because what is having a blog if not to keep a virtual scrapbook of things like this), and focused in on a few areas that I wanted to add some additional decorations or update items that have gotten worn looking. I also added several new holiday storybooks because one of our favorite parts of the holiday season is reading our collection of Christmas stories as many times as possible between the day after Thanksgiving and January 1st.

As per usual, Target doesn’t disappoint with their holiday decorations and I found quite a few items from their collections:

Including a tiered stand for our high counter, garland for the mirror over our mantle, and new plates for my plate rack:

A pom pom wreath, and cheery pillows:

A cozy throw, tablecloth, and wooden centerpiece:

And I always search for a few pieces from Anthropologie including little monogram ornaments to go inside the wreaths on the boys’ doors, a silly towel, and a stack of holiday coffee mugs:

And new Christmas plates, red plaid garland, and shams from Pottery Barn kids:

And our new stack of holiday books:

How have we not read The Best Christmas Pagent Ever? It’s been so long since I’ve read it, I’m going to read it first, and then pass it on to A and then to J.

Walk this World is a beautiful pop up book with Christmas celebrations around the world, the illustrations are lovely, and the boys love books that have facts woven in.

Construction Site on Christmas Night because we love Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and what’s better than construction vehicles setting up Christmas decorations?

And finally, The Nutcracker retold with illustrations from The New York City Ballet. I love The Nutcracker and the whimsy of the drawings.

And now I’ve just got to figure out where to store everything until after Thanksgiving!


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